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Dallas Zoning Districts
Board of Adjustment Requirements

Information about Appeals to the Board of Adjustment

The Board of Adjustment is a citizen board authorized by Chapter 51 and 51A of the Dallas City Code and appointed by the City Council to hear and take appropriate action on variations and decisions concerning the Dallas Development Code. The Board is composed of 15 members and 4 alternates assigned to three separate panels. Cases must be heard by four members of the Board, and the concurring vote of four is necessary to decide any matter authorized by State law. Four members must be present at each hearing for a quorum to exist, otherwise a hearing or a case can be canceled.

The Board normally meets three times each month at 1:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers on the sixth floor of City Hall, 1500 Marilla Street. An 11:00 a.m. briefing by city staff for the Board of Adjustment Board Members will be held before each meeting.

Board of Adjustment Agendas and Meeting Schedules

The Board meeting is a public hearing. Written notice of the hearing will be sent to all owners of real property located within 200 feet, including streets and alleys, from the boundary of the area upon which the appeal is made, not less than 10 days before the hearing. The members of the Board have the option to visit each site for which an appeal is being heard. On the morning of the hearing , the members of the Board will be fully briefed by staff about each appeal scheduled to be heard.

Each case will be scheduled by the administrator of the Board, who will then notify the applicant by mail of the hearing date, time and location. Any questions regarding scheduling and/or status of pending cases should be directed to the Administrator of the Board of Adjustment, Steve Long, by calling (214) 670-4666.

The applicant or the applicant's representative must be present at the hearing. The applicant has the burden of proof to establish the necessary facts to warrant favorable action by the Board. Evidence submitted to the Board at the public hearing will not be returned, and becomes part of the city's permanent files. Therefore, it is advisable that you make copies of evidence before the hearing occurs.

The Board of Adjustment is a quasi-judicial body. Pursuant to the Board's Rules of Procedure, ex parte communications with the members of the Board are prohibited. All communication, oral or written, should be directed to the Board Administrator. Failure to comply with this rule may result in criminal prosecution for improper influence, which is a Class A misdemeanor under Texas Penal Code Section 36.04.

Jurisdiction of the Board of Adjustment

The Board has the following powers and duties:

1. To hear and decide appeals of the decisions of administrative officials made in the enforcement of the zoning ordinance of the city. (Please note that the applicant has only 15 days from the date of the administrative official's decision to file an appeal to the Board of Adjustment.)

2. To interpret the intent of the zoning district map when uncertainty exists, because the actual physical features differ from those indicated on the zoning district map and when the rules set forth in the zoning district boundary regulations do not apply.

3. To hear and decide special exceptions that are expressly provided for in the zoning ordinance. (For convenience, information regarding special exceptions to the sign regulations is briefly discussed below. Additional information is contained in 51A-7.703.)

Matter Involving Nonconforming Signs

The Board may authorize the following special exceptions to the sign regulations for nonconforming signs legally erected or maintained prior to April 30,1997:

Permit a variance of up to 25% for setbacks, effective area, and height for detached premise signs. 

Permit a variance of up to 20% for setbacks, effective area, and height for detached non-premise signs.

Authorize one additional detached sign on a premise in excess of number permitted by this article

Authorize up to two additional large letter words on an attached sign in excess of the number permitted by this article 

Permit certain special variances and exceptions for movement control signs [See 51A-7.703(c)(6) for details] 

Authorize the remodeling, renovation, or alternation of a sign [See 51A - 7.703(c)(7)for details]

The Board may also vary any or all other provisions of the sign ordinance not specified above with the respect to premise signs [See 51A 7.703(c)(8) for details].

Matter Involving New Signs

The Board may:

Permit a variance of up to 10% for setbacks, effective area, and height for detached premise signs 

Authorize one additional detached premise sign on a premise in excess of the number permitted 

Authorize up to two additional large letter words on an attached sign in excess of the number permitted by this article 

Permit certain special variances and exceptions for movement control signs  [See 51A-7.703(c)(4) for details] 

T4. To bring about the discontinuance of a nonconforming use under a plan whereby the owner's actual investment in the structure(s) prior to the time that the use became nonconforming can be amortized within a definite time period.

5. To hear and decide requests for change of occupancy of a nonconforming use to another nonconforming use.

6. To hear and decide requests for the enlargement of a nonconforming use.

7. To hear and decide requests for reconstruction of a nonconforming structure on the land occupied by the structure when the reconstruction will not permanently prevent the return of the property to a conforming use and will not increase the nonconformity.

8. To require the vacation and demolition of a nonconforming structure that is determined to be obsolete, dangerous, dilapidated, or substandard.

9. To consider on its own motion or upon the request of interested property owners, the operation or alteration of any use which is a nonconforming use because of its noncompliance with the environmental performance standards set forth in the zoning ordinance, and specify the conditions and standards which must be complied with for the continuance of the nonconforming use.

10. To grant variances from the front yard, side yard, rear yard, lot width, lot depth, coverage, floor area ratios, height, minimum sidewalks, off-street parking or off-street loading, or landscape regulations that will not be contrary to the public interest when owing to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the zoning ordinance would result in unnecessary hardship, and so that the spirit of the ordinance will be observed and substantial justice done. The variance must be necessary to permit development of a specific parcel of land by being of such a restrictive area, shape, or slope that it cannot be developed in a manner commensurate with the development upon other parcels of land in districts with the same zoning classification. A variance may not be granted to relieve a self-created or personal hardship, nor for financial reasons only, nor may a variance be granted to permit any person a privilege in developing a parcel of land not permitted by the zoning ordinance to other parcels of the land in districts with the same classification.


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