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Get free VIP badges to the Oak Cliff Film Festival

The 2016 Oak Cliff Film Festival is happening June 16-19 and you have a chance to get FREE VIP badges by participating in the OCFF Couch Network.
The fifth annual Oak Cliff Film Festival will be here before we know it, promising an amazing slate of films, a ton of great parties, a variety of local venues, plus a chance to score free VIP festival badges by housing filmmakers during the festival.
If you have a couch, spare bed, or guest room you’d be willing to share in exchange for VIP festival badges, sign up here by May 13. This is a great opportunity to get involved in one of the coolest local events of the summer, plus experience it VIP-style for free!
 
 
If you have any questions, email hospitality@filmoakcliff.com or info@filmoakcliff.com
Casablanca

Join us for Movies on the Lawn, featuring Casablanca

FREE event
Friday, April 22, 2016
The movie will begin at 8:30 p.m., but come early to pick your spot on the lawn
Turner House, 401 North Rosemont
The Winnetka Heights Neighborhood Association, the Oak Cliff Society of Fine Arts and Freeman Audio Visual are sponsoring a FREE Movies On The Lawn night, featuring the classic favorite Casablanca.
Join us for this fun, family-friendly event. The movie will start around 8:30 p.m., but come early to snag a good spot. Concessions will be available. No pets, please.
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Oak Cliff Animal Initiative: Animal Issues Town Hall Meeting

Saturday, April 9 from 9:30 a.m. to noon
Kidd Springs Recreation Center 

Loose dogs on your nerves? Barking dogs driving you crazy? This meeting is designed to give everyone a chance to talk collaboratively in non-confrontational environment about the unique animal issues challenging our neighborhoods. The goal of this meeting is to let neighbors know how to best use the systems that are in place to address their animal issues and to see how Oak Cliff neighbors can collaborate, communicate, educate, and advocate towards common animal welfare and quality of life goals. Our meeting is being co-sponsored by Scott Grigg’s office.
We will have 311 representatives in the house to answer your questions about how 311 works in regards to animals and animal issues and Peter Brodsky, the Animal Advisory Commission Chair, will also be in the house. This is your opportunity to voice your concerns directly to the head of the Animal Advisory Commission.
This meeting is powerful opportunity to bring together our concerns, ideas, and city resources to make our neighborhoods the best they can be. Oak Cliff neighborhoods are known for their thought leadership; we like to think out of the box and take care of our people and animals.
The last two meetings were a powerful first step towards changing how our City does business regarding loose animals in our neighborhoods. We have a long way to go! It’s budget season – so let’s keep that momentum going and pull together with the City’s leadership and solve animal issues for all Oak Cliff and all of Dallas’ residents.

NEW! Winnetka Heights Event: Save the Date + Call for Chefs

NEW! Winnetka Heights Event
Bites In The Heights
Saturday, May 14 starting at 7:00 p.m.
Turner House, 401 North Rosemont Avenue

Save the date for Bites In the Heights — Winnetka Heights’ exciting new Spring fundraiser.  The event will showcase the talents of our neighborhood home cooks!  Bites in the Heights will be held at Turner House and each guest will get to sample bites created by our neighbors and enjoy drinks and entertainment provided by the Winnetka Heights Neighborhood Association.

To make this new fundraiser happen, we need chefs!  If you would like to volunteer to provide one of the bites, please download the information sheet and sign up now.

Space will be limited and we will need to hear from you by April 16.
Please email community@winnetkaheights.org to confirm your participation or to ask any questions.

Stay tuned for more information!

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South Windomere Zoning Change Application

Summary

1)   What is this proposed zoning change about?

  • Potential changes to the Winnetka Heights Ordinance allowing commercial use on a specific property.

2)   Why is it important?

  • Since the Winnetka Heights Ordinance was enacted in 1975, no residential property has been rezoned for commercial use.
  • If approved by the Dallas City Council, an amendment to the Winnetka Heights Ordinance could cause other owners to seek additional amendments for different properties in the historic district.

3)   What do you ask of me?

  • Please take the time to read this detailed information, and then let us hear your voice on the proposed changes.

Background
As many of you may know, the structure once used as the Winnetka Congregational Church at 410 S. Windomere (Windomere and Twelfth) was sold last year to an entity known as Nostalgic Habitats, LLC. At the time, the new owners announced plans to convert the structure for use as an instructional arts studio, with a focus on providing arts programs for children.

When the new owners bought the property, they were aware that the property was zoned only for residential or church use. In order for the owners to operate the facility as proposed, the City of Dallas will have to change the zoning to allow for commercial use. Earlier this year, the owners submitted an application to change the zoning with City of Dallas Department of Sustainable Development and Construction (Zoning Case Z156-219). The application is pending. We do not yet know when the case will be heard by the City Plan Commission or the City Council. Please visit the City Plan Commission website for more information. If possible, we will send another email when we know the firm dates for the hearings.

Download the application (pdf)

Ordinance Amendment
The zoning change application will require that the PD 87 (often referred to as “The Winnetka Heights Ordinance”) be amended. The Winnetka Heights Ordinance is the ordinance enacted by the City of Dallas in in 1975 to clarify the allowable land uses and to change the residential zoning in Winnetka Heights from multifamily to single family, grandfathering in the existing duplex and multifamily structures and certain commercial buildings. Six years later the historic overlay was added to preserve and protect the architectural integrity of our neighborhood. The ordinance and the overlay address both the look of the structures in the historic district and the use of the structures. The applicants are working through the Landmark Commission process to make improvements to the exterior of the building. The zoning application addresses the use of the property.

The amendment to the Winnetka Heights Ordinance would be permanent, even if the proposed business is not sustainable or if the property is sold. The change could only be reversed by another amendment to the ordinance.

Proposed Use
The applicants are seeking to permit the conversion of the church building to a newly defined “Professional Arts Instruction Studio”. The new use will permit the adaptive reuse of the historic church building for instructional arts uses, visual arts display, community meeting space and private event space for weddings, birthdays and similar celebrations on a limited basis. In addition, the applicants seek to use the structure for theatrical and other performances, children’s after-school programs and a community garden. These additional uses would be subject to a Specific Use Permit, which means that after some period of time (currently undetermined), the city would review how those uses affected the neighborhood, and if the use did not meet the stated objectives or interfered with the quality of life in the neighborhood (all such standards are currently undefined), the permit for those uses could be withdrawn.

The applicants intend to operate the facility on a for-profit basis. Its hours would be Monday-Wednesday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Thursday-Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and Sunday by special arrangements but no earlier than 9:00 a.m. or later than 5:00 p.m. The operating hours do not include setup and take-down time and could be extended by exception on two occurrences of two consecutive nights per calendar month (i.e. twice per month, the hours could be extended). Outdoor amplified music will not be permitted and the applicants would have to take reasonable steps to minimize the impact of pick-up and drop-off traffic of the after school and summer camp programs.

The full details of the use are in the application, which we encourage you to review.

Considerations
Neighbors have commented on the application as follows:

  • The adaptive reuse of the church building would help preserve an important historic structure in our neighborhood, such preservation being an important mission of the neighborhood.
  • The availability of community-oriented arts instructional studio within walking distance would also be a benefit for many of our families.
  • The facility would be used for community events and provide space for community arts organizations.

However, neighbors have also voiced the following concerns:

  • Winnetka Heights is a successful residential neighborhood. There is no pressing need to begin allowing the rezoning of our properties from residential to commercial.
  • The benefits of preserving the history of a neighborhood are generational in scope. We, therefore, should be patient and encourage the adaption of the space within the allowed zoning.
  • It is currently understood that the facility will only have 20 parking spaces. The applicants intend to work with DISD to use the parking lot at Greiner for overflow parking, but that use would be under an informal arrangement, with no guaranty that the school spaces would be available. The applicants have stated that the main room in the facility will hold at least 150 guests. The effect on parking on Windomere and Edgefield will be significant.
  • There are already considerable traffic concerns on Edgefield, Windomere and Twelfth. This facility may make things worse.
  • Large performances or events will create noise and activity on an otherwise quiet residential street.

Request for Input
The WHNA has not yet taken a position on this matter. This is why we want to hear from you. The application has been reviewed and discussed by the WHNA Board of Directors at several of its meetings this year, including a meeting with the applicants in February. The application was also discussed at the WHNA General Membership Meeting in March.

Winnetka Heights residents who desire to have their voices heard on this matter are encouraged to

The WHNA Board of Directors will review all of the comments, along with the feedback it has already received from neighbors, prior to taking any formal position on this matter.

We look forward to hearing from you.

The WHNA Board of Directors.