Dallas, Texas—Advisory Services Panel

Date: February 28 – March 4, 2016

Location: Dallas, Texas

Sponsor: The City of Dallas

Subject Area: Workforce and Affordable Housing Policy for the City of Dallas

Panel Chair: Tony Salazar, President, West Coast Division, McCormack Baron Salazar


Background and Panel Assignment

The City of Dallas is in the process of developing a new housing policy. The Urban land Institute was asked by the city to assemble a panel of development, housing and urban planning experts to provide strategic advice regarding housing in the city.

The Urban Land institute used its time-honored Advisory Panel process to: 1) interview stakeholders, 2) review the city’s existing housing policies and practices, 3) review best practices from other municipalities regarding affordable and mixed income housing, and 4) provide recommendations to the city for inclusion in the City’s new housing policy.

Summary of recommendations

The panel’s major recommendations are as follows:

Create a Permanent Dedicated Revenue Source
With federal funds declining and state resources limited, Dallas must follow the lead of other leading U.S. cities in bringing local dollars to the table. Dallas should create a “housing trust fund” to receive and allocate new sources of revenue for affordable and mixed-income housing development and preservation. This should be “Job 1”— and should start immediately with seed funding of at least $250,000 from the city.

Create an Incentive-Based Inclusionary Housing Program with Flexibility for the Development Community
The vitality of the Dallas real estate market and the capacity of the development community create a major opportunity to produce mixed-income housing in prospering parts of the city through an inclusionary housing program. The panel recommends a program that would ensure developers proposing new residential developments (and mixed use with residential developments) (a) include a defined percentage of affordable units; (b) provide (directly or through another entity) those units at another opportunity-rich location; or (c) pay “in lieu” into the housing trust fund.

Leverage Public and Anchor Institution Real Estate Assets
The most precious asset the city of Dallas has under its control for driving more affordable and mixed-income housing is land and buildings that it owns. According to a February 2016 TREC presentation to the City Council Housing Committee titled “A Toolkit of Options to Encourage Mixed-Income Housing,” “Texas State Law allows government entities, including cities and counties, to sell their land at a price that is much lower than fair market value if it serves a public purpose [which can] include Affordable Housing.”

Support Housing Choice and Opportunity for All Dallasites
As described in the previous section, a range of barriers prevent low-income and minority families from accessing housing in mixed-income development and neighborhoods in the city of Dallas. The panel understands fully that the city is not solely responsible for these barriers and has limited ability to remove or alleviate some of them. That said, the city can and must do much more with the tools and resources it has available and that the panel recommends it create.

The final report can be found here.

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