Kessler Park makes visitors wonder if this is really Dallas, Texas. Steep hills, ancient and abundant trees, irregularly shaped home sites, and utterly distinctive architecture – no two homes alike -give Kessler Park its dramatic visual appeal. In the early 1920’s, its original developers described it perfectly: “A woodland, hillside country destined to be the most unusual and attractive residential section in the vicinity of Dallas.” Kessler Park developed over time with a rich tapestry of the European Revival styles in vogue at the time as well as regional styles that reflect some of the region’s most talented and cherished architects.
Kessler Park is, however, much more than an attractive landscape and quality architecture. Its greater appeal, and its profound strength as a community, is its residents. Just as its uniquely individual home styles somehow harmonize without conforming, Kessler Park’s residents represent every age, race, ethnicity, occupation, lifestyle and religion in the city, all choosing to live together as neighbors. In Kessler Park, diversity is a treasured reality.
There will always be special people in our city looking for a neighborhood with character, stability and vitality. Those people will feel at home in Kessler Park – a beautiful place to live and a place worthy of recognition and conservation. Kessler Park exhibits a textbook of period styles that were popular in pre WWII America. Of the approximately 200 pre-war homes surveyed by volunteers supervised by Preservation Dallas in summer of 2004, the following styles and frequency were noted in order of magnitude:
• 35% or 67 homes are Tudor style
• 21% or 34 homes are American Colonial Revival
• 13% or 21 homes are Minimal Traditional or Texas Regional style
• 8% or 14 homes are Spanish Eclectic
• 8% or 13 homes are French Eclectic
Of the remaining pre-war homes, the following additional styles are also represented: Prairie-Craftsman; Monterrey Colonial; Neo Classical-Georgian; and Italianate. These styles are all defined herein as “contributing” to the essential character of historic Kessler Park.
Value Statements for Sub-Area 1-Original Kessler Park
The homes built pre-war represent the architectural styles and variety so valued in our neighborhood. The ability to remove these homes needs to be tighter than current criteria of the city. The value of repairs does not include renovations and thus the demolition would be eligible only for the most dilapidated properties and not those that are to receive extensive and expensive renovation/remodeling. The post war homes, those homes built beginning in 1948 to present, are categorized as “non-contributing” to the essential character envisioned and achieved by the original community founders. The prevalent styles here are American Colonial Ranch, California (contemporary) Ranch, and Minimal Traditional, the later also being a category for homes built prior to 1948. Generally, the post-war homes are frequently one story where the pre-war homes are two stories.1948 represents post-war construction and these homes are the most different from the predominant collection of Kessler homes that are generally European Revival or Regional Styles. 1948 is the year when the lots along Kessler Parkway were subdivided from the original Kessler Park lots. As such, this block of lots is within the Sub area 3, Sam Dealey Estates.
SUBDIVISION OF LOTS
Allow for property owners of the largest lots to subdivide however, maintain the consistency of the original 9000 sf lots (typ 60 ft x 150ft) and one lot can not be divided into more than two lots as the largest lots generally are large due to topography.
Kessler Park was originally conceived as a sylvan, park-like setting without fences. Obviously today, property owners rely on fencing for pets and privacy. Fencing in the future should enhance the enjoyment and beauty of the neighborhood and thus should adhere to more careful restrictions than currently allowed by the city standards.
The property owners who reside along the escarpment should be able to continue to rely on the unrestricted views across the hills without privacy fencing that by nature of the topography would not provide privacy. The escarpment is the single most defining unique element to Kessler Park and makes this a unique setting in all of Dallas. Using the existing escarpment ordinance serves to define where the escarpment is located specific to individual lots within Kessler Park. Enforcement of the existing escarpment ordinance also will protect native vegetation, require its replacement with like plant materials, and prevent encroachment with new structures. It is also used here to restrict fences to those types that preserve view corridors and vistas that are so enjoyed currently by homes that were built to take advantage of these views.
Where interior lots and side yards above or below the escarpment allow for privacy, solid privacy fencing shall be permitted on an interior lot line and within up to twenty-five feet of the back face of the original house but not within the escarpment. Property owners abutting Colorado Blvd are particularly in need of privacy and special consideration is given to their street side yard fencing needs.
Kessler Park uniquely has double-frontage lots whereby one property’s backyard fence abuts a neighbor’s front yard. The appearance and type of fence used in these applications should be respectful to property owners who share their front door with back yard fences and thus the same standards created for the escarpment zone will be applicable to double-frontage lots.
BUILDING MASS AND LOT COVERAGE
As in Greenway Parks, a value preference is given to preserving our original homes and therefore if the demand exists to expand their sizes, a homeowner can actually build more space by retaining the original structure than by demolishing and building entirely new. This keeps the streetscape more predictable and the quality of our architecture more intact over time. It also allows our houses to grow and change over time that keeps our housing stock vital to needs of different generations and changing lifestyles. The anti-looming side yard setback makes houses move away from their neighbors, as they get taller to protect privacy and sunlight. The maximum height limitation is self explanatory for consistency with the scale of our streetscapes.
ARCHITECTURAL STYLE FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION
New architecture can be very good if commissioned with a context sensitive architect. What is most important to our neighborhood is the scale that is addressed in the Building Mass and respect shown for neighboring existing homes through observance of setbacks and building heights. The contributing styles have been documented herein for reference however new structures may be contemporary or a period revival interpretation. The pier and beam foundation is consistent to the type of quality construction of the original homes and contributes significantly to the appearance of homes with raised porches and stoops. It also allows the existing topography and trees to remain with new construction. A perimeter grade beam and built-up slab can meet this requirement and should at least have the appearance of pier and beam from the front street. The foundation should be clad with the same masonry as the front façade.
Placement of exterior light fixtures shall be regulated so that neighboring properties do not impinge upon the enjoyment of neighbors with glare or light pollution from floodlights, etc.
Garages and parking vary greatly with our contributing houses due to the variety of architecture, site constraints of individual lots, lack of alleys, and occurrence of basements. Therefore, this variety of solutions shall continue in new construction and remodeling.
The escarpment ordinance shall apply to Kessler Park and be enforced by the City when issuing building permits within the escarpment zone. Measures shall be taken to preserve native vegetation and to replace with same as required by the ordinance to preserve the unique biological diversity and habitat of the Dallas escarpment. A native tree list is included in Ordinance 51A-5.200.
Retaining walls shall be constructed of stone or stone veneered structural concrete as per the original walls. Parkways shall not be covered with impervious surfaces other than lead walks but shall be maintained in a vegetated state.
Allow for a wide variety of paint schemes except that fluorescent paint colors shall not be used on the exterior of any structure.
Sub-Area 1: Matrix of Development Standards
|#||Item||Standard Zoning (R-7.5)||Sub-Area 1 (Kessler Park)|
|1||Height||30 feet maximum (measured from grade to the midpoint of the lowest eave to the top of house)||30 feet measured from the finished floor to the roof ridge. Finished floor should be attached and between 18” – 30” above grade. Front measurement measured from floor.|
|2a||Front yard setback||25 feet minimum||Average of the two adjacent houses.|
|2b||Rear yard setback||5 feet minimum||As modified by escarpment ordinance|
|2c||Side yard setback||5 feet minimum||5 feet minimum with anti-looming standard|
|3a||Front yard fences Height Material||4 feet maximum height No regulation||Materials restricted to wrought iron, picket fences, must be at least 40% open. 36” maximum for stone and brick. No chain link. All front yard fencing has 5 foot setback from front property line.|
|3b||Rear yard fences Height Material||9 feet maximum height No regulation||Except for escarpment zone where fencing maximum is 9 feet in height, shall be transparent in nature, and painted in black or near-black in color limited to décor steel fencing, wrought iron, cattle fencing or open wire. Chain link fence is allowed up to 4 feet as long as it is finished in black or near-black in color. Solid privacy fencing up to 9 feet in height allowed along lot line or within 25 feet of original back of house.|
|3c||Corner-side yard fences Height Material||9 feet maximum height No regulation||For street yards, front yard fencing shall apply or may apply escarpment zone fencing. See above. Must use similar materials as above and have a 4 feet maximum.|
|4||Lot Width||#||60 feet minimum|
|6||Lot size*||7500 square foot minimum||9,000 square foot minimum|
|7||Stories*||No maximum||2 story vertically expressed from grade (excludes basements)|
|8||Floor Area Ratio||No maximum||.50 (50%) for existing .45 (45%) for new construction|
|9||Architectural Styles (New construction/ Remodeling)||#||Contributing = pre-Dec. 31, 1947 structures Non-contributing = Jan. 1, 1948 and after structures. Illustrate with proto-typical key styles. No remodeling standard for noncontributing styles.|
|10||Building materials||#||80% masonry – brick, stone, hand troweled cement stucco, no EIFS|
|11||Front yard coverage||#||30% impervious coverage|
|12||Paint colors||#||No florescent colors|
|13||Garages and carports||#||If visible to any public street shall be of same architectural style and materials as main structure. Does not apply to streets behind the home.|
|14||Parkway||#||Must be vegetative. No impervious material.|
|15||Retaining walls||#||Stone or concrete with stone veneer|
|16||Demolition||Requires demolition permit||To protect original declining styles, repairs to bring structure to code would have to be greater than 80% of structure value per DCAD for structure built prior to 1948, no criteria for structures built 1948 or later.|
|17||Foundations||#||Must be clad with brick, stone, or hand-troweled stucco.|
|18||Lighting||Must comply with Dev. Code 51A-6.104||Must comply with Dev. Code 51A- 6.104|