“Dirt Skirt” Ordinance Approved

Do you know where the ground is? Some unscrupulous builders don’t.

To help them out, today the City Council unanimously approved a new ordinance that would prohibit “dirt skirts.” What the heck is a “dirt skirt,” you say? It’s a mound of dirt that some builders have used to let them build their structures taller than is legally permitted. They mound up dirt, usually at the four corners of the building site, to redefine where the ground is. That’s important because the city measures height from the “ground.” You mound up some berms around your building, measure from the top of the berms instead of the real ground, and voila! You’ve squeezed out an extra 12 feet in height. That’s great for a builder, but it’s terrible for surrounding neighbors who suddenly have a gargantuan building beside them that exceeds the legal allowable height.

Many residents in East Dallas are familiar with the property on Oram that underscored the need for this change. Today, we closed this loophole and adopted a definition to describe where the ground is.

This change in ordinance had passed the Plan Commission last December, so I pushed to get it on the agenda without further delay. I am proud to have gotten this ordinance passed today with full council support.

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