Stockyards design overlay gets final vote of approval from Fort Worth council


It’s official — following a unanimous vote by the Fort Worth City Council on Tuesday, the Stockyards Design Overlay District is a done deal.

“I think adopting their guidelines is a support that we approve of what they’re doing and that we considered all the perspectives and the opinions,” Mayor Betsy Price said. “I’m pleased with the guidelines.”

The design overlay district spans about 240 acres over the Stockyards, roughly bounded by Northeast 28th Street, Clinton Avenue, 23rd Street and the Union Pacific Railroad on the east side.

Enforcement of the overlay begins in about a week. Any new development within that district must follow the standards and guidelines drawn up by the Historic Stockyards Design District Task Force, a city-appointed committee that spent nearly a year debating what the standards and guidelines should be before finishing the document last September. The document specifies design features such as building heights, signage, building setbacks and other aspects of development.

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The design district will put temporary regulations on Stockyards development until the city creates a form-based code district and, within the form-based code district, a historic district. The form-based code district will regulate both design and use of new developments, and the historic district will put historic protections on a specific section of the Stockyards.

The boundaries of the form-based code district and historic district are still in discussion. The Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission and Zoning Commission are set to hold public hearings on the boundaries of the historic district in the next two months. Once the boundaries are finalized, the city plans to put together a consultant team that will draft standards and guidelines for the form-based code district and historic district.

The city council also approved a resolution that gives council the authority to hear any appeals regarding the design overlay, form-based code district or historic district. Thus, if a property owner wants to start a new development in the Stockyards, the owner must pass through certain government bodies, such as the Urban Design Commission and Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission, in order to get approval. However, if the owner disagrees with those government bodies, the owner can appeal to the city council.

Additionally, the council approved putting stricter historic designations on three buildings in the Stockyards: a commercial building at 115 West Exchange Avenue, where Pinkies Uncommon Treasures is located; another commercial building at 101 West Exchange Avenue, where The General Store is located; and Stockyards Lodge No. 1244 at 2408 North Main St. All three buildings are going from the “Demolition Delay” designation to the “Highly Significant Endangered” designation, which gives the highest level of protection and tax incentives.