DALLAS — The Dallas City Plan Commission passed the long-discussed West Oak Cliff Area Plan, putting it in the final stages of becoming a future zoning blueprint for a Hispanic community. 

WOCAP was initially supposed to be passed in August; but after a large amount of community concern and input, during the public comment, commissioners moved the vote date to September for further deliberation. 

On Sept. 15, the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, the plan, which was over two years in the making, was unanimously passed with 15 amendments. 

Gerardo “Jerry” Figueroa, an Oak Cliff auto owner, along with other community members who were in attendance, were relieved to see some concerns addressed. 

“What I’ve learned is that we definitely need more outreach in these neighborhoods. There’s still work to be done,” Figueroa told Spectrum News 1. 

One of the main amendments included not rezoning the community of South Edgefield for more density purposes. Instead, commissioners found a compromise where they added accessory dwelling units to the plan, meaning homeowners might add additional living units to their home. 

This was a major topic of discussion from social activist groups like Somos Tejas, who were outspoken about their concerns that WOCAP could speed up gentrification and displacement within the Hispanic community. 

Figueroa, who only learned of this plan in March 2022, helped organize other auto shop owners after learning that earlier WOCAP language included a portion that might push out their businesses to create more walkable neighborhoods. In the final draft, this language was removed.

During the Sept. 15 meeting, City Plan Commission Chair Tony Shidid commended the present west Oak Cliff residents for their involvement and large role in creating these 15 amendments. 

West Oak Cliff residents sat in on the Dallas City Plan Commission's September 15 meeting. (Spectrum News 1/Michael Lozano)

While Shidid acknowledged it’s not a perfect document, it’ll help create a layout for future authorized hearings. 

“This is just the beginning of the conversation, and I look forward to seeing you all here again,,” Shidid told the group of west Oak Cliff residents who were seated at the Thursday meeting for around eight hours. 

Figueroa says this final approved plan is one that he’s much more confident in, adding, “there are 15 more amendments that would’ve never been put through if we had not put in all of this work.” 

Figueroa acknowledges that now the real work begins. He and other residents say they’ll be at those future authorized hearings that will start to change the makeup of their community. 

Now, WOCAP will go to Dallas city council for final approval in late-October.