Visitors wonder if Kessler Park is really located in Dallas. Steep hills, ancient and abundant trees, irregularly shaped home sites, and distinctive architecture give Kessler Park its dramatic visual appeal. In addition, no two homes are alike. In the early 1920’s, its original developers described it as “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 European Revival styles in vogue at the time, as well as regional styles that reflect some of the country’s most noted architects.
Its greater appeal is its residents and their profound strength as a diverse community. Just as the uniquely different home styles harmonize in unity, so does its residents.
If you are looking in the city for a neighborhood with character, stability and vitality, you will feel right at home in Kessler Park. It is a textbook of period styles that were popular in pre WWII America. Of the approximately 200 homes surveyed by volunteers and supervised by Preservation Dallas, the following styles are represented:
- 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, additional styles are also represented. They include Prairie-Craftsman, Monterrey Colonial, Neo Classical-Georgian, and Italianate, and contribute to historic Kessler Park.
Value Statements for Sub-Area 1-Original Kessler Park:
The homes built pre-war represent coveted European Revival and Regional architectural styles, and are generally 2 stories. Tighter restrictions apply to the removal of these homes due to the historic value. Demolition is only for the most dilapidated properties and not those that are in need of extensive repair, customary maintenance, or costly renovation/remodeling. The post war homes built beginning in 1948 to present, are categorized as “non-contributing” to the essential character envisioned and achieved by the original community founders. These prevalent styles are 1-story American Colonial Ranch, California (contemporary) Ranch, and Minimal Traditional. In 1948, the lots along Kessler Parkway were subdivided from the original Kessler Park lots. This block of lots is within the Sub area 3, and part of Sam Dealey Estates.
Subdivision of Lots
Allowance is given to property owners of the largest lots to subdivide, maintaining the original 9000 sf lot size (60ft x 150ft). A lot cannot be divided into more than 2 parcels.
Kessler Park was originally conceived as a sylvan, park-like setting without fences. Any future fencing projects should preserve the neighborhood beauty, adhering to more careful restrictions than currently allowed by the city standards.
Property owners who reside along the escarpment enjoy unrestricted views across the hills without privacy fencing. The escarpment is the single most defining and unique element in Kessler Park. 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 protects native vegetation, requires a like-plant replacement, and prevents encroachment of new structures. It is also used to restrict fence types in an effort to preserve corridor and vista views for homes that were originally built for the 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 up to 25 feet of the back face of the original house, but not within the escarpment. Property owners bordering Colorado Blvd are predominantly in need of privacy and special consideration.
Kessler Park 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. 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. Therefore, if the demand exists to expand a home size, a homeowner can add on to the original structure in lieu of demolition and new construction. This keeps the streetscape and architectural integrity intact over time. It also ensures that homeowners’ needs are met as lifestyles, trends and times change. The anti-looming side yard setback mandates that houses move away from their neighbors as they get taller, in order to protect privacy and allow for sunlight. The maximum height limitation is self-explanatory, and lends consistency in scale as it relates to our streetscapes.
Architectural Style for New Construction
New architecture can be a healthy addition if commissioned with a context-sensitive architect. The observance of building mass is most important (scale, setbacks and building height). 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. This allows for the preservation of topography and existing trees 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 neighbors with glare or light pollution from floodlights, etc.
Garages and parking vary greatly with our inventory of homes due to architectural assortment, site constraints of individual lots, lack of alleys, and existence of basements. New construction and remodeling should provide complementary solutions.
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 with vegetation.
A wide variety of paint schemes, excluding fluorescent paint colors, can be used on the exterior of any structure.
Sub-Area 1: Matrix of Development Standards