All posts by Wes Hoblit

A New Case Victory for our Land Use Consultants in Dallas, TX in Our Work for Strayer University

One of the clients we have been pleased to work with in recent months is Strayer University, an online university offering accredited bachelor and associate degrees and certificates. The university is renowned for its excellent flexibility with its online programs, as well as for its staffing of educational professionals who provide students with outstanding coursework and training.

Masterplan scored a big victory as land use consultants in Dallas, TX in our work for Strayer University on October 1.

We were working with the university on obtaining a Special Use Permit (SUP) “to allow an institutional use (private university) within an approximate 5,202 square foot portion of the building located at 2711 LBJ Freeway and zoned Planned Development No. 74 (PD-74).”

This site was to be for the new regional headquarters of Strayer University—there are two other locations currently in operation in Cedar Hill and North Dallas, after a third location recently closed in Irving.

We were able to present an argument that was sufficient for the permit to be approved, meaning Strayer University will be able to go ahead with this new project. The new headquarters will be a significant investment for Strayer that is certain to pay off in a big way.

Case once again shows benefits of land use consultants

This is just the most recent success story we have in our work with our clients, and it once again shows the benefits associated with working with professional land use consultants in Dallas, TX. Consultants can help from the earliest planning and conceptual stages of the project all the way through to completion.

Working with a team of consultants to develop a thorough land use plan or comprehensive plan for your development helps ensure you are able to achieve all of your new development goals while navigating through any potential zoning issues and ordinances that could prove to be roadblocks for you. Many construction companies and property owners simply do not have the thorough understanding of these issues that is required for a smooth land use planning process.

Land use consultants are able to assist their clients in zoning ordinances and subdivision regulations, small area planning or master planning for larger communities or cities, technical assistance for planning and zoning, training of any planning commissioners, staff or elected officials and general ADA compliance counseling.
These are just a few of the benefits that come with working with a team of professional land use consultants in Dallas, TX. At Masterplan, we have been privileged to be able to work with outstanding clients like Strayer University here in the Dallas area, and are looking forward to many more success stories to come.

Masterplan brings over three decades of experience to its work with Dallas-area businesses, individuals, government entities and more. To learn more about the services we provide, we encourage you to contact the team at Masterplan today with any questions you have, and we will be happy to answer them as thoroughly as we can. We look forward to working with you.

Masterplan Land Use Consultant in Dallas, TX Helps Make Mexican Restaurant Happen

Do you have a dream project in the works? What building or land site has your name on it? If you’re like Milkshake Concepts, you know what you want, and you’ll come to Masterplan’s land use consultants in Dallas, TX to make it happen.

Milkshake Concepts, a hospitality company, had its sights set on a location for its latest venture, Vidorra. A vintage brick building located in Deep Ellum offered the ideal spot for this new Mexican restaurant. The owners partnered with Masterplan to see their dream come true, and the restaurant opened its doors on August 22.

From Masterplan to Margaritas

The building that is now home to Deep Ellum’s Vidorra sat vacant for several years. It was previously the site of the short-lived bar, The Ruby Room. Before that, it was the Club Hush. Milkshake Concepts is confident their unique blend of tasty food and tableside entertainment is better suited for the location and will see long-term success.

The space includes a rooftop patio with views of downtown Dallas, a dining room and a ground-floor patio. These three areas offer a variety of experiences for patrons. The owners have created a space that is fun and approachable. Tableside interactivity will help make the place sociable, engaging and enjoyable.

As for the menu, the dishes are based on the restaurant’s tagline, Cocina de Mexico. The food and drink lineups incorporate regional dishes and Tex-Mex favorites. The restaurant offers cocktails, a margarita program and tequila flights.

How It Happened

Asana Partners, who acquired the property in 2017, wants to see Deep Ellum continue to transform into an area filled with great food and entertainment. Milkshake Concepts’ Mexican vision fit perfectly with this goal. The building turned out to be the optimal location for the idea.

Of course, securing a prime piece of real estate like this one doesn’t happen without some effort. Land use, zoning, building permits and a host of other hoops must be jumped through before the first burrito is served. Expertise is required to ensure all the necessary steps are taken and plans for a restaurant can come to fruition. That’s why Milkshake Concepts turned to Masterplan for assistance with making Vidorra a reality.

Masterplan provides consultation to businesses, individuals, utilities and government agencies in all matters relating to land use, including zoning, subdivisions, building permits and other development approvals. Milkshake Concepts is just one of the latest in a long list of satisfied clients. Established in 1981, Masterplan has successfully obtained thousands of governmental approvals for clients.

Make Your Plan Happen

Vidorra means “the good life,” and at Masterplan, that’s exactly what we want to help provide. Our highly accomplished experts are committed to excellent customer service and making sure every client sees successful results. Our team is dedicated to providing complete, turnkey services. When you need effective professionals to make things happen for your next project, contact Masterplan. We are the go-to land use consultants in Dallas, TX. Call today to find out what we can do for you.

Five Benefits of Hiring an Expert Witness in Dallas, TX

You’re prepping for an upcoming trial. You’re lining up all the facts, getting evidence ready to submit and reviewing questions with your witnesses. Are you as prepared as you can be? Perhaps not. Have you considered hiring an expert witness in Dallas, TX?

If not, you could be missing out on a key strategy to win your case. Expert witnesses offer five significant advantages. Don’t let these benefits slip by without harnessing them for your next court case:

Expertise:
This type of witness is so named for a reason. They possess expert knowledge in their field. The court values their opinion, ideas and input due to their high-level of understanding of the situation. Their specialized skills make them a weighty weapon. Their insight into a situation can help sway a judge or jury to render the verdict you desire.

Explanation:
Some cases involve complex toxicology or other scientific procedures. An expert witness in Dallas, TX can break down complicated topics to clearly explain them to a jury. The witness will help the jury understand and process all the information necessary to deliver an appropriate verdict. Their testimony is persuasive because it cuts through any jargon the jury may not comprehend and makes the situation clear.

Experience:
An expert witness in Dallas, TX has experience on the stand. While other witnesses may freeze up, forget what they had planned to share or provide information that is not helpful to your case, an expert witness is a seasoned testifier. They will be able to provide the information you need to clearly state your case. Their education and training in their field as well as their experience on the stand combines to create the ideal courtroom participant.

Exit:
The fact that you have an expert witness in Dallas, TX prepared to testify may make the other side nervous. They may exit the proceedings entirely by settling outside of court. Your use of an expert witness can shorten the process drastically. Rather than dragging through years of litigation, your case is settled up front, with a fair and reasonable settlement with which you and your client are satisfied.

Expenses:
Not only can the expert witness reduce the amount of time in trial due to their expertise, they can reduce costs. First of all, time is money. The expert witness in Dallas, TX saves you and your client money by shortening the proceedings. Secondly, an expert witness can provide a testimony that offers the same weight as two or three other witnesses who offer fewer credentials. You can save time, money and hassle by arranging for a single witness rather than several.

Reap the Benefits

Could you use the benefits of an expert witness in Dallas, TX for your impending proceedings? Contact Masterplan today. Masterplan provides consultation to businesses, individuals, utility companies and government agencies in all matters relating to land use, including zoning, subdivisions, building permits and other development approvals.

Established in 1981, Masterplan has successfully obtained thousands of governmental approvals for clients. Take advantage of our expert witness services today for better results tomorrow.

Annexation in Texas: How It Works

Texas state law provides a variety of regulations that deal with annexations of property, and many cities have their own annexation ordinances to consider as well. Cities of more than 50,000 people have the authority to annex property that is contiguous and within three and a half miles of current city limits, in accordance with the procedures outlined in Chapter 43 of the Texas Local Government Code.

Texas grants its cities the authority to annex territory in two main ways:

  1. Annexation can be requested by the owner of a piece of property in a process called the voluntary exempted process
  2. The city can annex a property without consent of the owner in a process called the non-voluntary process

Annexation allows cities to grow their boundaries by square miles, correspondingly increasing their population and tax revenue. It is also a process that allows for more jobs and new experiences for all citizens affected by the annexation.

The process of annexation begins every year in February. There are many factors that determine whether or not a city will annex a property—usually the primary driving factors are economics and new development. Once the city annexes a property, each parcel gets an Individual Service Plan created for it. Then, the newly annexed piece of land will be entitled to the same (or similar) services the city already provides.

Here are some examples of some of the services and benefits a resident will gain from being annexed into a city:

  • Police and fire department services
  • Solid waste collection, with cities requiring conversion to the provider within two years after the annexation is complete
  • Access to city-owned parks, recreational facilities and programs at resident rates.
  • Code enforcement for various ordinances.
  • Voting rights in all city elections and the ability to run for any city office.
  • Protection of natural resources located in the city.
  • Comprehensive drainage management solutions provided by the city.
  • The operation and maintenance of public streets.
  • The enforcement and inspection of building quality standards.
  • Opportunities to serve on city boards, committees or commissions.

Clearly, there are many benefits that come with annexation into a new city. Residents who have the ability to voluntarily be annexed into the city will want to weigh these benefits against whatever benefits would come with remaining separate from the city looking to annex the property.

Keep in mind that annexation will not result in a change of address or school district. Any school district your children currently belong to would remain their district, so you would not have to worry about uprooting them from their school, friend groups and activities in which they are already involved. This is understandably a common concern among homeowners who are also parents, and one that state and local laws address clearly.

For more information about the annexation process and the various benefits associated with it, we encourage you to contact Masterplan with your questions about annexation and zoning in Dallas, TX and we will be happy to provide you with detailed answers.

A Crash Course in Understanding Zoning Laws

zoning land uses

Zoning laws exist to determine the kinds of structures that can be built in certain areas, as well as to highlight whether or not existing structures can be repurposed or replaced with something new. Even if you are not considering making any such change on property you own, zoning laws can have an influence on your neighbors’ property, and if one of them attempts to make a change that goes against local zoning laws, it could have a detrimental effect on your property value.

Here’s some information you should know about zoning in Dallas, TX.

Why is zoning important?

Zoning laws help prevent the usage of land in ways that are not in the best interests of the people. For example, they separate incompatible land uses in a way that minimizes the potential impact of one type of zoning area on another. They also help make for orderly development of a city and are important in the providing of public infrastructure.

Essentially, zoning gives communities a map and set of rules that influence how the city will grow and the kinds of districts it will have in each of its physical areas.

How does it work?

Zoning starts with the formation of a comprehensive plan (or master plan) that outlines how a city will be developed and how that development will help the city achieve its goals with regard to economic, social and physical development. Comprehensive plans generally have long-term outlooks, from several years to several decades.
A comprehensive plan will include pictures, concepts, ideas and outlines of where important infrastructure will go. This plan will affect landowners—if you wish to develop your property or sell it to another person, you might want to have your voice be heard in the comprehensive planning process. After all, zoning is meant to be done for the good of the people, so the people should feel free to make their opinions known.

After the city has a comprehensive plan in place, it then focuses on zoning ordinances, the regulations that govern how the land will be used and how structures will be constructed within that local area. Zoning ordinances tend to be approved with the help of staff and planning consultants. Those ordinances will be presented at a public hearing to get input from property owners, and revised drafts will eventually be handed to the planning commission for review and ultimate approval or disapproval.

There are different types of district categories within zones, including historic districts (which exist to preserve historic structures), planned use districts (usually for mixed-use developments), floating districts and mixed-use districts.

Zoning decisions are made by city staff and a city’s planning commission, which is comprised of residents appointed by the city council. Commissioners are often required to have real estate, engineering, legal or other valuable experiences.

This is a very cursory overview of zoning in Dallas, TX, so for a more detailed look at zoning and what you should know about it, contact the team at Masterplan today.