All posts by Wes Hoblit

Dallas Cothrum, CEO of Masterplan and LaBarba, Featured on PlayMakers Talk Show

masterplan consultantsDallas Cothrum, the CEO of Masterplan and LaBarba Permit Service, recently had the opportunity to visit the PlayMakers Talk Show podcast to talk about his story and how he became the CEO of both companies.

The crew discussed leadership and strategy, as well as the work Dallas has been involved with over the last several years.

Listen to the full interview here:

About PlayMakers Talk Show

PlayMakers Talk Show is a popular podcast that focuses on local CEOs, entrepreneurs and executives who are passionate about making a difference in the Metroplex, their fields and industries and their lives in general.

The setup for the show is primarily story-driven. The hosts like to have guests come in and tell their own personal stories so audiences can hear how they’ve achieved success in their fields. The idea is to give people a sense of the successes and failures they’ve experienced and show how they’ve worked to overcome the obstacles they’ve faced as they’ve gone along their career journeys. It gives listeners a realistic, in-depth look at people who have achieved success and humanizes them in a way to show that, with the right drive, ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things.

Every show provides valuable information, ideas and resources that anyone can use, especially people in the world of business.

The show’s website is, and the link to the interview with Dallas can be found here, on the November 2nd edition of the show:

Check out the interview here

About Dallas Cothrum and Masterplan

Dallas Cothrum serves as the CEO of Masterplan, a zoning and land use consultant in Dallas, TX, and LaBarba Permit Service, an alcohol licensing service provider that recently celebrated its 50th year in business and is the industry leader in obtaining alcohol permits from the TABC. His primary area of expertise involves obtaining the proper land entitlements for government entities, developers and utilities.

Throughout Dallas’s career, he has worked on a wide variety of difficult (and occasionally politically charged) cases. He was at the forefront of the efforts in developing Rosewood Court, as well as innumerable multifamily projects and self-storage locations. He has been a part of more cases in Oak Lawn and Dallas Uptown than just about anyone else, so he has developed a significant amount of experience and expertise in his field in that time.

In addition to these accomplishments, Dallas is responsible for consulting with and advising clients on requirements for permits and zoning for various municipalities in the area. He has put together public presentations for community groups, municipal boards, commissions and councils regarding all types of master planning issues.

Established in 1981, Masterplan provides political consultation and representation for all types of public strategies. Masterplan serves as a land use consultant in Dallas, TX to businesses, individuals, utilities and government agencies in all matters relating to land use, including zoning, subdivisions, building permits and other development approvals.

The firm’s practice is divided into three sections: zoning and land use, building code and permitting, and entitlement and lobbying. The largest portion of work remains zoning and board of adjustment work. Reach out to us today to learn more!

Moving Forward on a Mixed-Use Development in Princeton, TX

Mixed-Use Development
We recently worked with the City of Princeton, TX on a brand-new mixed-use development that required a little bit of extra work dealing with some of the alcohol laws in the area.

The big sticking point with the project was that we needed to work with the city to be able to mitigate alcohol laws, including regulations limiting the distance from schools and churches at which alcohol can be sold. This would allow more flexibility for the implementation of sit-down dining restaurants that sell alcohol, like Chili’s, Applebee’s or On the Border.

In many cases, these large chain restaurants simply will not build in a city that does not allow alcohol sales, or that has restrictions on alcohol sales that are likely to make projects less profitable. This makes sense from a business perspective—these businesses are making a million-dollar investment in the building and land, but doing so without being able to sell alcohol simply is not a feasible option for many of these companies.

Our job as land use consultants in Dallas, TX, then, is to lobby the city on their behalf, in addition to holding meetings about alcohol sales that are open to the public, encouraging people to vote “yes” to allow for mixed beverage sales in restaurants so that the development is able to move forward and attract quality tenants that want to sell alcohol to their customers. The measure went up for a public vote during the November 6 elections.

About the project

So beyond all the legal issues, what exactly is involved with this project, and what can community members expect out of it once it’s complete?
This new development in Princeton will bring in both housing and commercial space, as well as significant value to its neighborhood. The $575 million, 297-acre Princeton Crossroads will feature a 40,000 square foot city hall that will be located on the north side of U.S. Highway 380. The development will also include 333 single-family homes, 166 townhomes and a city park featuring two ponds, walking trails, a dog park and a playground.

Prices for the single-family homes in the project will start at about $250,000. The retail and commercial spaces are being marketed to grocers, home improvement retailers and entertainment-related businesses, including restaurants like those mentioned above.

City officials believe this new project will be a tremendous asset to the city of Princeton, bringing more jobs to the town and expanding the tax base in the city. The new city hall is an especially exciting project, one that is already going through the design phase right now.

This is just the latest project with which we have had success, and it has been a pleasure working with the developers to get all the planning and other issues figured out so that this can move forward in a way that will benefit the entire community.

For more information about the master planning services we provide to municipalities throughout the area, we encourage you to contact Masterplan today with any questions you have for our team of land use consultants in Dallas, TX.

What to Know Before Starting Your Home Improvement Project

Many homeowners like to take on their own home improvement projects, which means they need to seek out their own building permits and organize their own mandatory inspections for the job—tasks that a contractor would typically perform for them.

If you are a DIY kind of person, especially if you’re interested in taking on any larger types of projects for remodeling or repairs, here are some things you should know about building permits in Dallas, TX before you kick off the project:

You might not necessarily need a permit: Not every improvement you make to a home requires you to get a permit. The rules will vary from city to city, but in general, you can replace most elements of your home without having to get a permit. As a general rule, any time you do anything that changes the structure of your home or is classified as a “real estate improvement” will require you to get a permit—think, for example, taking out a wall and putting up a beam, or doing some significant electrical work.

Property setbacks play a big role: Setbacks are the required buffers between property borders and permanent structures that help offer a feeling of openness and give some additional safety if a fire occurs. If you are building along the side of your home, you will need to know what your local building codes say about setback distance requirements. There will be some rules regarding extending the property to the front and back as well, but the biggest concerns will be to either side.

A stock blueprint might not be approved: Say you find a stock building plan on the internet for a new shed or garage. While it might be cheaper to purchase one of these stock plans than it would be to hire an architect to draw up the plans for you, it’s not a guarantee that your local permit office will approve those plans—you might be required under local ordinances to work with an actual architect who is licensed by your state to get the plans done.

Be aware of easements: Anywhere there’s a sewer main, power line, sidewalk or other common service that passes through your property, you’re likely to have an easement, which is a type of legal restriction preventing you from making any sorts of changes that affect these features. If this is the case, you’ll find it nigh on impossible to get a permit to build on these portions of your property.

Costs can vary: There is no set fee for a building permit. Instead, the costs will vary based on the estimated cost of the project and its general complexity. A permit to build a fence will cost significantly less than a permit to build a new house, for example.

For more information about building permits in Dallas, TX that you should know before you start a project, contact the knowledgeable consultants at Masterplan today. We look forward to assisting you!

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.