Task force tightens regulations for Stockyard overlay design

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The Historic Stockyards Design District Task Force decided in an 8-6 vote yesterday to tighten the regulations on building height by changing it from a guideline to a standard.
The new rule requires all new constructions and additions within 50 feet of a historical structure to be within two stories of the historical structure, according to the Overarching Standards and Guidelines of the Stockyards Design Overlay District.
The standard also mandates that transitions are necessary when the new construction is more than two stories taller than the historic structure, according to the Overarching Standards and Guidelines of the Stockyards Design Overlay District.
The qualification for a historic structure for this project is “things that are eligible for being on the National Register of Historic Places,” Task Force Staff Liaison Dana Burghdoff said.
“We need to protect the Stockyards,” task force member Bob Adams said. “This is Fort Worth. This is the Stockyards. This is life is too short to live in Dallas.”
The task force also decided to add a list of proposed and inappropriate building materials to be added to the guidelines section of the project. A guideline differs from a standard because a guideline is a suggestion to follow, whereas a standard is a hard rule. If companies would like an exemption from a standard they would have to petition the city’s Urban Design Commission for one, Senior Assistant City Attorney Melinda Ramos said.
In addition, the task force chose not to take action on whether a lot at 2201 Main St. should be removed from the overlay district. The lack of a vote meant that the lot remains a part of the district.
“I’m not trying to tear anything down,” task force member Keith Kidwill said.
This task force assembled last year at the request of the Fort Worth City Council in order to guide development of a new Stockyards design district, according to the city of Fort Worth website.
The plan for the design district came about after the city of Fort Worth approved the use of tax increment financing (TIF) Aug. 4. The TIF is a finance tool used by local governments to publicly finance needed structural improvements and enhanced infrastructure within a defined area, according to the city of Fort Worth website.

For the Stockyards area the tax revenue will come from the city of Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Tarrant County College District and the Tarrant Regional Water District. Their portion of funds for the project, projected at around $40 million, will go towards improvements such as roads, pedestrian areas, public amenities, historic restoration and parking infrastructure, according to the project plan and financing plan for the reinvestment zone.
Stockyards Trading Post employee Scott Tallmon said he thinks these plans are a good idea because they would bring more people to the Stockyards.
“I think it would be wonderful,” Tallmon said. “It’d be good for the Stockyards.”
Rudy Martinez, manager of the Riscky’s BBQ in the Stockyards, said he also believed that the new designs would bring more people to the Stockyards, but is worried about keeping the Stockyards unique.
“We don’t want to lose the identity of the Stockyards,” Martinez said “As long as we can control and find a balance to it, it should be a great thing for Fort Worth.”
Some visitors to the Stockyards however, such Emily Totty who was visiting from Australia, are not as optimistic about the update.
“Tell them not to do it,” Totty said. “The whole point of this place is that it’s historically there. I love that you walk around this place and it feels old timey, it doesn’t feel like you’re in the 21st century.”
Allan Campaign, a self-proclaimed history buff visiting from New York, said it would be a good idea to keep the Stockyards going but wants the designers to remember the history in their plans.
“That’s the important part,” Campaign said. “I hope they keep that part in mind.”
However not everyone is as worried about maintaining the history of the Stockyards.
“The only history that could be lost is tearing down some old stockyard stalls back there,” Tallmon said. “They only got 20 head of cattle so they only need one little spot to keep them.”
The task force is set to meet again either Sept. 23 or 24 where members plan to discuss more about the proposed building materials and do a look through of the update plans as a whole.