"Planners are eager for the city to implement what is known as "form-based zoning" because they think it will help move the city away from its history of developing around the automobile, with stores, homes and offices at far remove.
"After several hours of discussion Wednesday at a City Council meeting, Mayor Tom Leppert decided that the council will vote at its Dec. 10 meeting on a new form-based zoning ordinance.
"Despite significant differences between city planners and a broad-based coalition of developers, neighborhood representatives, preservationists and others, there is agreement that Dallas needs to make it simpler to build classic urban neighborhoods of the style seen in most major American cities.
"'We haven't created [in large numbers] the type of neighborhoods where people can live and work and shop without getting into their cars,' said Theresa O'Donnell, director of Dallas's Development Services department.
"For too long, Dallas zoning laws have been based on a building's use rather than how it looks and functions in connection with the buildings around it and the city in general, Ms. O'Donnell said.
"By using form-based zoning, developers would be able to build neighborhoods where the look and function of the buildings are more important than what happens inside of them."