Lake Highlands Town Center

Client Name: Oden Hughes, LLC

Dallas, Texas


  • Zoning – Development Plan 
  • Permitting 
  • Project Management

    Project Description
    This project is comprised of three lots to all be developed with multi-family units. The client needed a development plan approved through Dallas City Plan Commission with a new and difficult commissioner. We were also working under a very tight permitting schedule, knowing we would have to go through a slow plan review process with the city. 


    • The plan commission process proved to be a difficult one due to a new commissioner and a commission who continued to hold a development plan approval. The City Attorney had to halt the public hearing twice and hold an execute session to remind the commissioner of their responsibility and duty to approve the proposed development plan. Even with this counsel, the case was held three total times causing significant delays. This took daily communication with the client, city, and appointed officials to ensure everyone was on the same page. Masterplan’s CEO, Dallas Cothrum, also executed neighborhood meetings to educate them on the development plan process and what the commission is instructed to do per the ordinance. The issue was that the neighbors wanted to treat this like a zoning case, but it was only an administrative development plan approval process that “shall be approved” by the commission. 
    • Once we got to plan review, there was a sidewalk issue with zoning that needed to be resolved. Masterplan proposed to work with the subdivision and current planning divisions to adjust the property line so that this would resolve the sidewalk concern with zoning. Through multiple meetings, Masterplan was able to get the subdivision to approve the revision to the plat administratively without having to go back through the public hearing process. Masterplan also convinced current planning to approve a minor amendment administratively in five days! This approval is rare and does not require us to go to a public hearing. To allow the staff to make the most favorable decision, Masterplan argued that it was a minor change, which didn’t impact the spirit and intent of the proposal. This was further supported with the existing ordinance. 
    • It was important to stay on top of staff so they did not have time to change their minds and getting them to stamp and approve these decisions helped seal the deal. 

    Strategies Used

    • Acted as point of contact between the city and all parties involved with the project. 
    • Followed up with plan reviewers on behalf of the client.
    • Minimum of weekly check-ins with the client to provide timelines and updates.
    • Daily constant and continual communication between the development team and different city departments. 


    • Permitting: The timeline was slightly delayed due to some of these roadblocks, but we were able to overcome the barriers. Progress was made at every step of the process to obtain the proper permits so that they could begin construction. 



    Kiesha Kay
    Senior Consultant

    Ms. Kay joined Masterplan in July 2019 after a long career working for the City of Dallas as the Chief Planner for the Sustainable Development and Construction Department. Her experience with the City of Dallas and her graduate-level education from Texas A&M University bring new ideas and insight to Masterplan. She has several years of proven experience working for local governments and serving community organizations, development professionals, architects/engineers, and others engaged in urban planning and development.