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New restrictions target polluting concrete batch plants seeking to operate in Dallas

A concrete batch plant is neighbor to homes in West Dallas' neighborhood of Westmoreland Heights.
Alejandra Martinez
A concrete batch plant is neighbor to homes in West Dallas' neighborhood of Westmoreland Heights.

Dallas is putting more restrictions on environmentally hazardous concrete batch plants, which have operated near Black and Latino neighborhoods for years.

Residents will get to voice their concerns about these polluting facilities as part of the first phase of a zoning plan approved by Dallas City Council Wednesday.

West Dallas resident Raul Reyes says new rules will limit polluting facilities like concrete batch plants from operating near homes in his majority Latino neighborhood.

“It's been very challenging when dealing with these batch plant applications that are happening in West Dallas every other week. It's like a game of Whac-A-Mole,” he said. “What's very frustrating is when we don't have a chance to speak."

Concrete batch plants are known sources of air pollutants. At the city council meeting residents cited the dust and particulate matter they release have caused health and breathing problems in their communities.

Council Member Paula Blackmon, who serves as the chairwoman of the Environment and Sustainability Committee said new rules for batch plants will empower residents.

"A better path forward for self-determination for our neighborhoods,” she said. "That is what this is about neighborhoods having a voice to determine the direction where they want to go.”

The first phase would require temporary or permanent batch plants wanting to open in Dallas to go through a public hearing process before they can get a Specific Use Permit (SUP) or approval to open. Residents will get a chance to speak at a city plan commission meeting and council meetings if they have concerns. And permits would be approved by city leaders once the public hearing is over.

The second phase, which is still in the works, would identify “buffers” between batch plants and so-called “sensitive land use” areas such as schools and homes.

Julia Ryan, director of the city’s Planning and Urban Design Department (PUD) said last week the goal is to ensure “new industries are an appropriate distance away from neighborhoods.”

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member for KERA News. Email Alejandra at You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

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Alejandra Martinez is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). She's covering the impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities and the city of Dallas.