Government 101

Planning, Zoning and Development

Who can initiate a request to change the zoning of a piece of property?

A property owner, the owner’s authorized representative, or an authorized representative of a potential buyer can initiate a request to change the zoning of a piece of property by submitting a zoning application and fee to the Planning Division.

Why does City Council let buildings stay unoccupied?

Neither City Council, nor city staff, have the legal right to force a property owner to inhabit their building with a business.

Why are so many apartments being built in the City?

Currently, there is a high market demand for multi-family rental units. If a property is already zoned multi-family, then by law City Council cannot deny the request, but only ensure the quality of the development.

An application is submitted to build apartments on property zoned multi-family, can the City Council deny the request?

No. City Council cannot deny the request but can only ensure the design and quality of the development meets the City’s Unified Development Code (UDC).

Can the City Council deny a potential development if the development requires a zoning change?

Yes. The City Council can deny a zoning change request if it does not meet the use designated by the Future Land Use Map (FLUM).

Can the City Council approve or deny a zoning change that requires a Specific Use Permit (SUP)?

Yes. The City Council can grant or deny a zoning change that requires a SUP.

Can City Council approve an apartment complex in a zoning district that does not allow for multi-family development?

No. It requires a zoning change, concept plan, and site plan approved by both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council.

Why can’t we get the grocery, restaurant, retail, business we want in town?

While the city certainly can and does reach out to specific businesses and encourage them to consider locating in Grand Prairie, the city cannot force a business to locate in town. It is a function of supply and demand. Developers look at density, rooftops, spending habits, demographics, traffic patterns, access, competition, and a variety of factors in selecting the best, most promising for success, locations for their businesses.

Taxes

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How is property tax calculated?

The city portion of your property tax is only about 22% of your total property tax. The remainder are:

  • GPISD: 56%
  • Dallas Hospital District: 10%
  • Dallas Community College District: 4%
  • Dallas County: 8%

While increases in valuations result in additional property tax owed, Grand Prairie’s property tax rate has not increased in the past 29 years. The last increase was in 1992. The property tax rate was reduced in 1997 and 2000.

What does my sales tax fund?

In Grand Prairie, the sales tax is 8.25% and is broken out for:

  • 6.25% to the State of Texas
  • 1% to the city of Grand Prairie General Fund
  • 0.25% for Street Improvements (voter approved)
  • 0.25% to the Crime District to Equip, Hire and Train Police for 20 years (voter approved)
  • 0.25% for perpetual park improvements (voter approved)
  • 0.25% to build Epic Waters and The Epic (voter approved)

Does Grand Prairie offer a homestead exemption?

If you own your home on Jan. 1 and it is your primary residence, the greater of 12.5 percent of the appraised value or five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) of the residential homestead of all persons shall be exempt from city property taxes.

If you are 65 on Jan. 1 an additional $45,000 exemption on the value may be applied for at the appraisal district. When you file for the Senior Exemption, the amount you pay for property tax freezes and will not go higher, even when the value of your home increases. You may also be eligible for a disabled or disabled veteran exemption and should contact your appraisal district:

Dallas County Appraisal District (DCAD)
214-653-7811

Tarrant County Appraisal District (TAD)
817-284-0024

What is the senior property tax freeze?

If you are 65 on Jan. 1, an additional $45,000 exemption on the value of your property may be applied for at the appraisal district, and the city portion of your tax bill freezes, never to be more than it is at that point. You may also be eligible for a disabled or disabled veteran exemption and should contact your appraisal district:

Dallas County Appraisal District (DCAD)
214-653-7811

Tarrant County Appraisal District (TAD)
817-284-0024

Do property taxes fund the Grand Prairie Municipal Airport?

No. The Airport is self-sustaining through the revenues it produces. The Airport also receives funds from the Federal Aviation Administration that is funded by an aviation fuel excise tax.

 

What Do Things Cost?

What do I get for my property tax dollar?

Based on an average Grand Prairie home value of $198,000, which includes the Homestead exemption, the city’s portion of your property tax bill is only $110 a month. These days, most households pay more than that for cable TV or internet.

Here’s a breakdown of how the city spends its portion of your monthly property tax payment:

  • $63 - Police, fire, ambulance, code and animal services protection
  • $4 - Street, signal, light and sign maintenance
  • $4 - Parks, art and recreation
  • $3 - Plan, develop and inspect new growth
  • $2 - Library access to education and information
  • $30 - Capital projects and debt, including new street improvements and other infrastructure

What makes up the city’s General Fund and what is it?

The city’s general fund pays for day-to-day operations. The general fund is comprised of 50% property tax; 23% sales tax; and 27% other fees and service charges. If all we had were your property taxes to pay for city services, you could only afford police and half of fire services.

How much does it cost to add a patrol car with 24/7 staffing?

To add a new patrol vehicle as well as the three shifts of police officers to keep the vehicle rolling 24/7 costs about $550,000 a year.

How much does it cost to add a fire house or ambulance?

The cost to staff and equip a fire house is nearly $2 million a year. A new ambulance costs more than $300,000 and nearly $500,000 annually to operate with paramedics.

How does the cost of Grand Prairie water compare to the cost of bottled water I can buy at the store?

For about $5.77, the city of Grand Prairie will deliver to your home 1,000 gallons of water on demand; for $4.84, the city will haul away 1,000 gallons of your used water day or night; vs $4.99 for a 24 count package of Dasani bottled water (about 3 gallons) at the store.