City staff presents plan to implement zoning flexibility for innovation district east of US 75 in Richardson

A rendering shows what a potential redesign of Greenville Avenue and the area surrounding the DART Arapaho Station could look like once the innovation district is complete.

A rendering shows what a potential redesign of Greenville Avenue and the area surrounding the DART Arapaho Station could look like once the innovation district is complete.

A timeline for zoning changes and other land entitlement steps needed to deliver a 1,200-acre innovation district east of US 75 were presented to Richardson City Council at a Jan. 7 meeting.

The goal of the Collins-Arapaho Innovation District—roughly contained by Campbell Road, Plano Road and Apollo Drive—is to become a premier tech hub in North Texas, where businesses across industries and in different parts of their growth process can thrive, according to Scott Page, principal at consulting firm Interface Studio. Consultants began studying the area in March 2018.

A consultant team made up of representatives from Kimley-Horn, Strategic Community Solutions and Jacobs will identify a project scope, review zoning recommendations and continue engagement with nearby property owners beginning in the first quarter of 2019, Planning Projects Manager Doug McDonald said.

Three industrial sites have been identified as needing zoning variances. Rather than break the project into phases, the team hopes to take a different approach from previous revitalization projects and perform all zoning changes in one fell swoop, McDonald said.

McDonald said that zoning changes related to signage, building materials, building height, setbacks, paving, floor-to-area ratio and land uses will need to be approved to allow for execution of the innovation district.

In the third and fourth quarter of 2019, city staff and consultants will draft a zoning ordinance, hold community workshops and meet with property owners to ensure they are equipped to make the investment needed to revamp their properties.

McDonald said the zoning ordinance will be brought to the City Planning Commission and City Council for adoption by the end of 2019.
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