New open-space standards push for more green space, amenities in developments

New open-space standards push for more green space, amenities in developments

Open space in commercial developments, such as Hall Park, is expected to help make Frisco a more sustainable city by bringing more foot traffic and creating quality developments. (via Nicole Luna/Community Impact Newspaper)

Nonresidential developments in Frisco will now be required to have a larger amount of open space and more amenities.

On July 6, Frisco City Council voted to make a change to the open-space standards for nonresidential developments. The changes would increase the minimum amount of open space from 7 percent to 10 percent of the total net acreage and increase the number of required amenities from five to eight.

“From a big-picture perspective, I’m a firm believer in quality development,” Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said. “To be sustainable over a long time, you have to build that kind of quality into it, or we’ll wake up 10-20 years from now and Frisco will be an aging community that people aren’t investing in. So we’re trying to take a long-term approach for Frisco to be sustainable, and a big part of that is open space and design of developments.”

The new standards will have no impact to developments currently under construction in Frisco as well as those development plans that have already been submitted to the city, said John Lettelleir, Frisco’s director of development services.

However, if submitted plans expire and developers resubmit plans, developments must comply with the new requirements, he said.

“The retail centers that are getting built today have more of an entertainment value, and it’s not a new concept,” Lettelleir said. “If you go back to the retail centers that were built back in the Depression, they had open-space areas where large groups of people would congregate. So this is just an old form of planning.”

Cheney said some of the major Frisco developments are already utilizing open space well.

“More commercial developers are seeing the value in adding these types of amenities and open space,” Cheney said. “Projects [such as The Star in Frisco, Frisco Station and The Gate]are good examples of what to expect going forward.”

During the meeting, several council members expressed concern that these new standards would price out small-business owners who want to build in Frisco.

Cheney said he believes the new standards would help businesses by attracting more people to developments.

“From a resident’s perspective, we’ll have more unique development, and I think it will bring more boutique retailers and some non-chain restaurants, creating a city that is much more sustainable over time,” Cheney said. “If you’re in a well-designed commercial development, then it’s going to bring in more foot traffic. … I think at the end of the day by spending more time and focusing on quality development, it’s going to be good for all parties involved.”

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Nicole Luna is the Senior Reporter for Frisco. She covers development, transportation, education, business and city government. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Spanish from The University of Texas at Arlington and has been with Community Impact Newspaper since June 2015.
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