A development agreement being negotiated by city staff could reduce the number of multifamily units allowed on a 630-acre tract of Brinkmann Ranch to a maximum of 2,480 units, according to Frisco's mayor. The proposed agreement would also bring a Frisco ISD elementary school and a middle school, a retail center and a gated single-family subdivision to the property.

During its March 3 meeting, Frisco City Council authorized City Manager George A. Purefoy to negotiate a development agreement with Landon Homes that would amend a 2002 development agreement concerning Brinkmann Ranch. The action was taken after developer John Landon approached the city about his company’s plans to purchase more than 630 acres of the Brinkmann Ranch property. The proposed development agreement involves property near the southwest corner of the intersection of Eldorado Parkway and Coit Road.

“The big things for us are that they maintain the building standards in Frisco, that they build to our new standard and that they reduce the multifamily count,” Mayor Jeff Cheney said in an interview March 4.

Existing development agreement

According to a city memorandum provided to council, Landon has stated he has access to build up to 5,218 multifamily units under the existing development agreement. His current proposal lays out plans for 2,480 multifamily units on about 115 acres of the more than 630 acres he plans to purchase.

The 2002 development agreement reduced the allowable number of apartments throughout the entire Brinkmann Ranch property from 17,822 units to 10,511 units, the memorandum stated. Of those, at least 1,600 units have been allocated for a planned apartment development at the northeast corner of Research Road and Eldorado Parkway, or the "acquisition of the property for the UNT Campus and community park at the southwest corner of Preston Road and Panther Creek Parkway," the city memorandum states.

“One of the big issues we’re facing right now is tied in with the legislative building standards that were passed last session,” Cheney said. “The state of Texas is essentially saying we can’t really control [building standards], and Frisco is known for our high building standards. When we’re negotiating with developers, especially with a deal like Brinkmann, where it was zoned so poorly, in our opinion, we’re really after those three things, which is agreeing to build to our building standards, reducing the density in multifamily and increasing the open space.”

Cheney said he was disappointed the Brinkmann family never did a master plan for the entire ranch before beginning to sell parcels of it.

"I hope they will at least do that with the main ranch land, but we haven’t heard from them as far as their plans for that," Cheney said. "The value of their property is the value [it is] because of how properties around them are zoned and constructed, and as a result they’re benefiting from the success of Frisco. And I would say to them, very directly, that my expectations of them are to live up to Frisco’s standards and what came before them."

Attempts to reach the Brinkmann family for comment were unsuccessful.

New development agreement

The new development agreement would change terms in the 2002 development agreement related to parkland dedication, park fees, construction of off-site sanitary sewer facilities, development rights, roadways, right of way and easement dedication, impact fees and development-related issues.

Council’s authorization gave Purefoy the ability to make a final deal or “walk away from the deal if it’s not in the city’s best interest,” as Council Member Will Sowell said in his motion.

In a document prepared for council, city staff wrote that should the property be acquired by Landon Homes, the company plans to sell:

• about 100 acres to a multifamily housing developer for a maximum of 2,300 units;

• about 15 acres to a different multifamily housing developer for a maximum of 180 units;

• about 31.2 acres for a Frisco ISD elementary school and a middle school;

• about 15.1 acres for a retail center; and

• about 469.2 acres for a gated single-family subdivision Landon plans to develop.

“We have a new park fee ordinance that is very expensive for multifamily, so usually these developers, it’s better for them to come to the table than to build to their straight [previously approved] zoning," Cheney said. "So that’s how we’ve been able to negotiate some of these bad zonings into more favorable outcomes for the city.”

Among the proposed agreement are items related to the planned multifamily units. The document prepared for council stated the multifamily housing on the 100-acre tract of land would be built in “an urban form” similar to what was approved at the corner of Custer Road and Main Street last year.

The new development agreement would also cap the 15-acre multifamily housing development to 180 units and a height of one story.

The proposed agreement also states the developer will dedicate 16 acres of parkland, provide $1 million for improvements to parks in the development and help with the acquisition of easement to extend the Six City Hike and Bike Trail.

After the March 3 meeting, Cheney said the proposed development agreement is “not guaranteed,” but noted Purefoy “knows the parameters that he has to work with” to resolve City Council’s concerns. The mayor said if the new development agreement is worked out, Landon Homes could close on the property later this year.

Other items addressed by the development agreement include:

• the developer will build at least two lanes of Hillcrest Road and provide for right of way and easements for Hillcrest construction from Eldorado Parkway to Main Street when required;

• there would be provisions for the extension of major wastewater lines to serve this portion and the rest of the Brinkmann Ranch property;

• any public improvement districts established on the property will not be the responsibility of Frisco to operate or manage; and

• local building materials standards will be applicable throughout the entire property.

Editor's note: The headline has been updated to reflect more of the scope of the proposed development. The photo's caption has also been updated to correct the development agreement being negotiated would amend an existing agreement from 2002. The story has been updated to add information on the number of multifamily units allowed on the Brinkmann Ranch property under the existing development agreement and additional comments from Mayor Jeff Cheney.