The Plano City Council left Tuesday’s meeting determined to vote on a development vision for the city’s eastern Oak Point area that had been withdrawn previously for lack of apparent consensus on the council.
Council members on Tuesday directed the city staff to bring back the Envision Oak Point plan at a future meeting without any substantial revisions to the most recent draft. Plano City Manager Bruce Glasscock, who withdrew the plan from council consideration in May citing potentially “unresolvable” differences, said the vote could be scheduled for the council’s July 23 meeting.
The Envision Oak Point plan, if approved, would send a signal to potential developers that the city is likely to support zoning changes that align with a singular vision for the area informed by a yearlong study and public input process.
“The purpose of a vision is to let those [developers]who want to come here know that we clearly have an idea of what we want our community to look like,” Mayor Harry LaRosiliere said in support of the plan. “If we don’t have a vision, the capital and those who want to invest will go to the place where there is.”
Based on statements of direction provided by council members, city planning officials were expected to alter some language in the plan to clarify it does not require the city to use tools like economic incentive agreements to attract businesses to the area, leaving that option open for future council deliberations.
The council did not collectively request changes to address other provisions of concern for some residents, including the density of the residential developments in the plan. Council Member Anthony Ricciardelli said Tuesday he would like to see the plan contain fewer residential elements, opting instead for more office uses.
Council Member Ron Kelley, who voted last year against an approved zoning change for the city’s nearby Legacy Central development and cautioned at the time against a “disturbing trend” of redevelopment efforts being driven by multifamily projects, said Tuesday the Oak Point area was in need of some kind of plan to guide the change he viewed as inevitable.
“The fact of the matter is, in all likelihood, this part of town is going to be developed and redeveloped over time because of property owner rights,” Kelley said.
Council Member Tom Harrison said he opposed the plan. Harrison has voted against apartment-heavy development plans in the past, including Legacy Central. On Tuesday, he said the council was “wasting time and energy” on the Oak Point plan, which he said could be rescinded if more apartment opponents join the council in next year’s municipal elections.
The plan that will be presented in July has undergone revisions from its original draft. After a public feedback session with Plano Planning and Zoning commissioners and council members in January, city officials lowered the number of projected apartment units outlined in the plan by 38 percent.
The number of small-lot housing units—which include townhouses, cottage houses and attached single-family residences—rose from 400 to 610 in the amended plan. Detached single-family homes rose from 800 to 945 as part of the same series of changes.
Glasscock withdrew the plans from the council’s consideration May 14 after he concluded there were fundamental disagreements about the facts in the proposal—some of which, he said at the time, may be “unresolvable.”
“I don’t know that we can address all the concerns, to be truthful,” Glasscock told Plano City Council members at the time.
But after Tuesday’s meeting, Glasscock appeared satisfied that the proposal could be brought forward for consideration again.