City to consider striking parts of Plano Tomorrow plan after reaching tentative deal in lawsuit

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Editor’s note: The city of Plano on July 18 said the deal described below has fallen through. For more details, read our latest story.

Some of the most controversial aspects of the Plano Tomorrow plan could be struck from the city’s comprehensive development vision after officials reached an agreement with a group of residents suing the city.

On July 10, City Attorney Paige Mims said Plano City Council will vote at its July 22 meeting on whether to repeal the Plano Tomorrow plan. In its place, the council will consider adopting an amended version of the plan that does not include some of its more controversial goals, including some parts related to land use.

Jack Ternan, attorney for the group suing the city, said he expected the lawsuit would be dropped if the council approves the amended plan.

“I am encouraged by the discussions we had today that the city may be open to taking citizen input in a way that didn’t happen before,” Ternan said.

The decision to bring this proposal to the council was the result of a mediation discussion between city officials and lawyers, Mims said.

“It was a productive meeting with a good faith effort by all involved to resolve the matter,” she said.

The city declined to offer additional details late Wednesday, but Mims said the agenda for the July 22 meeting would be posted as early as Thursday of this week.

The plan had been the subject of ire for years from a vocal group of residents who said they believed it allowed for too much dense, apartment-heavy development in Plano.

The lawsuit was filed after a group of residents gathered petition signatures to submit a proposal to repeal the plan to a public vote.

The city staff did not submit the call for a referendum to the City Council at the time, arguing the Plano Tomorrow plan could not be legally repealed by referendum. Plano’s comprehensive development plan was inextricably linked with the city’s zoning ordinances, city attorneys said. They further argued the local legislative process that produced the plan could not be replicated at the ballot box.

It was unclear late Wednesday exactly how the amended plan would differ from the old one. Ternan said he expected the new plan would blend aspects of a previous planning document with “the noncontroversial, non-land-use parts of the Plano Tomorrow plan.”

The July 22 meeting will be a joint meeting with the council and the Plano Planning and Zoning Commission, Mims said in an email. The meeting will include several agenda items relating to the lawsuit, she said.

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COMMENT
  1. The city has been taken hostage by this group of people who only want to defend their own interests. As an urban planner, this amended plan makes me feel completely defeated.

  2. That’s exactly what has happened – a small but relentless and somewhat insane people with nothing better to do (most of them are retired or living off disability/government money) has basically terrorized the city for years to get their way. And Plano loses.

    • David Fincannon

      In January, city manager and mayor started out calling us racist. Now call us terrorists. Come on Plano, stay classy.

  3. Why has the name calling started even before the plan changes are completely revealed, discussed & voted on?

    • It is unfortunate that the current Mayor & his supporters continue to position developers interest against concerned citizens. Why the negative comments when we have not seen what changes are being proposed? Thankfully this last election provided balance on the council. The tactics of dishonesty & deception by the past Council is simply not acceptable.

  4. Have the details been released but not printed in this article? Why would anyone be upset before details are known?

    Also, I thought >4,000 people signed a petition to have this issue brought to a vote by Plano residents and the City did not want that. Why is it so bad for people to have a voice in their own government?

    Sounds to me like a win for the people!

  5. Glad to know I have nothing to do but live off “government “ money and am insane. It is this same arrogant attitude by our city politicians that brought on this fight. They have lost in court. They have lost at the ballot box. They lied to us in the meetings “selling” the plan. And, rather than settle the issue with a vote they spent hundreds of thousands of tax dollars fighting their own citizens.

    • So true. When I noticed that the toyota dealership never left for their new dealership, until this last month. I knew the city had lost. Apartments everywhere is a disgrace for school support.

  6. I agree with Rob. I lived here 40+ years, paid taxes, put in civic work, “thought” I was investing my heart, money & energy & time into a city I loved with a vision & plan I thought was wonderful UNTIL that vision CHANGED.
    If the revisions aren’t such a threat, why not let the citizens, the people that LIVE here, pay the taxes & have the most to personally loose vote on it???
    I do very well know what I’ve been sold through the years and THIS ain’t it!

  7. Shelby Williams

    In America, citizens should have a greater voice in their government than anywhere else on earth. Through the petition and this most recent election, the people of Plano made their voices heard, particularly with record turnout in the runoff election. I encourage ALL citizens to make their voice heard continually and to be as informed as possible on the issues that impact our community. I hope to see a council chamber filled to overflowing on July 22.

    • Council Member Williams, in our deliberative representative democracy, I don’t think our elected officials should govern based on who can yell the loudest. If that is the only measure, then we don’t need elected officials to govern, only poll counts for the loudest (not necessarily the best informed) for every item on the agenda.

  8. community commitment

    I hope someone is looking at the demographic shift. Millennials are not marrying, so – the single family dwelling priority is not theirs choice.

    “Today an unprecedented portion of millennials will remain unmarried through age 40, a recent Urban Institute report predicted. The marriage rate might drop to 70 percent — a figure well below rates for boomers (91 percent), late boomers (87 percent) and Gen Xers (82 percent). And declines might be even sharper if marriage rates recover slowly, or not at all, from pre-recession levels, according to the report.

    Traditional marriage has been on a downward trajectory for generations, but with this group it appears to be in free fall. According to a report released last month by the Pew Research Center, 25 percent of millennials are likely to never be married.”

    Plano is currently losing population. Though employment opportunities are high, people are choosing to live outside the city.

    An artful analysis of Plano Data https://datausa.io/profile/geo/plano-tx/#housing
    would argue that advocating for building to serve the past isn’t going to serve the future and the demographic shift that is already on its way.

    Peace and all good

    • And yet my house appraisal went from $300k to $425k in a handful of years. Go figure.

      Plano has no problem selling detached single family homes on large lots.

      It’s a political, and financial corruption, motive to jack up the density with row housing and 4-story apartments that look like prisons going right up to the street.

      And the irony is the “progressives” who hate “sprawl” and want to “urbanize” the suburbs are just pushing people further out, to Celina, Prosper, Anna.

  9. Plano already has more population density than Austin, Dallas, Arlington, Irving, Houston, Fort Worth. Every major intersection is labeled “NC” in that new tomorrow plan. Neighborhood Center. What that means is every major intersection will have their shopping centers with mom @ pop restaurants and stores torn down and replaced with the 4-story apartments that look like prisons and go right up to the street with no green space. A little chain retail like Jamba Juice, who can afford the much higher rent. No mom and pop. That’s thousands of new units at every major intersection. Tens of thousands more cars on 15th, Coit, Preston, Alma, Custer, Independence, Park, Parker, Hedgcoxe, McDermott, Spring Creek…during rush hour.

    That’s not progress.

  10. more government >>>more problems

    the left runs the government to attack pro americans

    the goal is to get more dems into the burbs to turn it like dallas

    resist!!

    • If you want less government, Houston is the city for you. They are the largest city in the US with NO zoning and presumably no planning either. You can build what you want where you want. The only control is the use of private deed restrictions. There is no plot to put hated, deplorable Dems into the burbs. The council and planning staff realize many people do NOT want to own houses and have jobs in Plano and nearby. The demand is coming from younger adults (politics have zero to do with it). They would like to live near their work. I’ve checked thoroughly and there are no plots, no underhanded politics and only a concern that the city does not want to price its work force out of living in the city.

  11. My concern is that Plano needs to have a housing stock that is affordable to middle income people like firemen, police, teachers, and many others who work in the city and are very much needed for their contribution. Currently, many people are priced out of the housing market especially in the northern burbs due to the fast run-up in house prices. Also, a lot more people especially the younger adults do not want to own a residence and/or don’t have the down payment. Considering how often people move, I can see the point of leasing like it is done in large cities. The controversy is NOT with the zoning districts, but the city plan. The plan is NOT LEGALLY BINDING like the zoning district of a property. Remember that Plano has way too much retail zoning. Much of it has been changed. The same with the tech zoning east of Central around Jupiter, Plano Pkwy, when it was realized the demand was not there. Plano needs to be a job center to sustain its tax base and affordable housing options are essential.

  12. Many people have many different reasons for their dislike of the PTP in its current form. Many citizens worked many hours with city officials to offer suggestions and improvements, but the City decided that process was taking too long, so they dumped the citizens’ suggestions and approved a plan that many people did not like. My primary concern with the PTP in its current form is that it is too vague. It has generalities, goals, and loose definitions, which leave too much discretion to the city staff to determine what is and is not acceptable. Vague, loose rules provide for disproportionate treatment of differing citizens. It is not good for either side of the debate regarding density. It would be better to get a set of rules that a majority of citizens can agree on, so that you have a meaningful guide for something as important as the blueprint for the future growth of our city. More than 4300 citizens signed a petition within ten days of the ordinance, asking for the plan to be put to a vote. If a majority of the citizens are in favor of the PTP, why is the city so opposed to a vote on it? I believe in our constitutional right to vote, and I am involved in this issue because I champion all those citizens who have not been able to exercise their right to vote.

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Daniel Houston
Daniel Houston covers Plano city government, transportation, business and education for Community Impact Newspaper. A Fort Worth native and Baylor University graduate, Daniel reported previously for The Dallas Morning News and The Associated Press in Oklahoma City.
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