Vote to repeal Plano Tomorrow plan postponed after planning commissioners ask for more time

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The latest effort to repeal the city’s Plano Tomorrow development plan fell through July 22 after zoning commissioners expressed they were uncomfortable making a recommendation on such short notice.

The Plano Planning & Zoning Commission decided to table a vote to recommend repealing the city’s comprehensive development plan and replace it with the version that existed prior to Plano Tomorrow’s adoption in 2015. The commission’s vote is now scheduled for Aug. 19.

“You have asked us to come and vote on something that we have very little knowledge about,” Planning & Zoning chair John Muns said before accepting the motion to postpone the vote. “This has taken two years, and I don’t know what the hurry is right now.”

The vote had been scheduled three days earlier by council members Rick Smith and Anthony Ricciardelli.

Had the zoning commissioners held a vote to recommend the Plano Tomorrow repeal, the item would have gone immediately to the Plano City Council for a final vote during the July 22 joint meeting. But because the issue was tabled, the council did not have the option to consider the item, City Attorney Paige Mims said.

Absent from Monday’s meeting was Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere. Although he was not available for a phone interview earlier that day, LaRosiliere said in a text message that he was on a business trip that had been scheduled months ago. He added he was disappointed he did not have a chance to be part of the conversation on Plano Tomorrow.

“I am equally disappointed the choice was made to vote on such [an]  important decision in my absence,” LaRosiliere said.

Smith and Ricciardelli denied notions floated by some residents that they had scheduled the meeting because the mayor was out of town. They said they called the vote to repeal the plan because this was the date originally agreed upon as part of a July 10 mediation discussion between lawyers for the city and those for a group suing it.

Smith and Ricciardelli said the proposal to replace Plano Tomorrow with the city’s previous comprehensive plan, adopted first in 1986 and amended several times since, was not meant to be a permanent solution going forward. The repeal of Plano Tomorrow would bring about the end of the lawsuit, and then the city would have an opportunity to pursue an entirely new comprehensive plan, Ricciardelli said.

“The actual goal of this is to move on from litigation,” Ricciardelli said.

During the mediation discussion July 10, city officials said they would schedule a council meeting for July 22 to consider amending the plan if the group suing the city moved a court hearing that was scheduled to occur first.

But by the next week, the city staff pulled back its offer to hold the vote on a compromise plan, claiming that the group suing it planned to continue litigation. Attorney Jack Ternan disputed that his clients ever agreed to negotiate a compromise plan with city staff.

The compromise plan proposed by city staff would have reverted the city’s goals regarding land use to the pre-Plano Tomorrow standards while keeping the rest of the plan intact. This stands in contrast to the measure on the July 22 agenda, which would have simply replaced the entire Plano Tomorrow plan with the previous one.

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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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