The decision came during the Sept. 13 council meeting following presentations from both the Plano Comprehensive Plan Review Committee, and the Plano Planning & Zoning Commission.
The plan is a long-term guide for the city that focuses on future growth, priorities, services and development in Plano, according to its official description. Currently, city officials follow guidelines from the Interim Comprehensive Plan that was approved in 1986.
Officials said the plan is 99% agreed upon by both the commission and the committee, but discussions have slowed due to a disagreement over one statement in the draft.
The sentence recommends council adopt a policy that says any time a zoning request is approved that does not conform to the comprehensive plan, the city must publicly announce the reasons behind that decision.
Nathan Barbera, chair of the planning and zoning commission, said the plan is meant to be a guide and not a legal document, so it is not appropriate to include a policy recommendation.
“We do not believe [the plan] is where that belongs,” Barbera said. “We are literally one sentence away from this plan being agreed upon.”
Doug Shockey, chair of the Plano Comprehensive Plan Review Committee, said the committee believes the plan must be transparent, and the policy helps achieve that goal.
“A difference of opinion between [planning and zoning] and the [review committee] has the potential to derail the [plan’s] success,” Shockey told council. “We remain optimistic.”
To keep the draft moving forward, council members instructed the review committee to remove that sentence from the draft. Instead, they said they will approve the policy as a city mandate during the upcoming meeting.
“We need to come to an end; we need to adopt something, and we need to do it right away, so that we can move on,” Council Member Maria Tu said.
Once known as Plano Tomorrow, the draft comprehensive plan was rejected by City Council last summer after nearly half a decade of political and legal conflict. The disagreements mainly centered on guidelines for apartment development and density.
Council then mandated the formation of the 16-member Plano Comprehensive Plan Review Committee, charged with making revisions to the Plano Tomorrow plan.
“This is not about creating a plan, this is about bringing all of our city back together again,” Michael Bronsky, vice chair of the committee, said during the Sept. 13 meeting.
All changes to the draft must be approved by three-fourths of the committee prior to review by the Plano Planning & Zoning Commission.
Once complete, the plan will be reviewed at a Plano Comprehensive Plan Review Committee public hearing before it proceeds to City Council for final approval.