City repeals Plano Tomorrow plan after years of contentious debate on apartments

Among other things, the Plano Tomorrow plan guided the city's zoning decisions on the remaining tracts of undeveloped land. (Gavin Pugh/Community Impact Newspaper)
Among other things, the Plano Tomorrow plan guided the city's zoning decisions on the remaining tracts of undeveloped land. (Gavin Pugh/Community Impact Newspaper)

Among other things, the Plano Tomorrow plan guided the city's zoning decisions on the remaining tracts of undeveloped land. (Gavin Pugh/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city of Plano has repealed the Plano Tomorrow comprehensive development plan, the result of nearly a half decade of political and legal conflict over the document's provisions on development and density.

Plano City Council on Aug. 5 voted to repeal the plan and replace it with the prior comprehensive development guidelines that had been in place from 1986 through 2015, when Plano Tomorrow was adopted.

“We’re pleased that the city came around to listening to the will of an awful lot of people," said Allan Samara, a Plano planning and zoning commissioner and spokesperson for the Plano Citizens' Coalition. "We recognize it’s a divisive issue, and we want to cooperate to make the city a better place. We really mean that. We’re not dancing in the end zone here.”

Moving forward, the city's comprehensive plan review committee will work to arrive at a compromise on how the next plan will treat future apartment developments, Mayor Harry LaRosiliere said.

“We have a committee that’s obviously working really hard to find some common ground [so we can] put this all behind us,” said LaRosiliere, one of the plan's most vocal supporters over the years. “I’m actually very encouraged and optimistic that this is a good path for us.”


That committee’s work is expected to conclude later this year, city spokesperson Todd Rice said in a news release.

The road to this point was contentious, involving an anti-Plano Tomorrow petition, a lawsuit and a series of heated local elections that often centered on the topic of apartment density.

But in the end, the council was unanimous in its decision to repeal. Council members and zoning commissioners—even those who had previously opposed repeal efforts—expressed a desire for the city to move forward.

Had the council not agreed to repeal the plan, it would have been required to submit Plano Tomorrow to a citywide vote, extending the uncertainty over its future and allowing it to be the main topic of yet another local election.

The Fifth District Court of Appeals on July 22 had ordered the city secretary to present a 2015 repeal petition to the council. The city had previously declined to submit the petition, arguing the plan was inseparable from the city’s zoning ordinances, and that the process that produced it could not be replicated at the ballot box.

But after the appeals court’s decision, the city was left with few options to further fight the repeal efforts. Council members on Aug. 2 announced they did not intend to appeal the July 22 ruling.

"My clients and I are pleased that city officials finally complied with the City Charter," attorney Jack Ternan said in a statement.

John Muns, Plano Planning and Zoning Commission chair, spoke highly of the work that city officials put into Plano Tomorrow.

“It wasn’t in vain,” Muns said. “We’ll come out on the other side with a good plan and one that we can all be happy to have.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include comments from the Plano Citizens' Coalition.


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