A multifamily community meant to bring affordable housing to Plano received initial approval Feb. 1 from the Plano Planning and Zoning Commission.
City of Plano staff requested a zoning change for 5.3 acres of land on the north side of Park Boulevard, just west of K Avenue, and presented a concept plan from the Plano Housing Authority for a 4.4-acre multifamily residence community on the land.
Plans show a community with up to 226 apartments, made up of a mixture of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Forty-seven units will be open to any renter, while 179 units will be restricted to workforce households at 60% of the area median income, or approximately $60,000 maximum gross income.
The building is expected to be a total of five stories in height, with four stories above ground-floor parking, plans said. Residents also would have access to a pool and open green space in the form of a pedestrian "Art Park," city staff said. There will also be a ride-hailing lane incorporated into the design, targeted for use of rider-hailing and delivery services, MVAH Partners shared in a letter to the commission.
The city of Plano acquired the property in 2002 before a former development was razed and a majority of the property was left vacant. This property and concept meets the infill housing utilization standards for Plano Housing Authority and, with zoning change approval, is available for tax credits from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and a possible bond allocation from the Texas Bond Review Board, the letter said.
The project was presented with an alternative concept plan because the city's housing authority has plans to incorporate the parcel land in the corner of the property where a Rent-A-Tire currently sits. The city has already signed an agreement with the parcel's property owner, although the land will not be fully acquired until closing. If the city were to not ultimately close on the parcel, the project would instead move forward as a 169-apartment complex, with space saved for the pool and green space.
"There have been a lot of different things placed in as safeguards to make sure that the entire project is delivered with an open space because we know it's an important piece again to the city of Plano," project representative Kirk Paisley said.
The entire front edge of the property would also be reserved for green space, and the building would follow architectural design standards that would meet community expectations, city staff shared during the Feb. 1 presentation. Wide sidewalks and landscaping would also be utilized in this project.
The project plan and zoning changes for the land were approved with the addition of language asking for a review of the safety barriers on the western part of the property, where the Dallas Area Rapid Transit line runs.
The zoning change faced some challenge by commissioners, passing with a vote of 5-3. Some said that the land might be better suited for a development magnet project, while others said they felt that the land might be too isolated for residential use based on the city's comprehensive plan. Still others felt that an isolated piece of land serves as a prime location for housing that might otherwise be the subject of disagreement in neighboring residential areas.
"There's always been this, 'We need more affordable housing in the city,'" Commissioner David Downs said. "So my question is, if we want more affordable housing, isn't it likely that we're going to have to make an exception in order to provide that in an area where somebody is not willing to stand up and say, 'Not in my backyard?'"
The concept plan, which was contingent to approval of the zoning change, was approved by a vote of 7-1.
If and when changes are made to the additional parcel of land, a revised concept plan will be brought before the zoning body. The project will also require approval from Plano City Council at a later date.