The Plano Planning and Zoning Commission moved to approve plans for an administrative office building March 15 at the North Texas Municipal Water District sewage treatment plant at Rowlett Creek.

The one-story office building adjacent to the Rowlett Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant along Los Rios Boulevard will house employees who have been operating out of an outdated operations building and temporary trailer, according to NTMWD representatives. The addition will not increase the amount of wastewater being treated at the plant or the footprint of the treatment process, the district shared.

In addition to office space, the building will also hold a a control room for the plant, a break room, a restroom, shower and locker facilities, and a conference and training room. There is also expected to be a small lab where some samples will be tested and prepared for transport; a severe-weather space; and updated heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Revised plans also followed previous commissioner recommendations to move the building farther east on the property to lessen the impact of the building on the street view and the addition of evergreens along the street.

Two agenda items, one for the expansion of the plant's specific-use permit to allow for the office building and another for the site plans, were passed by a majority of the commissioners. A number of residents came to speak against both items, largely with grievances about the plant itself, its operations and the impact on surrounding neighborhoods.

"Though I sympathize with the citizens and understand all their concerns, in my opinion, most of the concerns have no bearing on this particular case," Commissioner Rick Horne said. "These two projects in no way expand the wastewater treatment plant process itself, but rather the projects are intended to improve all aspects of the operations."

Zoning members encouraged residents to share their complaints about the operations of the plant with Plano City Council. The regional Environmental Protection Agency and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality are other possible forums for discussing complaints, Horne added.

The body did stop short of approving another request by the water district to rezone 11.4 acres located at the northeast corner of Los Rios Boulevard and 14th Street from agricultural use to neighborhood office. This request was made in anticipation of agricultural districts likely changing in the future to allow for full development of Plano, city staff said in a presentation. Commissioners asked that the item be tabled for a month before further consideration.

"I just feel like we need a little more time to understand the considerations here a little bit further before we say yes [or no]," said Commissioner Bob Gibbons, who made the motion to table the item.

These items were delayed three times from commissioner decisions and were originally placed on a planning and zoning agenda in the fall of 2020. The most recent delay was the cancellation of the planning and zoning commission meeting due to extreme weather the week of Feb. 15.