City abandons legal effort to preserve Plano Tomorrow plan, sets date for repeal vote

city skyline behind house
The city of Plano will end a nearly five-year legal battle to preserve its comprehensive development plan. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city of Plano will end a nearly five-year legal battle to preserve its comprehensive development plan. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city of Plano will end a nearly five-year legal battle to preserve its comprehensive development plan.

After an hours-long executive session on Aug. 2, Plano City Council agreed to schedule a meeting for Aug. 5 to consider repealing the Plano Tomorrow plan and replacing it with the guidelines that preceded it from 1986 to 2015.

Council members also asked the city secretary to present them with the 2015 citizens petition that had been at the core of the lawsuit.

“We are pleased that the City Secretary is finally going to do her duty,” attorney Jack Ternan said in a statement. “Citizens can beat city hall.”

Ternan represented a group of Plano residents unhappy with the extent to which the plan allowed for dense apartment developments. They had petitioned the city to either repeal the plan or submit it to a citywide vote. The city staff declined to present the petition to the council, arguing in part that the process by which the city is legally obligated to pass its comprehensive plan could not be replicated at the ballot box.

The Fifth District Court of Appeals on July 22 disagreed with the city’s legal arguments, ordering the city secretary to submit the plan to council within 14 days of its ruling.

The comprehensive plan guides city staff recommendations on proposed projects and signals to developers what types of uses could receive approval.

Now that the city has decided not to appeal the decision, it must also decide how to proceed with its ongoing review process for its comprehensive plan, city spokesperson Steve Stoler said.

A special committee has been discussing potential amendments to Plano Tomorrow for months, and its work could continue as the city transitions from the 1986 plan to whatever comes next, Stoler said.

Plano City Council is expected to provide direction to this committee at its Aug. 10 meeting, Stoler said.


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