Rezoning of innovation district unanimously approved by Richardson City Council

Richardson innovation district map
The Collins-Arapaho Innovation District is a 1,200-acre area roughly contained by US 75, Campbell Road, Plano Road and Apollo Drive. (Courtesy city of Richardson)

The Collins-Arapaho Innovation District is a 1,200-acre area roughly contained by US 75, Campbell Road, Plano Road and Apollo Drive. (Courtesy city of Richardson)

Richardson City Council ratified a yearlong process Dec. 9 when it voted to approve the comprehensive rezoning of a 1,200-acre industrial area in Richardson.

The goal of the rezoning effort was to maximize redevelopment potential in the Collins-Arapaho Innovation District, an area east of US 75 where city leaders plan to create a thriving tech hub. Prior to this change, 90% of the district was zoned for industrial and office purposes, according to Planning Projects Manager Doug McDonald.

The yearlong process involved a great deal of interaction with area business owners, residents and other stakeholders, said Karen Walz, the Strategic Community Solutions consultant who oversaw community engagement. Through feedback collected at public events and presentations, online surveys and interviews with major property owners, consultants were able to honor the community’s vision for the area.

Rezoning was broken down into four sections characterized by their allowable uses under the new code. Those areas include the Duck Creek Subdistrict, the Greenville Avenue Subdistrict, the Dart Station Subdistrict and the Employment Subdistrict.

In each subdistrict, consultants proposed zoning changes that would make the areas more business friendly, livable, walkable and bikeable. New uses include restaurant, retail, residential, coworking, microbrewery, winery and commercial entertainment uses.

The Employment Subdistrict makes up the bulk of the area. The intent was to support existing businesses but also create an environment that will attract innovative companies and entrepreneurs, said Mark Bowers, the lead consultant with Kimley-Horne, the firm overseeing the rezoning process.

In certain subdistricts, residential development is allowed to support current and future businesses, Bowers said. Most of the residential uses permitted under the code are multifamily and dense in nature. Only in certain areas and with a special permit are single-family homes allowed.

The code also establishes allowable street types, building heights and setbacks, signage, and open space requirements. On some streets in the district, including Glenville Drive, Alma Road, East Collins Boulevard and Greenville Avenue, driving lanes have been reduced and bike lanes have been installed.

Now that the district has been approved for new types of uses, redevelopment can begin, McDonald said. That process is expected to last between five and 10 years, he said.
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


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