Although the Land Use Plan has many components, the multifamily housing cap has been a main topic of concern and discussion among residents, committee members and council members.
“What we as the city are after here, I think, are really two basic things,” Zimmerman said. “One, we want to attract additional business, and in order to do that we have to attract the people that are going to work at those businesses. The second part ... is the businesses subsidize the residential. The reason we've got a low tax rate is because, quite frankly, we've got the businesses to support that."
The Land Use Advisory Committee has been working on updating the Land Use Plan since its formation in 2013. The finalized plan went before the Planning and Zoning Commission Nov. 14, resulting in a recommendation that the multifamily housing cap be removed.
Zimmerman asked the Land Use Advisory Committee to take another look at the plan to address some components that seem to be missing, such as input from business owners and insight on change in the marketplace from the Urban Land Institute.
“We haven’t heard from the business community,” Zimmerman said. “I think that’s a significant component. We’ve all tried to determine what the business community wants—I think we [need to] just go ask them.”
Debby Coffman, Land Use Advisory Committee co-chair, said she thinks one major challenge Sugar Land faces when it comes to updating the Land Use Plan is the limited amount of space the city has left couples with rising land values.
“When we’re trying to attract the younger person, when we’re trying to perhaps have housing for our police officers and teachers, and then we turn and say to the developers [build] whatever is market-driven, and he says the only thing that’s market driven for me is a one bedroom unit at $1,500 a month, then I think we have to accept the fact that we might be at an impasse on being able to offer that,” Coffman said.
The next Sugar Land City Council meeting will be held Dec. 19. However, no deadline has been set for when the plan must be presented to council again.The Planning and Zoning Commission meets again Dec. 12.