While parts of Collin County’s largest city have exploded with new offices, restaurants and homes, portions of northeast Plano have remained quieter. That’s expected to change as more people move to Collin County and Plano prepares for additional growth.
For more than two hours Monday night, Plano’s city council debated The Envision Oak Point plan, a policy document that lays out guidelines for future development in a roughly one square mile area of Plano near the Plano Event Center and Collin College.
Shortly after midnight Tuesday, council members approved the Envision Oak Point plan by a vote of 6 to 2, with the two 'No' votes coming from council members Tom Harrison and Anthony Ricciardelli.
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"We know how to do this [plan for the future] and all we are doing, all this is is planning this out in a very thoughtful way to say, 'Here is what it could look like.' And we will fill in the pieces as it comes," Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere said, in support of the proposal, prior to calling for the vote.
This plan has had a difficult path this year as council members couldn’t come to a consensus on the overall vision, based on feedback from Plano residents. Some opposed the plan’s vision for more apartments and small lot homes.
“We actually moved from a very high density area of Texas to east Plano for that specific reason and we moved out of that because of the stress and the traffic got to be too much,” said Plano resident Amy Ratliff. “I don’t want to see that happen to the place that I call home.”
Ratliff also said she’s concerned a higher density in population would overcrowd schools and wants to see more discussion on plans for a new school, if needed.
“It’s a rural area, if you drive down Jupiter you get the feel it’s rural that’s why people move there and they’re going to take that away,” said Plano resident Joan Konkel.
But others said they’re excited about city planners’ vision for this section of Plano, a vision that would include more walkable mixed-use development.
“We really need affordable housing, we also need availability,” said Plano Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jamee Holly. “There’s not a lot of housing on the market right now. The plan has a good balance of both housing and development: retail and office. We feel that mix will be good for the overall vision of that area.”
The process to develop the Envision Oak Point plan began in late 2016 with public meetings and open houses.
“We say it’s a 20 to 30 year guide that will help establish a vision for Plano and give us direction for this specific area of town,” said Plano’s Director of Planning Christina Day.
“It’s to allow a greater consistency and really give the community more guidance and direction on what we want to see. This area of town has a diverse mix of land uses and that’s why the community felt like it needed more guidance in this part of town,” Day explained.
At Monday night’s city council meeting, a large group turned out to weigh in on the plan.
Even though this document lays out a plan for development, the council is not asked to vote on a zoning change. Future development would still have to go through the planning and zoning process.