On August 21, 2023, at 7:00 pm Planning and Zoning case 2023-013 will be presented to the Planning and Zoning Board. The request is to rezone 7.8 acres on the southeast corner of Municipal Avenue and 13th Street from Light Industrial-1 to Planned Development-Downtown Business/Government-1. This has to be one of the worst zoning changes we have ever seen at Plano’s Political Pit Bull.
This property is currently being used for industrial purposes. Its neighbors are a towing storage yard, an auto repair shop, and construction companies. The property is also next to railroad tracks. Clearly this is not a residential area.
The zoning change request wants to take this property and put 390 apartments, a five story parking garage, outdoor commercial amusement, indoor commercial amusement center, and a restaurant. If you are asking, what the hell is the developer thinking, you are not alone.
Lets talk about the obvious problem with this request first, the apartments. This is clearly not a property for people to live on. I would not put a jail here for fear of being accused of torture by noise. If you never lived by train tracks, you have no idea the amount of noise trains can make. I don’t live near train tracks, yet every once in awhile I can hear a train horn go off while I am in my house. My husband lived near train tracks when he was child. He still remembers the first time the train passed he thought it was an earthquake.
In the last zoning case (the Fry’s redevelopment) that came before the city council, councilman Rick Horne was doing research for it, and residents who live near route 190 complained more about the noise from the trains that pass by them than the noise from the highway. The future residents of the property in case 2023-013 will also have the added noise from the outdoor commercial amusement the developer wants to build. Unfortunately, I don’t know what kind of amusement the developer wants to create. I do know that there won’t be any motorized vehicles or activities; however, amusement of any kind will create noise.
Imagine living in an apartment on this property. You are sitting in your living-room reading a book or working on a report for your job. While you are trying to concentrate you hear kids yelling and trains zoom by. You go to look out your window and you have a view of a tow yard or other industrial properties. None of this makes for a tranquil home-life.
The next problem, there is not a lot within walking distance that the residents would want go to. The residents will probably not have a need to go to the roofing company, the A-1 Grass Sand & Stone, or Concrete Contractor near by. If the developers did not want to go far to buy construction materials, they picked the right property.
As for the rest of the project, the indoor amusement center and restaurant might work here. There are some residential homes about an eight minute walk or two minute drive from the property, so the center and restaurant would have a customer base near by. The restaurant will want to invest in sound proofing, as noise from the trains will make for poor ambiance. The outside amusement part of the project will depend on what the developer wants to create. Since the draft does not give any details on the matter, I really cannot comment on it.
The last comment I have about this zoning change is where is the government part? If you are going to change the zoning to Planned Development-Downtown Business/Government-1, I would think there would be some government buildings/offices as part of the project. I don’t see any in the draft.
In-conclusion, this zoning change is not right for the area. The only people who could tolerate living on this property would have to have a severe hearing impairment.
If you agree with my assessment of this zoning case please go to Current Land-based Zoning Cases on Plano's website (button for website is below) and oppose the request. Also, you can go to the Planning and Zoning meeting to comment on the case in person. The meeting is Monday August 21, 2023, Plano Municipal Center, 1520 K Ave, Senator Florence Shapiro Council Chambers.
This is Mary Lema for Plano’s Political Pit Bull signing off.