Carole L. Evans
PLANO HELD PUBLIC HEARING ON JULY 23, 2018 ON ENVISION OAK POINT
The July 23, 2018 Plano City Council meeting, which occasionally grew contentious, drew responses from over 30 citizens about the plan called Envision Oak Point, a renovation and revitalization plan for the northeast portion of Plano. The Oak Point area has needed this renovation for over 20 years, however the plan has been under development for two years. The possibility of high density housing in the now mostly rural area drew the most negative comments due to concerns over the risk of increased crime and reduction in quality of schools. Those in favor of the plan cited the plan’s vision for retail spaces, restaurants, parks, and other outside spaces catering to pedestrians and bikers. The City Council voted 6-2 in favor of the plan.
ENVISION OAK POINT PRESENTATION
Christina Day, Director of Planning, gave a presentation on the Envision Oak Point Plan (https://www.envisionoakpoint.com/), emphasizing that the plan is a visionary document for the 730 acres called Oak Point in northeast Plano. The plan “informs the evaluation of zoning requests, shapes infrastructure planning efforts, and communicates the city’s long-range vision for the area.” The plan “does not change zoning, does not permit specific types of development, does not determine the number or types of housing or jobs, and is not a site-specific development plan for the area,” Ms. Day stated in her report.
Approximately 30 citizens spoke re: Envision Oak Point.
Citizens in favor of the plan cited access to restaurants and shopping without having to leave their home area as positive aspects of the plan. The President and CEO of the Plano Chamber of Commerce, Jamee Jolly who represents 1,200 Plano businesses, said the Chamber supports the plan because of new economic opportunities and potential for job growth. Several citizens pointed out that Plano has been successful because of its thoughtful planning. East Plano has been the same for 20 years; it is time for renovation to take place. Property taxes are higher because of increased housing values due to Plano indicating a housing shortage. Adding new housing will help to stabilize this market.
The risk of high-density housing was mentioned the most often by those opposing the plan, followed by increased traffic. Those opposing the plan or requesting that the plan be tabled, mentioned topics they believe need to be further considered such as eliminating high-density housing (the risk of higher crime and reduction in quality of schools), including more solar energy, keeping the area rural and not suburban, adding an elementary school to include more green space, adding a farm for veterans, and developing a more comprehensive transit plan, etc.
Concerns about TIF (Tax Incremental Funding) being used to fund the project drew comments; that the project would be run by the Mayor and City Manager. Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Angela Miner, as a member of the TIF Committee, indicated that voting would take place for expenditures by the TIF Committee. If measures were passed, they would be presented to the City Council, who would vote as well.
Citizen Matt Dixon, who opposes the plan, was admonished by Mayor Harry LaRosilliere for using his allotted speaking time to insult another citizen. Mr. Dixon was allowed to continue to speak, but after calling the Mayor a derogatory name, was removed per the Mayor’s request. Mr. Dixon has been observed being antagonistic during prior City Council meetings.
Citizens called in re: Envision Oak Point: 43 opposed, 12 for
PUBLIC HEARING IS CLOSED; CITY COUNCIL DELIBERATES
Even though City Council members stepped away to meet in executive session, each City Council member publicly shared their thoughts about Envision Oak Point. In particular, Councilman Anthony Riccciadelli expressed his concern that there was too much community opposition to the plan primarily due to concerns regarding high density housing. However, other City Council members noted that the numbers of housing and types of housing are not dictated by the plan. The fact that there are no zoning changes was emphasized. Any change requests would be supported through the normal zoning request process. Mayor Pro Tem Ron Kelley emphasized that citizens want green spaces, shopping, and restaurants. The plan is a vision; the real fight will be on development plans later.
The plan was voted on and passed 6-2. Councilmen Anthony Ricciardelli and Tom Harrison cast the two opposing votes.
Several zoning cases were reviewed and voted upon, including one change to an area in Normandy Estates to build multifamily housing (condos) inside the single family gated community. Substantial public discussion took place; the City Council approved the change.
To view the full minutes of the Plano City Council Meeting of July 23, click here. https://www.plano.gov/1227/City-Council-Agendas
To view a recording of the meeting in its entirety, click here. http://tx-plano.civicplus.com/210/Plano-TV