Officials delay vote on Plano Tomorrow growth plan

Officials in Plano delayed taking action on a plan for growth and development in the city that has generated controversy among some citizens.

The planning and zoning commission on Monday decided to table the vote on Plano Tomorrow, meaning the council couldn’t vote on whether to repeal the plan. Officials said they opted for the delay to get more time to understand the ramifications of such a big decision.

People who filled the council chambers said the issue boils down to people who want to see Plano remain the suburban, bedroom community they moved to 20 to 30 years ago or people who support the kind of growth and evolution of the city that has supported Plano’s tax base.

“It’s our feeling that it represents our city’s needs, not just for our citizens but for our businesses, which represent 51% of the city’s tax base,” said plan supporter Steven Lavine. “The ship for suburban bedroom community sailed years ago.”

Plano Tomorrow, a comprehensive plan for the city, was developed over more than two years and approved by council in 2015. The city manager mentioned Monday night, to much applause, that the plan even won a national city planning award.

But in 2016, a group of residents filed a petition with more than 4,000 signatures, asking for the plan to be put to a vote.

The original petitioner said Monday he’s still concerned the plan would result in higher density, multi-family housing -- as in more apartment complexes.

“We think it changes the suburban character of Plano into more urban,” said Allan Samara. “We don’t think the people of Plano wanted it.”

The petition resulted in a lawsuit that has played out over the past three and a half years, and led to the public hearing Monday night.

Planning and zoning could have allowed council to vote whether to repeal Plano Tomorrow and revert back to the former plan, adopted in 1986 -- but chose to table that decision. They have to bring the plan to council for a vote, so it’s up to the commission whether to do that again soon.

Planning and zoning is scheduled to discuss Plano Tomorrow again on August 19.