15th Street in Downtown Plano

The City Council approved amendments to the downtown zoning ordinance removing the 100-unit density cap and replacing it with regulations on dwelling unit size and designation.

The rich history of downtown Plano reaches back over the centuries to when the area was mostly a rural farming community. However, not far back in recent memory, the area was not the hub of social and economic growth that it is today.

In October, business and property owners in the downtown district came together to create a public improvement district (PID) to expand and capitalize on the revitalization taking place. After approving the request, the City Council OK’d the PID Advisory Board’s plan to allocate its funds on Monday.

“Creation of a public improvement district is a multipart process, and I guess this is the middle part of the process,” Phyllis Jarrell, Plano’s director of special projects, said at the meeting.

With the creation of the PID, business and property owners will pay an additional $0.15 per $100 of assessed taxable value of their individual properties based on 2014 assessment values in an effort to create revenue to be used for hosting events, increasing security in the area and marketing, among other things. The PID will go through a three-year trial period and is expected to generate about $137,000 in its first year. City, school district and other tax exempt entities will not have to pay the increase, and the multifamily developments will be capped at $25,000 each year, per project.

The distribution of the PID’s funds will be overseen by the PID Advisory Board, which consists of a three-member executive committee comprised of the district’s property owners with the largest assessed value. Five other members will be elected to the advisory board by the executive committee. 

“We literally focused on 2015, the first year, and then just pro rata put the numbers in place for the next five years of the plan. We’ll be back this time next year to review this and probably change the categories somewhat and the numbers in the categories somewhat as we look at the 2015 results,” Bonnie Shea, owner of Urban Rio and chairwoman of the PID’s executive committee, said at the meeting.

While the PID will have a three-year trial period, state law requires the advisory board to create a five-year plan for funding. In its service plan, the board will allocate the largest portions of funding to marketing and advertising, beautification, security and management costs related to coordination and administration of the PID. The budget also includes an annual $10,000 to the city for administration services. As the annual income for the district is expected to increase to about $188,000 in its third year, the board plans to keep funding for each area of the service plan similar in percentage terms.

“Marketing and advertising is definitely one of the biggest allocated [areas] for the year and would include ... anything we could think of to drive traffic to downtown Plano,” Shea said.

Since approval is required by the City Council for all of the advisory board’s expenditures totaling more than $5,000 and approval of the council is required to levy the special assessments for the properties within the district, a public hearing is expected to be held on Dec. 8 to hear any objections to the assessment.

Upon final approval, the new assessments will take effect in 2015. After three years, property owners can either request to extend or dissolve the district.

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