The City of Plano is changing its zoning ordinances to fit its comprehensive plan adopted Nov. 8, 2021.
Plano’s 2021 comprehensive plan looks at the transition of Plano to a mature, built-out community and focuses on ensuring a quality of life over the next 20 to 30 years.
At a Monday Planning and Zoning meeting, Senior Planner Jordan Rockerbie presented four staff recommended changes to the commission.
The first change is categorizing independent living retirement communities as a multifamily development.
According to Rockerbie, retirement communities do not have a single defined land use, though all are categorized as nonresidential. While assisted care, long-term care and continuing care facilities are categorized as institutional, independent living communities did not fit the same criteria as the others. Independent living communities operated most like multifamily developments and made most sense to align with multifamily zoning ordinances, Rockerbie said.
The second change revolved around where multifamily could be developed.
The zoning ordinance regulates multifamily residence and mid-rise residential. The primary difference between these two uses is that mid-rise residential must be a minimum of five floors, whereas multifamily residences are not defined by height. Both uses must include a minimum of three dwelling units and, in some zoning districts, may include nonresidential uses on the ground floor, according to the zoning ordinance.
City staff recommended multifamily residence and mid-rise residential developments to no longer be allowed by a special-use permit in commercial employment districts, as they overlap with employment centers, where multifamily is not recommended.
The new comprehensive plan also includes a cap on the number of multifamily dwelling units that may be constructed in central business and commercial employment zoning districts by right. This cap is intended to apply across the Legacy area, and not on a project-by-project basis, according to a presentation by Rockerbie.
This cap has been reached by existing developments, Rockerbie said. Because of this, any additional multifamily uses in either district would be required to obtain a specific-use permit. To streamline the development review process, staff recommended removing the cap and allowing existing, currently permitted residential uses to remain.
The third item focused on development along the US-75 corridor — one of Plano’s oldest and most-used corridors — according to Rockerbie.
Future development in the US-75 corridor is expected to include a mix of retail, service, office, restaurant, medical, hotel, and technology-based uses.
Limited residential uses are expected to replace underperforming commercial sites.
Around 95% of the land located within the US-75 corridor is zoned corridor commercial, which does not allow for new residential land uses, except for retirement housing by a special use permit.
Currently, 10.7% of the US-75 corridor is housing. Rockerbie told the Planning and Zoning commission that staff recommends allowing residential land uses by a special use permit to allow the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council to ensure proposed residential uses are appropriate for the corridor.
Lastly, Rockerbie guided the commission through proposed changes regarding single family homes in a residential zoning district.
City Council had previously identified four-corner retail and more affordable housing as upcoming strategic goals, according to Rockerbie.
Retail zoning districts currently permit single family development in the form of duplexes, detached units and patio homes. Retail districts typically align with neighborhood and community corners, Rockerbie said. Both categories encourage new single-family residential uses to revitalize shopping centers. City staff recommends continuing to allow these residential units by right with the adoption of the 2021 Comprehensive Plan.
The Planning and Zoning commission voted unanimously to hold a public hearing to adopt these recommended zoning changes. A date was not disclosed at the meeting.