Tuesday, June 3, 2014

As Richardson Goes, So Goes Plano

Wendy Hundley, of The Dallas Morning News, thinking about the news that Toyota would be building on a 100-acre site in the Legacy business park, notes that Plano's open land is almost gone.
Less than 8 percent of Plano's 72 square miles remains available for residential or commercial development. Of that 8 percent, 6.6 percent -- or 3,052 acres -- is earmarked for commercial development. A mere 1 percent -- or 428 acres -- is left for housing. Plano officials say that leaves plenty of room for business expansion, and future housing may take new forms to accommodate a population that will continue to grow. Buildout, to Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, simply means "a new phase of the city’s life."
Sound familiar? After the jump, more echoes of Richardson's experience.

More from Hundley's article:

Future population growth in Plano will depend on "denser, more urban-style residential development."

"Instead of McMansions, Plano's future housing could include more five- to 12-story high-rise buildings and mixed-use urban centers."

"Apart from new development, efforts are also focused on revitalizing aging retail areas and neighborhoods."

How Plano is evolving suggests that Richardson's earlier evolution in this same direction was not the result of a Richardson conspiracy. It's been happening or will happen everywhere. Open land is no longer free for the taking. The costs imposed by sprawl are no longer able to be ignored. The suburban frontier is closing.

Some Richardson residents resist those natural forces by opposing any rezoning that allows more urban, higher density development. Some in Richardson believe we are smartly adapting by supporting conventional apartment complexes and office towers. They believe we are promoting mixed-use, urban development as long as the new buildings are within sight of each other.

Time will tell how Plano manages this same trend. Plano could benefit from a study of Richardson's reaction and the mixed results we are seeing in our city.

Arguably, the trend goes all the way back to the closing of the American frontier in 1890. Not that I'm necessarily arguing that, but it does seem like it's a worthwhile thought exercise to connect the closing of the suburban frontier today with the closing of the American frontier in 1890.

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

"Developers have said they are hoping to develop [Plano's Haggard Farm] in a similar fashion to what is being built at City Line in Richardson." Déjà vu.