It will take a zoning change to build residences in Richardson's crown jewel of "mixed-use" development, CityLine. OK, maybe the tract in question is not officially part of CityLine (the boundaries are kind of vague). The tract could be called CityLine Southeast. Or Somewhere Close But Technically Just Outside CityLine. In any case, it's a 2.44 acre tract within all that ongoing development between Renner Rd and the Bush Tollway. And the current zoning doesn't allow people to live there. So much for mixed-use.
Here's the city staff report on the tract in question:
The key sentence is, "All residential uses were concentrated in the NW quadrant in the area subsequently rezoned as CityLine East." That's not what I remember being enthused about at the time. Then it was all about this massive mixed-use development. Restaurants. Retail. Entertainment. Offices. Hotels. Parks. Plazas. Apartments. Urban-style homes.In 2012, approximately 147 acres (bounded by Renner Road to the south, Plano Road to the west, PGBT to the north and Wyndham Lane to the east) was rezoned to PD Planned Development to accommodate a mix of uses, including retail, restaurant, office, and residential uses. All residential uses were concentrated in the NW quadrant in the area subsequently rezoned as CityLine East. Residential uses of any kind are not presently allowed elsewhere in PD.
Source: City of Richardson.
I naively assumed that the term mixed-use, when applied to the whole, actually meant that the buildings themselves would be mixed-use. And that it would apply to the whole 147 acres. Instead, we ended up with something that looks a lot what would result from traditional Euclidean zoning, with the Standard at CityLine apartments segregated off in the southwest, the Raytheon campus in the northeast, Whole Foods and CVS and some fast food restaurants stretching along Renner Rd in the southeast, etc. Nothing mixed-use at all in any of that. Nothing anyone is likely to be walking to. (To be fair, there are some restaurants on the ground floor of one of the State Farm office buildings way off in the northwest, in the part of this massive development that is technically called CityLine. I guess. w00t.)
The lack of housing is confirmed in this staff report that admits that "All residential uses were concentrated in the NW quadrant in the area subsequently rezoned as CityLine East. Residential uses of any kind are not presently allowed elsewhere in PD."
The staff report reveals that the subject site, tucked back behind CVS, isn't conducive to additional retail development. And that's why a zoning change is needed -- to build 32 single-family, detached homes in back of a CVS.
The staff report concludes, "As proposed, the development represents a residential enclave with walkable access to retail and recreational areas." "Enclave" in no way sounds like a mixed-use, residential community. "Enclave" sounds more like "compound." Thirty two homes is barely enough of a critical mass to establish a neighborhood, much less a community.
But OK. Water over the dam. There's so much dirt flying and walls going up, so much construction already built that I don't think what I'll call Greater CityLine (my new term for the whole misbegotten development) can ever be salvaged as a mixed-use urban community. So what am I to make of this latest zoning change request?
Go ahead, Richardson. Approve the rezoning request. Let's build some houses and hope the developer can unload them to squeeze some money out of this leftover piece of land. We'll get at least a few people living near all that retail. At least those 32 houses are kind of within walking distance of a Whole Foods. Except that there will certainly be a wall around the compound, blocking access to the stores. You can always drive.