Richardson's Comprehensive Land Use Plan is getting long in the tooth. It was last updated in 2009. That was another era. It was two years before the last segment of the Bush Turnpike opened. The City Manager was Bill Keffler. The mayor was someone named Steve Mitchell. Remember that? No one on the City Council at the time still serves. It's time for a new generation of leaders to put their own stamp on the planning document for Richardson in the 2020s and beyond.
Richardson's zoning ordinances are in need of a scrubbing as well. Rules and regulations for parking minimums, drive-thrus, sidewalk and patio dining, duplexes, four-plexes, accessory dwelling units, home offices, home businesses, short-term rentals, and on and on, are out of date and holding back Richardson's progress.
Also in need of review is Richardson's use of tax incentives, including TIFs for developers and home improvement tax incentives for homeowners. Have we done a study on the payback, if any, of these? Remember, we're still on the hook for tax breaks for future development at Palisades. Was that a good deal for the City?
I won't get ahead of things by beginning to talk about any specific reforms I'd like to see. There's time for getting down in the weeds later. For now, all that's needed is for the 2021-2023 City Council to set a goal for Richardson to review and update our planning documents to reflect the needs of today.
Additional subjects for the goals on my wishlist:
- Affordable housing (if you work or attend school in Richardson, you ought to be able to live in Richardson
- Diversity on boards and commissions
- Urban planning expertise on City Plan Commission
- Urban planning for climate change
- Policing reform
- Switching to single-member electoral districts