Putting the Comprehensive Plan in Plano, Texas
"There is a battle raging in Plano, a healthy and necessary one, as the suburban city moves forward with its new comprehensive plan," reports Peter Simek, before providing commentary on the political debate that surrounded the Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan process.
According to Simek, hundreds of residents showed up the council hearing to oppose the plan. Why? "The new plan sets an ambitious course for a more urban future in the community that, through the 1980s and 1990s, served as DFW’s archetypal suburban community. The new land use proposals still call for reserving a little over 50 percent of Plano’s land for suburban neighborhoods. But the city that is running out of vacant land also hopes to add a lot of dense, mixed-use infill development."
Simek goes on to focus on a few of what he considers to be smart details found in the plan, including its focus on community design (i.e., "laying out acceptable block sizes and street lengths, offering guidelines that discourage surface lots and encourage parking to be placed behind new developments, presenting architectural requirements, and putting forth all the increasingly standard urban design criteria which attempt to encourage more walkable, human-scaled development"). The plan is also laudable, according to Simek, for its focus on how to implement the vision put forth by the comprehensive plan.
For more on the political process, and outcry of opposition, leading to the approval of the plan, see reporting by Kristen Taketa for The Dallas Morning News.