Plano Star-courier > News
City Council approves West Plano Village amendments.
By Lynn Proctor Windle, Staff Writer
Voting 7-1, the Plano City Council approved a developer’s request to amend plans for West Plano Village located at the northwest corner of Parker Road and Parkwood Boulevard.
The vote came after grilling from some council members about why the development should receive exceptions to some city landscaping ordinances and other zoning guidelines.
The most significant changes to the 15-acre site plan move taller buildings closer to the street and reduce the amount of landscaping between the development and roadways.
Reducing landscaping barriers along the Dallas North Tollway raised the most concern from the council. The developer, Cencor Realty Group, asked that the ordinance-imposed barrier be reduced from 30 feet to 10 feet.
Planning director Phyllis Jarrell said the landscaping requirement is designed preserve the uniform appearance of developments along the tollway.
Councilman Shep Stahel asked for the removal of more than 80 parking spaces in order to maintain the barrier. He pointed out that the city “worked hard” to create consistency along the toll road.
“Going from 30 feet to 10 feet is quiet a stretch,” he said.
Councilwoman Loretta Ellerbe expressed similar concerns. “I like the project, but it gives me heartburn going from 30 feet to 10 feet.”
David Palmer defended the changes saying, “This is a different project. This kind of project didn’t exist in suburban areas 10-12 years ago.” The relatively small, irregular shape of the plot is the driver behind the changes, he said.
Palmer is executive vice president of Cencor’s Dallas Development Group who is working with the Haggard family of Plano to build this project
By reducing the exterior landscaping, interior sidewalks increase from 10 feet wide to 22 feet wide, which promote more outdoor pedestrian activity. Palmer noted that the project would retain the 30 foot-wide landscaping at entrances and other transition points.
“To maintain the wide buffer, you have to take the space from somewhere else,” Palmer said.
Stahel offered up several compromises including maintaining the buffer at 20 feet or constructing parallel parking instead of head-in parking.
Palmer said that customers tend to dislike parallel parking. They typically like to park in front of the store they are visiting, a sentiment Mayor Pat Evans echoed.
Palmer added that restaurants, which will dominate the space, generally require more parking than retail. EatZi’s Market & Bakery, a main tenant, requires at least 200 close-in spaces, he said.
Councilman Lee Dunlap praised the developer for previous projects, but said the site is not unique. He raised doubts about parking and trash receptacles facing the tollway.
Palmer said trash receptacles have been replaced by trash compactors and would be screened from view by metal doors.
With the addition of two additional floors to the hotel and an extra ring of condominiums, the development also oversteps required setbacks.
Palmer said that from preliminary discussions with major hotel chains, the development group discovered that the project required at least eight stories, instead of six, to attract any interest.
The preliminary site plan called for four building heights: 30 feet, 52 feet, 70 feet and 120 feet. According to regulations, the setbacks for those buildings should be 50 feet, 71 feet, 125 feet and 275 feet from the property line. Under the proposed changes, set backs would be decreased to 50 feet, 65 feet and 215 feet from the property line.
Graduated height slope setbacks for building and parking garages reduce the line of sight from commercial developments into residential properties. An apartment complex is located east of the project across Parkwood Boulevard.
Councilman Harry LaRosiliere questioned where the caution about building heights is necessary since the residences across the street are apartments.
Jarrell said city ordinances do not distinguish between single and multi-family dwellings.
Stahel asked whether similar exceptions have been made elsewhere within the tollway overlay.
“None that I’m aware of,” Jarrell said.
Palmer said a vegetation screen would shield the apartment complex from parking garage lights.
So far, no deal has been made for a hotel tenant, Palmer said. If the project finds no takers, the hotel space will be converted to office uses.
The project is scheduled to break ground this fall and will be completed in 2009.
LaRosiliere moved to accept the changes. Stahel then asked for an amendment to maintain at least a 25-foot buffer. His amendment was rejected. The motion carried with Stahel casting the lone dissenting vote.
Contact Lynn Proctor Windle at email@example.com.
Copyright © 2013 - Star Local News