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Subdivision near Plano PD gun range approved
One of the newest subdivisions in southeast Plano will be built less than a quarter mile from the Plano Police Department's gun range, but the developer said he believes the homes will still be attractive to buyers.
The 73-home neighborhood will be located on the south side of 14th Street, east of the intersection with Plano Parkway. The development cleared its final hurdle Monday, when the Plano City Council voted 8-0 to overrule a decision by the planning and zoning commission denying the request.
Rick Fambro, president of Fairway Group Real Estate, the company marketing the property, said recent improvements to the gun range including foam walls that have greatly reduced the amount of noise the range emits.
"I tried marketing this property back six or seven years ago to a couple of production volume builder developers," Fambro said. "I took them out on the site in my car. We sat out there at a time when they were shooting and it sounded like a third-world country. ... With the new range and technology ... you can hear it, but it is nothing like it used to be."
Don Plunk of Henry S. Miller, the project's developers, said builders have a variety of tools at their disposal to lessen the outside noise inside residences. He said insulated, double-pane windows will be used, as well as additional insulation between the brick and framing of the house. The subdivision is bordered railroad tracks to south, so similar techniques will be used to lessen the sound from trains, Plunk said.
"The sound attenuation can be done with reasonable cost," he said. "The expectation is that those units that have the extra insulation would be in cost of something less than $2,000 per unit."
City Planning Manager Tina Firgens said city staff did not support the development for a number of reasons. She specifically cited public safety response time, the lack of neighborhood parks in the area and the fact that the development did not correspond to the city's future land use plan.
The proximity to the gun range worried City Manager Bruce Glasscock, who said it could become an issue in the future.
"We continue to have concerns as encroachment of residential areas is allowed around that range," Glasscock said. "[We fear] that at some point in the future coming before this council will be that range and the nuisance that it is creating for those residents."
Fully enclosing the range will cost about $1 million, Glasscock said, adding that moving the range to another location will also be very expensive. He said even with additional insulation, people in their backyards would still be able to hear gun fire.
Councilman Pat Miner said builders should use signage and brochures to educate potential buyers about the gun range, which could potentially decrease future complaints. Plunk said that should not be an issue, and the information will be included in the marketing materials.
Prior to the council's vote, the property was part of the city's Research Technology District, which placed limitations on its development. Fambro said the zoning change was necessary for any development to occur, saying in the eight years his company has marketed the property, he has not had any serious offers from developers hoping to utilize the RT zoning.
"This has been the biggest challenge we have taken on in the entire 34 years I have been in the brokerage business in Plano," he said. "... This is not in the core RT district, whatsoever. ... In my opinion, this property should have never been zoned RT from the very beginning."
Prior to the council's vote, several council members expressed concerns about the challenges of developing the property.
"There is a lot of residential around there and I hate to see a landowner not be able to sell their property, since I do believe in landowners' rights," Councilman Jim Duggan said. "This particular piece of property, I do agree with Mr. Fambro, that with its topography and location, you are not going to get RT here. ... If you don't approve it tonight, I think it is going to sit there as vacant land for a long, long time."
Miner agreed, saying he has driven the land several times recently and doesn't see a problem with the land being developed for single family residences.
The council also instructed city staff to meet with adjacent landowners to find out whether they wished the change the zoning on their property, or remain as is.