As Allen inches toward the build-out point, the work of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission has shifted. During the commission’s annual report to City Council on March 22, chairman Jeff Cocking shared some of the major trends the commission noticed this year.
1. Instead of growing out, Allen is filling in.
“Almost everything we’ve done this year has been to the west of Greenville and to the east of Alma. It’s really in the central part of our town,” Cocking said during the presentation. This “infill development” is accompanied by unique challenges, noted Cocking, including the concerns of neighboring land owners. “When you’ve got property owners whose largest investment of their life is impacted, you get a lot more vocal voices, a lot more concerns.”
2. Commercial growth is surging as residential building slows.
“Traditionally our city…has had a long list of residential [final plats]. But you’re starting to see the commercial kick in,” said Cocking, calling attention to a PowerPoint slide listing final plats approved in 2015. The residential column listed nine projects, while the commercial projects numbered more than a dozen. “Our residential land is slowly shrinking as we build out.”
3. City is seeing fewer rezoning cases, more final plats….for now.
Zoning cases—the first step in many developments—are down nearly 40% from 2012. However, final plats have reached their highest level in the last five years. “We’re seeing property that has been zoned, it’s been sitting there, a lot of it is beginning to move toward construction.” Final plats include Twin Creeks Marketplace (at the corner of Stacy and Watters Road) and Allen Station Business Park (at the corner of Exchange and Allen Station Parkway). Though zoning cases may be down for now, they could easily surge again based on economic factors or increased development interest, especially along the State Highway 121 corridor.
The Planning and Zoning Commission consists of seven members appointed by Allen City Council. The commission examines rezoning requests, development plans and other planning-related matters and makes recommendations to City Council. The commission meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month at Allen City Hall (305 Century Parkway). Current meeting agendas are posted 72 hours prior to meetings. The meetings are open to the public.