Allen’s Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed more than 60 projects last year – a 40% jump since 2013.
The commission holds public hearings and makes recommendations on zoning changes, specific-use permits, development plans and other planning-related matters. Chairperson Jeff Cocking describes the committee as a sort of “dry run” before residents or developers present their cases to Allen City Council.
“It gives us a chance to air out things, to get things out in the open,” said Cocking during the City Council meeting on July 24.
The Planning and Zoning Commission examined 61 cases in 2016. For the first time in recent years, more than 60% of cases dealt with commercial development.
“It becomes more challenging as we work with developers trying to get a return on land that’s getting much more expensive,” said Cocking. “But we don’t [want to] negatively impact residents who live there today.”
Most of the 2016 projects were located along Allen’s central corridor: the area around US-75 between Watters Road and Greenville Avenue. This includes the new Millennium Office Park, Compass Data Center and Allen Premium Outlet Mall expansion. Cocking acknowledged the challenges of tackling “infill development,” a term used for projects built within an already-developed area.
“Now when we do cases, there’s something on all four sides,” said Cocking. “Somebody has an opinion on whether they like it or don’t like it.”
The commission also reviewed updates to Allen’s Capital Improvement Plan, reconfigured the floodplain for a portion of Ridgeview Villas, and recommended amendments to the Allen Land Development Code. This included an amendment to reduce regulations on solar panel installation—an issue initiated by solar advocates and Allen residents.
The Allen Planning and Zoning Commission meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Meeting agendas are posted 72 hours prior to meetings on the city meeting calendar; you can sign up for meeting notices through NotifyMe. Meeting coverage is also available on Allen City Television, both on local cable channels and at AllenNews.org.