You are going to see campaign promises to fight “greedy developers” who are “ruining Plano’s suburban lifestyle.” But here are some facts and realities to consider:
- Developers are business people who contribute to the community. Chances are, you live in a home built by a developer and you shop at retail centers built by developers.
- Are developers “greedy?” Depends on what you mean. Do they want to make money? Of course. Are they willing to do real harm to a community just to make a few bucks? Some are, but the best developers are in it for the long game. They know that if they build crummy homes, crappy retail centers, or boxy, unappealing apartments, their reputation will make it harder to get the next project approved.
- As a community, Plano needs to work with developers. That doesn’t mean giving them a free pass. That means putting them through their paces, setting clear expectations and holding them to high standards. Which, believe it or not, is exactly the reputation Plano has had for decades. Our Council is known for being tough but fair.
- I’ve talked with former Council members who confided they regretted a few developments that were allowed in the past. A few mistakes have been made. But claims that Plano City Council freely gave away “sweet deals” to developers are laughable. And claims that Council gave a free pass to developers because somebody got paid off are libelous.
- Keep in mind that most of the new developments in Plano going forward will be on land that has been zoned for commercial use for decades. Our options for telling developers/landowners what they can or cannot build are limited by laws to protect property rights. Telling a developer to “just build single family homes” on commercially-zoned property is called downzoning – you can’t do it unless the developer agrees. Also, much of this undeveloped land is at major intersections or near expressways; no one will buy a single-family home at the current going rates at these locations.
- I share all this as someone who has no monetary stake in any development in Plano.