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Planning and Zoning tables Plano Tomorrow sewage plant items



PLANO, TX – In its final meeting of 2020, the Plano Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously Monday night to table three agenda items proposed by the North Texas Municipal Water District as part of the Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan. Per the commission’s vote, the revised plans will be revisited on Feb. 15.

“We requested the item be moved to Feb. 15 so that we could incorporate some of the suggestions that the commission gave us on the Nov. 16 meeting,” said applicant Mark Simon, assistant deputy engineer of NTMWD, to the commission. “So we’re looking at moving the operations building within the site further away from the front, and trying to incorporate more visible screening along Los Rios [Boulevard].”

Under this request, NTMWD is seeking to expand the existing boundaries of its Rowlett Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility by the intersection of Los Rios and 14th Street in Plano, where a public park, private recreation facility, vacant land and single family residential zone encircle it. Officials are seeking to use this extended land to provide storage space for vehicles and equipment.

“With this request, the applicant is not proposing to expand the location of plant equipment, but to request zoning to accommodate the location of the existing equipment, and a new plant operations building located adjacent to Los Rios Blvd,” said Andrea Madison, lead planner of the project, in the Nov. 16 meeting. “This request will allow the site to continue to provide a vital service for residents and businesses within the city.”

Commissioners expressed many concerns with these zoning requests in this meeting, especially as it pertained to residents of nearby neighborhoods.

“My question really concerns in consideration from the public comments on [sewage] odor,” said Commissioner Richard Horne to Madison. ”Can we have an exception where if they do store trucks there, that the trucks don’t have ‘dry cake’ from the processing of the sludge that’s generated from the wastewater treatment plant?”

But perhaps the most outspoken critic, and the only commissioner to vote against tabling the items to the Monday meeting, was Commissioner Allan Samara, a famously ardent opponent of Plano Tomorrow. “Seems to me the problem we have here is that they want to put an operational building on the street, and it doesn’t belong on the street,” he said. “There’s a lot of problems here, and the problems were caused by the city council, perhaps inappropriately.”

He was especially critical of potential security and neighborhood concerns, especially as the latter pertained to odor and light pollution.

At the conclusion of the Nov. 16 meeting, Planning Director Christina Day pointed out that because public park land lies adjacent to this facility, a land exchange would have to be decided via ballot initiative, should such a transaction be formally proposed.