Sugar Land City Council approved an update to the city’s Land Use Plan on Aug. 7 after a five-year public process led by a citizen Land Use Advisory Committee.
The plan includes goals and policies that focus on ways the city can develop and redevelop to remain a desirable place to live and do business. All of the goals of the Land Use Plan will work together to guide development and redevelopment decisions with the intent of preserving the city’s single-family residential neighborhoods and ensuring Sugar Land continues to be a premier place to live, work, shop and play in the region.
The Land Use Plan, also known as Chapter 6 of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, outlines policy direction and guidance for land-use decisions; establishes a vision for land use; and identifies an action plan of projects to accomplish the land-use vision and goals. The 10 main goals of the plan include the following items:
• Preserving single-family neighborhoods
• Creating mixed-use activity centers
• Encouraging residential options
• A great place for business
• Amenities for all
• Inviting outdoor spaces
• Connected land uses
• Balanced growth
• Fostering redevelopment
• Celebrate Sugar Land
Residents serving on the Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC) sought extensive input from the community during the process that guided work to update the plan. Public participation opportunities included public meetings, online town halls, an educational forum series and more.
“A commitment to public involvement and committee education efforts was at the center of the Land Use Plan Update in order to ensure this plan helps the city thoughtfully plan for its future,” said Debby Coffman, LUAC co-chair. “Throughout the entire process, citizen feedback and input had a strong influence on the recommendations in the plan. LUAC considered a variety of feedback in order to develop the guidance and recommendations in the plan, and we are pleased that the plan represents the citizens’ voice for how we want our community to positively and proactively approach long-term land use decisions.”
Earlier this year, City Council asked LUAC to seek additional input on the topic of multi-family housing. LUAC completed the additional work and concluded that their original multi-family recommendations made in the plan were appropriate.
LUAC’s final recommendation included maintaining their recommended proportion of single-family to multi-family (88 percent to 12 percent, respectively) and clarifying the ratio is the community’s vision today and in the foreseeable future. A definitive statement that no new stand-alone, single-use, multi-family residential development within the city should be approved is also included.
To ensure the intent of LUAC’s recommendations is clearly interpreted – preserve single-family residential neighborhoods and Sugar Land’s recognition as a premier place to live, work, shop and play – LUAC supported the clarification of language throughout the plan to reduce the opportunity for their intent to be misinterpreted and lead to unintended negative consequences.
These modifications also include recommended additions to guide and encourage future public input and review by both the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council if an exceptional development proposal is brought forward that is in accordance with the spirit of the plan but may deviate from the specific guidance established in the plan.
“I truly appreciate the time and extra-effort the Land Use Advisory Committee has dedicated over the last five years to developing this important plan,” said Mayor Joe R. Zimmerman. ”This plan will guide land use decisions for the city over the next 20 to 25 years, ensuring Sugar Land will continue to be a premier place to live by providing desirable single-family neighborhoods and other housing options, quality schools, attractive amenities, and outstanding city services that add to the overall quality of life for residents – supporting the city’s economic growth and low property tax rate.”
The approved Land Use Plan and more information about the update process is available online at www.sugarlandtx.gov/LandUsePlan.