Plano city council replaces half of the members of the town planning and zoning commission

Half of the members of Plano’s planning and zoning commission were replaced this week as city council appointed four new members to the eight-member board.

Five commissioners were to be reappointed, and only one of them, Richard Horne, was reappointed. Mr. Nathan Barbera, Gwen Walters, Allan Samara and Robert Gibbons were not reappointed.

The new members are Michael Bronsky, Tosan Olley, Bennett Ratliff and Tianle Tong, the city said in an email. Their two-year terms begin on November 1.

Ratliff, who served as Republican State Representative from 2013 to 2015, is the son of former Texas Lieutenant Governor Bill Ratliff. The longtime Coppell resident and former Coppell ISD school board member now lives in Plano.

According to their LinkedIn profiles, Bronsky is the executive director of Bridge Builder Academy at Richardson; Olley is vice president of finance and business management at JPMorgan Chase; and Tong is a broker and partner of Tong Parsons & Terrell Realty.

The commission plays a vital role in listening to and acting on plans for new developments and redevelopments. It also recommends zoning and rezoning petitions and amendments to city council.

Mayor Pro Tem Kayci Prince and council member Rick Grady, the commission’s liaison officers, interviewed the members who were due for reappointment.

“Time spent on the commission was one of the main considerations, as we believe new voices and new perspectives are important,” Prince said via email.

“It is always a difficult decision when deciding who to reappoint and appoint to boards and commissions, as the town of Plano is filled with many thoughtful and well-qualified people ready and willing to serve,” she added.

The changes come as council prepares to consider adopting a new comprehensive plan in a public hearing on November 8. The plan, which replaces the city’s Plano Tomorrow effort, will serve as a roadmap for the city over the next 20 to 30 years in areas like land use, housing inventory, redevelopment, growth management and transport.

The population of Plano, based on 2019 U.S. Census Bureau figures, was estimated at 287,677.

The overall plan is designed, in part, to make the zoning process more open and easier for the public to understand. According to the plan’s website, it takes into account the needs of residents, businesses and institutions.

Plano also gathered feedback on the plan via an online survey open from October 1 to 18. The results of the survey are expected to be presented to city council and published on the draft plan website in the near future.

Plano is also in the midst of a debate over the Haggard development project along the Dallas North toll freeway.

More than 300 residents have written letters to city officials about the planned rezoning of more than 142 acres on Spring Creek Parkway, east of the toll highway. The mixed-use project would include offices, retail, hotels and residential units. Their concerns include the overall density of the project, the height of the buildings and the number of multi-family units and parking garages.

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