Frisco P&Z vote on Fields property called 'most complicated zoning case in history'

By Elizabeth Ucles

Mayor Jeff Cheney said the development will be an ‘incredible economic engine’ for the city.

Single-family housing; high-density multifamily housing; and uses for office, retail, commercial and industrial are in the works for over 2,100 acres of the Fields property.

The Frisco Planning & Zoning Commission approved rezoning this land from agricultural at a Feb. 25 meeting.

This comes after the item was tabled by the commission in January and the commission then held a special workshop Feb. 18 to iron out details for the project. At the January meeting, commission Chair Robert Cox called the property Frisco’s “most complicated zoning case in history.”

The development consists of nine subdistricts: North Fields, The Preserve, Brookside, Point West, Midtown West, Point East, Midtown East, East Village and University Village, according to city documents. This will allow for a mixture of residential product types and office, retail, commercial and industrial uses, per city documents.

Project owner FHQ Holdings LP requested up to 5,000 single-family units, 8,500 multifamily units and 1,000 student housing units, per city documents.

Student housing is a response to the future University of North Texas at Frisco’s branch campus expected to be completed in November 2022 near the Fields property. More student housing units may be allowed upon approval of a specific-use permit by the commission and City Council following a request from the UNT system, per city documents.

Cox said the potential to add more student housing will establish a solid workforce as a result.

“That’s a service worker environment that provides a workforce for part-time jobs while people are going to school,” he said at the Feb. 25 meeting.

The project proposes to designate a minimum 12% of open space for the overall property. Each subdistrict, however, will have its own open space minimum as well.

“The vision is going to provide us a place with character and soul by the parks and trails and the residential and corporations all blended together,” said an FHQ Holdings LP official at the meeting.

Cox said the road to the project’s approval was paved by several tours by development staff to out-of-Frisco developments and several opportunities for public input from work sessions.

“There has been a tremendous amount of work on behalf of our citizens to speak on this,” Cox said. “I just want to make sure that it’s abundantly clear for everyone that [the project] was taken very seriously.”

This development on the north end of the city could alleviate Frisco’s current traffic woes, Cox said, as it aims to create a reverse commute—which gets commuters traveling north for work rather than south.

To keep residential development from overtaking commercial development, the project proposes a mixture of commercial to residential acreage, city staff said at the meeting. For instance, two subdistricts must have a 50% nonresidential and 50% urban mixed-use to residential split; and three subdistricts must have a 70% nonresidential and 30% urban mixed-use to residential split.

Cox said the commercial development piece is the most important part of the project.

“That will change the landscape of jobs in Frisco that will provide high-paying jobs and keep our average income up,” he said. “Those are things that, as a city, we want to make sure we continue [to maintain] the quality of life that we have in Frisco. This does that.”

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