By J.D. Miles

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COLLIN COUNTY (CBS 11 NEWS) – Plano’s vision of the future is the subject of a controversy. That’s after a group of homeowners opposed to apartments distributed what some call a racially charged email.

The organization called The Council for Plano Future sent the email encouraging homeowners to attend Monday night’s planning and zoning commission meeting where plans for 10,000 new apartments will be discussed.

The group opposes apartment/retail villages and suggests in the email that, “A nail salon and a fried chicken shop do not turn a 1100 unit apartment complex into a urban mixed use development.”

The email has Plano’s black residents upset. They say it’s racially insensitive. “It’s like a downgrade, it’s like a downgrade,” says Laverne Honore-Gilliam, manager of a Williams Chicken in Plano.

Trish Patterson is a longtime Plano resident who’s parents have a school named for them. She believes the emails suggests apartments will attract more Blacks and Asians “That’s about the craziest thing I’ve ever heard,” she said. “It hurts me to think if people feel that way.”

But the leader of The Council for Plano Future insists that the email was only referring to low quality retail not race.

“It’s not really great retail it’s not really great restaurants,” said Jim Dillavou, The Council of Plano Future.org. “I was insensitive to that because I didn’t see it that way my wife goes to the nail salon every week”

The controversy comes on a night when dozens of people packed city hall to protest the Plano Tomorrow plan. A vision for the future that has stirred up tensions from the past.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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