Activists Demand Referendum On Plan For Plano Growth

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PLANO (CBS11) — A new chapter is emerging over the future of Plano. It involves another legal challenge over how the city will manage its fast growth. Now a citizens group is making its demands for a citywide vote clear.

How Plano’s growth is shaped over the next few decades is a divisive issue. After city leaders approved a new comprehensive plan in October, called Plano Tomorrow, Sandy Dixon was one of thousands of people who signed a petition to take the issue to Plano voters.

“We are very concerned about how those changes affect traffic and the quality of life here in Plano and density and the school system,” Dixon said.

But city officials insisted that according to state law the plan was not subject to a referendum because “it provides the framework and policy for zoning.” They argued, “Cities are not authorized to alter that process by submitting zoning ordinances to initiative or referendum.”

“This is a matter of whether the citizens of Plano have a right to vote,” Dixon said. “This gets down to one of our basic American rights: the right to vote.”

Last week an attorney for the petitioners argued that the comprehensive plan is technically not a zoning ordinance and demanded the city reconsider a referendum.

Dixon said she does not expect a quick resolution, but the petitioners are determined to force a change.

“I’m willing to take it as far as is necessary, which would be the Supreme Court of Texas,” Dixon said.

The group’s attorney set Monday as a deadline for the city to respond. A city spokesperson said they have asked to extend that deadline to Tuesday to give council members time to discuss the demands in executive session when they meet Monday.

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