A comprehensive plan documents a City’s broad vision and is commonly referred to as a City’s roadmap. A comprehensive plan is comprised of base information, vision and goal statements, and a set of master plans that outline objectives and strategies for land use, transportation, infrastructure and public facilities, including possible future capital improvements, development regulations, or major policies. The city is required to have a Comprehensive Plan if it has zoning, and the city’s zoning regulations are guided by and must be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.
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The Land Use Plan is a high level document that outlines policy direction and guidance for development, redevelopment and land use decisions. The Plan is published as Chapter 6 of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The Plan furthers the Comprehensive Plan’s overall vision and sets out a specific land use vision and goals for the city and outlines actions that will achieve those goals to ensure Sugar Land continues to thrive. The Land Use Plan is not zoning or a regulatory document; however, the city’s zoning regulations are guided by and must be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. In fact, the city is required to have a Comprehensive Plan if it has zoning.
No, any development proposal that is required to go through a zoning process will still have an opportunity for public input. Public Hearings at Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council are scheduled for zoning applications to provide the opportunity for the public to give input and feedback on the proposal. The Land Use Plan and public feedback inform the staff recommendation as well as the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council through the decision-making process. It is important to note that when a development proposal is submitted, moving an application forward through the zoning process is no guarantee of staff support or ultimate Planning and Zoning Commission or City Council approval.
While the City of Sugar Land cannot control the decisions of independent school districts, this Plan prioritizes the preservation and protection of single-family neighborhoods in Sugar Land and encourages increased coordination with the school districts. The Plan requires a school impact analysis be completed when new residential is proposed as part of an activity center.
This is a long term plan looking out 25-30 years. There is no expectation that all or any of the areas identified for redevelopment will occur within that timeframe. The Plan provides a series of guiding principles that will be utilized by staff, Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council to make the best decisions when future proposals are introduced by the private development community.
An activity center is an area with a mix of uses, such as office, retail, residential and civic institutions, integrated together in a compact walkable area. The Plan identifies two types of activity centers: Regional Activity Centers (RAC) and Neighborhood Activity Centers (NAC).
The Plan identifies five areas as RAC strategically located along regional highways to ensure intense commercial, retail and other high-traffic destinations are contained within designated areas and separated from single-family residential neighborhoods. Each RAC is intended to have its own unique identity providing different amenities for both residents and employees for entertainment, dining, and shopping.
The Plan identifies eight areas as NAC located on Arterial streets, which are envisioned to be small mixed-use centers that act as a “Main Street” for nearby neighborhoods. These will largely be created through the redevelopment of older commercial areas.
The Land Use Plan includes formal direction on multi-family housing that has not been included before in the Comprehensive Plan. The Land Use Plan provides guidance for stronger restrictions on multi-family development, including:
In comparison, the City’s current R-4 (multi-family) zoning district regulations reflect previous policy guidance regarding stand-alone multi-family housing, from the 2004 Land Use Plan - including that there should be no more than 20 dwelling units per acre and a maximum of 200 units at any single location. No vacant R-4 zoned property exists in the city limits today and the updated Land Use Plan recommends no new standalone, single-use, multi-family residential development within the city should be approved.
Additionally, the updated Land Use Plan provides clear guidance for PDs, limits the specific locations within the city that such residential development should be allowed, and subjects any new multi-family residential to an overall citywide proportion as well as site-specific guidance.
As a note, the majority of existing multi-family apartments and condos in the city today were not developed in accordance with previous Land Use Plan policies or R-4 zoning regulations, as they were built prior to being annexed into the city or prior to the multi-family zoning regulations being adopted.
Development on Tract 5 will have no drainage impact on Ditch H or Telfair. The Tract 5 property is within Fort Bend County Levee Improvement District (LID) 17. This LID has provided all of the required detention for existing and future development within its boundaries. The Tract 5 location outfalls directly to the Brazos River southwest of the UH campus through a control structure that is operated by the LID.
Additionally, there are specific site drainage requirements and standards for development within the City of Sugar Land. All development (commercial, single-family residential, office, etc.) must be built in accordance with city engineering standards and will follow national and local standards. As per City regulations, all development within the City of Sugar Land must have no-impact on other areas to be permitted, when designed for the 1% chance event.