To ensure a well-planned City that is safe, beautiful and livable by facilitating the development and implementation of long-range plans and policies such as the City’s Comprehensive Plan and master plans, shaping the City’s physical environment through diligent enforcement of codes and standards and ensuring development quality for the City.
The City of Sugar Land’s Planning Department oversees two divisions- Development Planning and Long Range Planning. Development Planning manages the processing of development applications for City code and regulation compliance by coordinating internal processes and review with multiple departments. Development Planning is responsible for administrating development review and approval processes for applications such as subdivision plats, site plans, general land plans, rezoning and conditional use permit cases, variances, special exceptions, and appeals. In addition, staff reviews building permit applications such as residential permits, commercial permits, and sign permits to ensure compliance with the City’s development regulations. Long Range Planning is responsible for leading City efforts to plan for the City’s long range needs, including development and maintenance of the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Master Plans, annexation planning and implementation, land use planning, planning policy development, and tracking and reporting City demographics.
The Planning Department has a total of 11 full time employees with a fiscal year 2020 budget of $1,629,164. Operational hours are Monday through Friday, 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.
The Planning Department’s main responsibilities include:
- managing the processing of development applications;
- coordinating review of development applications that are compliant with City codes and regulations including compliance certification for all applicable development code and ordinance requirements;
- administrating development review and approval processes for applications including processing development approval from boards, commission, or city council;
- reviewing permits to ensure compliance with the City’s Land Development Code including liquor license processing and compliance review;
- development and maintenance of the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Master Plans;
- annexation planning and implementation;
- tracking and reporting of city demographics; and
- participating in the direction and coordination of the city’s transportation planning efforts.
Some current projects include but are not limited to the following:
- The Hill Community Engagement project is an ongoing project initiated in late 2018 to establish a vision for The Hill neighborhood and evaluate whether additional development regulations are desired in order to maintain the character of the neighborhood. After public engagement with The Hill neighborhood in FY19, it determined that regulations should be modified to maintain the character of the neighborhood. Phase II will initially define the character for The Hill neighborhood (working with the Hill Steering Committee) and provide draft code changes for The Hill community’s feedback that will implement vision and recommendations developed in Phase 1.
- 2020 Census Complete Count project will focus City efforts to educate the public, promote the importance of citizen participation in the 2020 Census in order to obtain an accurate and complete count of all residents living in Sugar Land along with assistance of the City Manager appointed Census Complete Count Committee.
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)-Replacement project for City’s core business functions such as the Community Development Software System thus allowing the City employees to improve operational excellence, increasing organizational effectiveness, and process efficiency.
- Continued coordination and support on large-scale development projects such as the Imperial development and the planned development at University Blvd. and U.S. 59 (Tract 5 area).
- Ongoing monitoring and implementation of legislative changes resulting from the 86th Texas Legislative session in 2019.
Planning works toward furthering the vision and goals documented in the City’s Comprehensive Plan, with focused support of the safe, beautiful, great neighborhoods, superior mobility and balanced development and redevelopment goals and in alignment with the values of the Sugar Land Way.
Awards and Accolades
For the past six years, the Planning Department and the City of Sugar Land have been recognized by the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association (TxAPA) with a Certificate of Achievement for Planning Excellence. The certification recognizes the professional planning standards demonstrated by planning staff and support exhibited by City Council. Evaluation criteria include the level of training of Planning Commissioners and professional staff, professional qualifications of the planning staff, breadth and currency of master plan components, and completion of other planning related projects.