In order to accomplish the Activity Center implementation project, staff developed a two-phased approach. The first phase consists of researching best practices for zoning and other tools to implement mixed-use through redevelopment, and developing a set of recommended next steps based on that research. Phase II of the project will focus on implementing the recommendations.
To conduct Phase I, the City contracted with Clarion Associates, a firm with nationwide experience in writing, updating, and researching development codes with an emphasis on redevelopment. Clarion has evaluated existing Sugar Land Planned Developments (PD) and the Development Code, conducted stakeholder interviews, and conducted peer city benchmarking to see how other cities implement mixed-use through redevelopment.
In early 2021, the project team conducted interviews with external stakeholders including property owners in several of the Activity Centers, as well as a few professionals that have been involved in the PD process over the last several years. Additionally, the project team held interviews with key staff members, the City Council, Economic Development Committee, and the Planning and Zoning Commission. Some of the interviews were more focused on processes in the past, while others were focused on potential barriers to redevelopment.
The project team also studied six case-study cities that have been successfully pursuing mixed-use redevelopment over the past decade: Plano, Lewisville and Fort Worth, Texas; Henderson, Nevada; Cary, North Carolina; and Arlington County, VA. This study included both an evaluation of the codified regulations and economic incentives, as well as interviews with planning and/or economic development staff from several of these communities to hear first-hand about lessons learned that could apply in Sugar Land.