Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Monday, December 5, 2011

Does Reston TOD Planning Have Something to Learn From Plano, TX?

In her December 2 post "How to Make TOD Work in Metro Dallas: Plano Shows the Way" in the, Angie Schmitt describes how decades of TOD planning are beginning to pay off for Plano, TX, a large suburb of Dallas, as its light rail line (DART) arrives there.  She begins:
For decades, Dallas mega-suburb Plano planned and prepared for this moment.
The historic downtown — a poorly-scaled anachronism from when this city of 260,000 housed a mere 3,500 people — was revitalized and reimagined as a “transit village.” Tax increment financing helped support urban-style, walkable development.
All because DART was building a rail line and forward-thinking town leaders wanted to be ready. Now decades of careful planning and preparation are paying off; Plano is poised to secure $60 million in transit oriented development near its two rail stations.
Important in her description of the Plano initiatives is the development of a $30 million mixed-use apartment complex with 280 units and a similar initiative by a second developer.    She adds:
The new rail stations have raised property values along Plano’s rail corridor about 200 percent, said Deputy City Director Frank Turner. That has generated about $40 million from Tax Increment Financing, a method for taxing projected increases in property values. That money will be used to help advance its vision for a vibrant, walkable downtown, . . . .
Downtown Plano after the arrival of DART.
 While there are obvious differences between Reston and Plano's situation--Reston has a much smaller population, an apparently larger and more successful commercial and retail "downtown," and will be served by a commuter (vice light) rail system--the lessons here point to the value of creating a balance of residential and commercial uses in Reston's TOD areas and points to tax increment financing (TIF) as a way to accomplish that goal. 

Click on the title above and read the whole article. 

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