ARGYLE — Town officials in Argyle are preparing to begin a rezoning process that they hope will create an attractive destination for commercial and retail developers.
The process the town seeks to implement is referred to as form-based zoning, and since January the town has worked with Gateway Planning Group, a Fort Worth-based firm, to identify areas that need to be rezoned to match market trends.
City planners use form-based zoning to design a city around local trends in retail and commercial markets to increase the probability of generating development.
Last year, the Town Council, the Planning and Zoning Board and the Argyle Economic Development Corporation had a joint meeting to discuss plans for future growth.
A few weeks later, the town hired Gateway to consult on development plans.
The town has yet to implement any plans, but Town Manager Charles West said he expects that the council and staff will begin making changes soon.
Town officials said that zoning is a delicate process and that it would be unwise to rush the project, even though each official is eager to drive development.
In a recent interview, community services director Richard Luedke said that some of the regional growth projections indicate that commercial and retail growth expanding from Tarrant and Dallas counties will hit Argyle in about 10 years.
He told town officials that 10 years seems like a long time, but it’s better to prepare now.
“If we’re not ready by the time the growth gets here, then they’ll pass us by,” he said.
According to a town survey, most residents prefer Argyle’s rural environment, and officials plan to keep it intact by limiting residential development.
So to meet operating costs of the town’s growth, officials plan to develop dense commercial and retail districts to increase Argyle’s tax base.
“We have a rural environment, and we would like to maintain that,” West said.
Officials hope to spur aggressive commercial development along the town’s busiest corridors, Interstate 35W and U.S. Highway 377.
West said he’s hoping the new zoning changes will lead to growth in Argyle’s retail and commercial sectors, including the development of a grocery store.
“We want people to get whatever they need right here,” he said. “You shouldn’t have to leave town to go to another city to get the things you need.”
Rezoning is just one phase in several steps the town will have to address to support growth.
Another step includes developing the town’s infrastructure, which is needed to support and sustain growth. Town staff said Argyle will need adequate sewer and water infrastructure along the corridors to jump-start development.
Officials estimated that more than $4 million in sewer system improvements are needed before the town will begin to see heavy commercial development along its major intersections and corridors.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @jdharden.