Real Estate

Dallas suburb residents crush developer’s dreams of turning a historic farm into a strip mall

Residents of a quaint town outside Dallas have scored a major victory — forcing a developer to scrap plans to bulldoze lush farmland and replace it with a shopping center.

The Haggard family, one of Plano’s most prominent clans, aimed to transform a 13.5-acre slice of their historic farm into a retail destination featuring a Sprouts grocery store, retail space and 33 townhomes.

The Fairview Farm Land Company, run by a Haggard family member, petitioned Plano officials to rezone the land, sparking a fierce backlash from locals. Residents flooded the city with hundreds of messages, NBC Dallas Fort Worth reports.

The overwhelming opposition led to an unexpected twist: Fairview Farm Land Company requested to withdraw its rezoning application. “While we were hopeful that our proposed development would be seen as a positive addition, it is clear that is not the case and we don’t want to proceed with something that does not have full community support. Thank you for your consideration,” the company conveyed via a proxy.

The application was withdrawn. NBC DFW

Plano’s Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously accepted the withdrawal, putting the brakes on the proposed development.

“It’s just such a residential neighborhood, we wanted to keep it that way,” said local homeowner Sara Stettler. “We have plenty, plenty of empty strip malls available so we didn’t feel like it needed to be built here.”

Christina Day, Plano’s director of planning, noted the rarity of such a withdrawal. “It’s not unheard of but it is rare,” she told the outlet. “It doesn’t mean they can’t bring a new case forward at some point.”

The land is already zoned for single-family homes or townhouses, allowing the Haggards to potentially propose a solely residential development in the future.

Sara Stettler was against the proposed development project, preferring it be kept residential at the very least. NBC DFW
In 2021, Plano approved a large mixed-use development on 124 acres of Haggard farmland along the Dallas North Tollway, despite massive community opposition. NBC DFW

The Haggard family has a history of selling and developing parts of their land. In 2021, Plano approved a large mixed-use development on 124 acres of Haggard farmland along the Dallas North Tollway, despite massive community opposition. This project, currently under construction, includes a hotel, a restaurant, commercial buildings and housing.

Day emphasized that Plano’s policies aim to limit retail sprawl.

“We’ve long had policies to limit retail zoning and retail development where possible in the city and that’s because we realize that we have three times the national average of retail,” she said.

The Haggard family aimed to transform the farm into a retail haven featuring a Sprouts grocery store, retail space and 33 townhomes. NBC DFW

Stettler encouraged residents to stay vigilant.

“If it’s something not right for Plano then we need to make our voices heard, and in this regard, it worked so we’re really happy they listened,” she said.