Town Of Prosper,
Local Developers Say Millions Of Dallas Are On The Line If State Approves A Proposed Bypass of U.S. 380.
A proposed realignment of U.S. 380 is prompting major pushback from critics who say the move could cost the town and school district millions of dollars in property tax revenue and hamstring future development.
The potential bypass, known as Segment B, is part of the Texas Department of Transportation’s efforts to widen U.S. 380 in Collin County, an area expected to more than triple in population between now and 2050. The existing divided highway has six lanes, but any new alignment would include eight lanes with on and off ramps, according to TxDOT.
Segment B, if approved, would slice through a section of Prosper where several residential and commercial projects are about to break ground. John Delin, owner of Integrity Group, is one of the developers who says his project, a 63-acre active older adult community called Ladera, would no longer be feasible if TxDOT moves forward with the bypass.
“We’ve spent two years and a tremendous sum of money trying to get our project through the town,” he said. “Our land is in development, and we’ll start going vertical with homes in a few months. It’s a big problem.” Show Full Story
Ladera will include 244 homes and stands to bring an estimated $1.3M to $1.5M per year in property tax revenue to the school district. Delin said Ladera is unique because it would benefit the district financially without straining resources.
“Because our community is 55 and older, no kids are allowed to live there,” he said. “There’s no impact to the school district from a resource standpoint, but there’s a huge impact from a tax dollar standpoint.”
According to the town, the alignment would directly impact hundreds of future homes and thousands of residents. Another development project in the area expected to break ground later this year is Rutherford Creek, a 220-acre single-family home project that would add about 325 custom and upper-end production residences to Prosper. Just south of that development are mixed-use and multifamily projects also in the works.
“There’s kind of a black cloud over the area right now,” said Doug Mousel, vice president of development and sales for LandPlan Development Corp. “Certainly if TxDOT reversed course and decided to ram that alternative alignment through Prosper, it would be devastating to our project.”
Delin said he is in favor of proposed Segment A, which would begin at the intersection of Coit and travel along U.S. 380 in Prosper before cutting northeast of the city limits. This is the option he said TxDOT pitched several years ago and what they should stick with, as he is uninterested in selling his land to TxDOT.
“We are not in the business of buying land, getting ready to work on it so that TxDOT can come in and buy our land from us,” he said. “We are in the business of development.”
Mousel said he highly doubts Rutherford Creek could move forward if Segment B is approved because it would stall construction until completion of the bypass, which is still many years away. The town and school district stand to lose a substantial amount in tax revenue if this happens, as homes at Rutherford Creek will range in cost from $700K to $2M. “We are stuck in the mud just based on the limited access that we’d have to the property until the bypass is constructed,” he said.
The bypass also has implications for future development in the town, said Rebecca Zook, Prosper’s executive director of development and infrastructure services. At about 25 square miles, Prosper has one of the smallest planning areas in North Texas. If the bypass were approved, it could prevent a large swath of land from ever being developed because it would put homes right up against a freeway, she said.
“This is a section of our town that is growing very rapidly, and we have plans that are continually coming into the town to develop that side,” she said. “The vast majority of [the area] is in the construction document phase.”
The town has passed six resolutions opposing any widening outside of the existing U.S. 380 alignment, and it is preparing to pass a seventh, Zook said. Prosper has known about TxDOT’s plans to widen U.S. 380 for years, and it has been proactively preparing for that reality by increasing setbacks for businesses along the thoroughfare.
“It’s almost as if this came out of the blue — we never had a chance to think about how we might develop our community,” Zook said. “From a planning perspective, and looking into the future about how we evolve, this just throws a wrench right into the middle of it.”
According to TxDOT, the option of widening the current alignment was tossed out following the conclusion of a feasibility study. Madison Schein, one of the department’s public information officers, said this is due to acquisition requirements and extensive impacts on existing property owners.
“The current alignment is already at full capacity, so an alternative route is needed for the safety of the traveling public,” she said in an email.
A public comment period is now open. Delin, along with Mousel and other developers impacted by the proposal, plan to join with the town, school district and property owners impacted by the bypass to draft a coordinated response of opposition to TxDOT.
The department said the project is still in an early stage, and it does not expect to make a decision on the preferred alignment to be made until the beginning of next year. The comment period will remain open until April 6, and Schein encouraged the public to provide feedback via phone, email or online.
Contact Olivia Lueckemeyer at email@example.com