Sherman City Council approved a vision and tentative plan for improvements along the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 75 and FM 1417. The council approved a project and financing plan on Monday for the recently-expanded Tax Reinvestment Zone No. 7, which will now encompass the proposed Terra Perpetua development along the city’s southern border.
Terra Perpetua, also known as Bel Air, is slated to bring a mixture of multi-family and other residential developments alongside a urbanized commercial and retail tenants. The city has also discussed the possibility of a new elementary school and partnering with private developers for the construction of a new hotel and convention center within the development.
“Bel Air will offer a mix of commercial and residential opportunities complimented by almost one-quarter of land area set aside as parks, open space or other amenities” the amended financing plan said. Other features include tree-lined streets, wide sidewalks and a connected trail system.”
At full build-out, the city estimates that the development will see just under 150 acres of residential development with 3,110 mid-rise units, 1,294 residential town homes and nearly 700 traditional residential homes.
The council approved expanding the TIRZ by nearly 270 acres in mid November. Prior to the inclusion of Terra Perpetua, the TIRZ included nearly 20 acres of land surrounding the Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille site.
A TIRZ is a designation that a city can place over a geographic area to set aside a portion of property tax revenues generated in the TIRZ for public improvements, infrastructure and road improvements, among other projects within the zone. The city of Sherman has made extensive use of TIRZs in recent years, with the Sherman Town Center TIRZ serving as the city’s first.
The funds from the TIRZ could then be used to directly finance the improvements, or be used to pay off bonds issued for the project. Currently the city and Grayson County plan to set aside 50 percent of tax revenues generated in the zone for maintenance and operation above the initial value set with the creation of the zone.
The plan outlined $5.38 million of projects including more than $1.5 million in concrete work along with other water and sewer improvements.
The plan received some push back from city council member Shawn Teamann, who expressed concern about committing to the projects, some of which had not previously been discussed by full council. When looking at all proposed projects, Teamann said there was nearly $17 million of projects in the plan, including the $10 million conference center.
“I know what the plan we are putting out there is for, but there are some things we haven’t talked about as an entire council,” Teamann said.
City Manager Robby Hefton said the city council was not committing to any specific project Monday night with the approval. Any specific projects or incentives that came out of the development would still need to be approved by the council.
“What this is not is a commitment to build any roads today, or build any amenities today,” Hefton said. “Those have to go through additional contracts and additional agreements with developers.”
Hefton went on to say that he expected the document to be shifted occasionally as the build-out progresses and the city gets a clearer view of where the development is headed. As an example, TIRZ No. 1 was originally set aside 100 percent of the tax revenues generated in the zone. After the district began to flourish, this was later dropped to 50 percent.
“This is maybe meant to be a stake in the ground, but maybe it is a stake in the sand,” Hefton said. “It is expected for a project like this to be amended as we get more clarity.”