P&Z green lights 530-acre planned development

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Early renderings show current plans for the Shepherd Place development along Shepherd Drive and U.S. Hwy. 75.

Sherman Planning and Zoning Commissioners cleared the road for the city's fourth major mixed-use planned development Tuesday night when they approved early plans for the project.  Representatives for the proposed Shepherd Place Development presented early plans for what the 530-acre project could look like, if approved by the city.

The proposed development, located along the south side of Shepherd Road, represents the latest major development proposed for south Sherman following other planned developments in 2019 and 2020. Like the previous developments, Shepherd Place is expected to feature a mixture of residential and retail uses.

"Sherman Place is a very complex campus. It benefits from frontage along U.S. (Highway) 75, which then gives us planning challenges for layering development so that development takes place along 75," said Charles Hodges, representing Hodges Architecture said.

City staff have mentioned the proposed development during public meetings in recent months, but Tuesday's meeting represents the first time formalized plans have been presented. The project comes at the heels of similar projects, including two along the FM 1417 Corridor and a third along Travis Street that have been announced or have moved forward with early development in the past year. 

Hodges said the primary focus for Shepherd Place will be on a mixture of residential developments ranging from single family homes to various types of multi-family housing. Other components for the project will include retail and entertainment anchors, which are expected to be focused on the eastern side of the development along the U.S. Hwy. 75 frontage.

Current plans call for 247 acres of land dedicated to residential uses. This will be focused primarily on the western side as density diminishes the further development gets from the commercial centers.

Another 110 acres is likely to be developed along into flexible residential and multi-family uses near the center of the development.

Another focus area for the development will likely be on services and businesses aimed at the region's senior population, Hodges said.

"Obviously if you study the silver economy, the seniors are very important to commercial success," he said. "From a discretionary income and from a dedicated time standpoint, they have become major users of our commercial areas."

The full project will likely be built out in phases, with the majority of development expected within the next decade, representatives said.

The project did prompt some opposition from neighboring property owners who worried about the impact a major development would have on what is otherwise a mostly a quiet, agricultural area. Shirley Hill lives in the second home that was built on Shepherd Drive. Her home has fields where she raises cattle and grows hay. However, news of the development made her concerns about what this would mean for her home.

"This is going to be 200 feet from my pasture," she said, noting that the roads along Shepherd were not meant for this heavy of traffic.

Other concerns that were raised ranged from concerns about water and sewer infrastructure needs for the area and worries that only the multi-family portion of the project would be built out, and the rest would go unrealized.

Representatives for the city said that water and sewer infrastructure are already planned for the site. These improvements will be among the first projects that are partially funded using the city's new impact fee structure, a fee that charges new development based on the impact it has on the city's infrastructure.

Following the approval, representatives with the city voiced their optimism about their project and what it will potentially bring to the city. 

"The Shepherd project would bring a mixed-use blend of commercial, multi family, and single family development to the southern Highway 75 corridor where Sherman has seen so much of its growth in the past few years," Sherman Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said in an email. "The city sees tremendous potential at that location, offering easy access to the burgeoning shopping center at Sherman Crossroads, Schulman’s entertainment center, and the lagoon at Bel Air - all within a quick 30-minute drive of the Metroplex."