Shepherd Place approved as newest US 75 development

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

Sherman cleared the way for its latest large-scale, multi-use development. The project, which would be built west of the intersection of Shepherd Drive and U.S. Highway 75 follows two along FM 1417 and a third near Travis Street and U.S. Hwy. 82.  

All of these developments are making use of the city's planned development zoning, which grants certain flexibility for larger-scale developments that will encompass a variety of uses and development types.

"Part of the planned development regulations is to give developers some flexibility to do other things," Sherman Director of Development Services Rob Rae said.

Rae described Shepherd Place as a mixed-use development with a focus on multi- and single-family homes. About 67 percent of the development would be dedicated to residential uses. Commercial and retail uses will make up about 18 percent of the development, with the remaining 15 percent left as open and green spaces

Charles Hodges, representing Hodges Architecture, said the western portions of the development will primarily be focused on residential uses while a centralized buffer and transitional area would heavily feature mixed-use development. Areas along the highway will be focused on retail and commercial development.

About 20 acres would be developed into a senior district with a focus on senior housing and related services. Previously, Hodges spoke about the importance of the "silver economy" and older residents to the focus of the development.

The development would see new major roadways, if developed, with talk of a Shepherd Parkway and other new streets. However, Hodges notes that there will be considerable focus on alternative transportation and walkways that will connect various places within Shepherd Place.

"When you design a campus like this, it is very important, I think, to consider mobility, walkability and all of the adjacencies we have as we've gone through this," he said.

One of the major hubs for trails and paths will be through the green space and natural areas of Shepherd Place. Choctaw Creek would effectively serve as the spine for these green spaces, Hodges said.

Other green spaces will likely take the form of pocket parks that will be positioned within greater neighborhoods and districts, Hodges said. As an example, Hodges showed pictures of a centralized green space that was made in the center of neighborhood of cottage-style homes that faced inward.

"We like small pocket parks," he said. "We think pocket parks are a good addition to the residential component."

Other parks and green spaces may be designed with a more passive approach and would lack some of the common amenities seen in many neighborhood parks, he said. Instead walking trails and other natural highlights would be the focus.

"Every park doesn't have to be basketball courts, swings and merry-go-rounds," he said. "They can be passive."