Next month will prove pivotal for Universal Studios, settling a heavy dispute that spurred from an announcement by the theme park and entertainment giant in mid-January.
Tuesday, March 7, 2023, will serve as a day that could make or break Universal Studios–especially as it pertains to the company’s plans to build a new theme park resort in North Texas, approximately 30 miles north of Dallas.
“March 7, we’ll be prepared to take a vote on this project,” Frisco, Texas Mayor Jeff Cheney said.
In a joint City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on February 21, Frisco city officials discussed Universal’s proposal to construct a brand-new 90-acre theme park resort in the North Texas city that’s home to nearly 211,000 Texans. Universal’s proposal shows plans for the new resort to be built near the intersection of the Dallas North Tollway and Panther Creek Parkway. But despite the popularity of Universal Studios’ many resorts and theme parks, many North Texans simply don’t want a theme park resort in their proverbial backyards.
During the meeting on Tuesday evening, city officials voted again to table their decision about a zoning request that would allow the new Univeral Studios theme park resort to be built. It’s the second time in February that the decision has been tabled, as the same thing happened at a previous meeting on the evening of February 7, during which officials listened to more than an hour of statements and concerns from residents of Frisco.
Tabling the decision will give officials and residents of Frisco more time to talk about plans for, concerns about, and opposition to the new theme park before the next scheduled meeting on March 7. During that meeting, officials plan to take a vote on whether to approve or deny the zoning request. Until that time, Frisco Commissioner Steve Cone says that “public dialogue” is encouraged and should continue until a final decision can be made.
“I hope no one has decided,” Cone said.
Before the meeting began on Tuesday evening, a public hearing was held during which residents were given the opportunity to talk about their thoughts in a public forum and directly with zoning personnel and City Council members. A majority of the residents who spoke out during the hearing live in Cobb Hill, the neighborhood within Frisco located directly across from the site where the new Universal Studios Resort will be located, should the zoning request be approved.
Many of the questions and concerns put forth by residents were associated with traffic and the possibility of increased crime in the areas closest to the theme park. Commission Cone encourages concerned residents to physically go to the proposed site, as he says it will give them a better understanding of the possibly impacts to the area.
“Universal is asking us to do something really big,” Cone said. “To be the research and development city where they’re going to try this big, bold new project.”
During the March 7 meeting, a more detailed presentation about the proposed theme park resort will be given before the vote is taken.