PILOT POINT — Pilot Point’s population could skyrocket from just over 5,000 to nearly 72,000 within the next two decades.
Founded in the mid-1800s, Denton County’s oldest city has a distinct small-town feel — Pilot Point’s streets are decorated with quaint colonial-style homes and historic architecture. But with so many developers proposing new residential projects, that could soon change.
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Prolific homebuilders such as Arlington-based D.R. Horton and M/I Homes are expected to build 600 homes in Pilot Point this year, more than five times the number built in 2021. Another 15 residential developments are in the permit or proposal process, said director of development services John Taylor.
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But the number of proposed developments increases “almost daily,” city manager Britt Lusk said — even city officials say they don’t know just how much the city is going to grow.
“The large majority of people have said ‘we’re growing, we don’t have a choice,’” Lusk said. “So let’s make sure that if we’re going to grow, let’s do it responsibly.”
Just a few miles west of the city’s main street lies Lake Ray Roberts State Park, and horse farms and trails can be found throughout the city. Developers are attracted to the city’s quiet beauty and history, Lusk said.
Local developer Lisa Brown agrees. She thinks Pilot Point is uniquely poised for growth because of its small-town charm.
Pilot Point also houses Western Son Vodka distillery, one of the city’s largest employers, in what was once a women’s undergarment factory. The company had outgrown its space in Carrollton and moved in 2016 to take advantage of space in Pilot Point, said senior marketing director Erin King.
For businesses like Western Son, development could create a larger labor pool to hire workers. New residents could also mean more shoppers for local business, ensuring that city residents don’t have to travel to Denton or Frisco for entertainment and food.
“People want small-town charm, but they also want conveniences,” King said.
Most of Pilot Point’s retail offerings are mom-and-pop stores. But as developments finish construction, city officials expect that to change — commercial developers have approached the city asking about growth, Lusk said.
Lynda Tarsetti moved to Denton from New York City in 2007, looking for a quieter, cheaper place to live. In 2010, she found her ideal lifestyle in Pilot Point. She’s hoping for more amenities in the area that allow residents like her to stay local for entertainment, instead of driving to Denton.
Some residents say they’re keeping an eye on the growth plans.
Wendy Turner has worked as director of the Pilot Point library for eight years and has overseen the city’s museum for over a year. She works with longtime residents to preserve city history.
“We have a very strong group of people who like being a small town with a lot of history,” Turner said. “So it’s important that the city maintains that while encouraging growth.”
Taylor is confident Pilot Point will keep its character. The city plans to preserve the historic homes and architecture near downtown while approving more master-planned developments closer to Dallas North Tollway.
“That charm just doesn’t go away,” King said. “It’s rooted in your blood.”
PILOT POINT AT A GLANCE
Population: 4,457, according to the U.S. Census Bureau
Location: 61 miles north of downtown Dallas
Racial demographics: 61% white, 32% Hispanic and 4% Black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau
Median household income: $61,520, according to the U.S. Census Bureau
Median existing home sale price: $280,000, according to city estimates
Median new construction sale price: $307,389, according to Residential Strategies
Annual single-family home starts: 227 through second-quarter 2022, according to Residential Strategies
School district: Pilot Point ISD
Master-planned communities: One of Pilot Point’s several upcoming communities includes M/I Homes’ Mobberly Farms, which is underway with 190 of 1,986 planned homes already built near the intersection FM428 and the Dallas North Tollway. Developer D.R. Horton is also planning Windrose, a 377-home community just north of downtown and next to Route 377.
Festivals: Pilot Point is home to an annual Bonnie & Clyde Days Festival, held in its historic town square. The festival commemorates Warner Bros.’ 1967 shooting of the famous bank robbery scene in the film Bonnie and Clyde.
History lesson: Pilot Point is Denton County’s oldest city. The city was home to the highest point of ground between Texarkana and Forth Worth, “pointing the way” for travelers and cattle drivers, according to the city website.
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