Housing and zoning take center stage at College Station City Council meeting

KBTX News 3 at Ten(Recurring)
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 6:08 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - College Station city leaders met Thursday to discuss a wide variety of proposals that could shape the way communities look and feel.

A vast number of the items being considered include the city’s first Restricted Occupancy Overlay (ROO) and a new shared housing zoning classification.

The overlay will provide a subdivision-specific occupancy regulation of no more than two unrelated people in a single-family home.

“We have a city-wide ordinance that is no more than four unrelated so the ROO takes that number from four unrelated and drops it down to two unrelated persons,” said College Station Long Range Planning Administrator Alyssa Halle-Schramm.

After years of discussion, one neighborhood is asking city leaders to approve the first ROO. The zoning request will affect 26 lots in the North Forest Estates located on Justin Avenue off Emerald Parkway.

City leaders voted 6-1 to approve the request of the neighborhood making it the first of its kind in College Station. Councilwoman Elizabeth Cunha voted against the motion.

Opponents of the decision say the classification singles out college students who happen to make up a large percentage of College Station residents.

“They just don’t want to live by those kinds of people {students},” said Cunha.

Residents for the ROO say it’s about protecting property values and the integrity of the neighborhood.

“It’s not that we don’t want to live by those kinds of people it’s that our neighborhood is a single-family residential neighborhood that’s the way that the residents want to keep it,” said College Station resident Mark Hawthorne.

Shared housing use was also up for debate but in a slightly different way.

After a public hearing, the council postponed taking a vote to create a new defined use called shared housing. Zoning regulates what can be done in an area, while defined use determines what can be done in that area.

That proposal, if adopted, would let more than four unrelated people live together, like in an “Aggie shack” or stealth dorm, but it would only be allowed in select areas of the city. Halle-Schramm said it would specifically be prohibited in single-family residential neighborhoods.

Several community members spoke out against the defined use during the public hearing saying the proposal was too vague.

College Station city leaders plan to call a special meeting to meet with stakeholders to fine-tune the proposal and will hold another discussion and possible vote during the next council meeting on Oct. 13.

KBTX News 3 at Six Weekday EXTENDED(Recurring)