No more than four ordinance continues bringing neighbors to council, options explored

Councilmember, Bob Yancy, questioned staff about the possibility to change the violation from...
Councilmember, Bob Yancy, questioned staff about the possibility to change the violation from criminal to civil.(KBTX)
Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 10:41 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - The College Station City Council listened to about half a dozen residents and heard options for enforcement of a city law that many say hasn’t been properly enforced.

Following the discussions, council members asked city staff to look into the pros and cons of changing the ordinance. This would make the violation a civil penalty, rather than a criminal one. The main reason for asking about this is to lower the burden of proof for violations while also still enforcing the issue.

College Station has a law prohibiting more than four unrelated people from living together. But, this issue can be seen in neighborhoods near the Texas A&M campus with students packing into homes.

Liana Vincent lives in the Historical Southside neighborhood and says things have changed.

“We were attracted to the beauty of the neighborhood and so we love that but as soon as you drive over to the west side of Bryson Park the streets are really lined with cars and you also have students parking on the lawns,” she said.

Vincent says many of her student neighbors follow the rules, but there are some that don’t. This is where the difference lies.

“It doesn’t have the peaceful safe feel like you do on the streets that do have only four students and there’s more of a party atmosphere,” she said.

Thursday night, council members heard an update about enforcement, showing a period of proactive enforcement led to almost 200 possible violations. This is a significant increase to when staff are reactively enforcing the issue and noted around a dozen.

Council members assured residents that the ordinance is being enforced, saying much of the proof from neighbors is only one bit of the evidence they need for a conviction of this law.

Councilmember, Bob Yancy, brought up the possibility of changing the violation from criminal to civil.