Bryan city council approves stealth dorms ordinance

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - The Bryan city council unanimously approved planning and zoning's stealth dorm proposal Tuesday night.

The commission presented council members with an ordinance they have been working on for months regarding what people call "stealth dorms" or "Ag shacks."

The new ordinance calls them detached shared housing and defines what that means.

"We took a hard look at it. We asked a lot of questions, and I think we've finally got something that should appease everybody," said Bobby Gutierrez, commission chairman.

In order to construct future detached shared housing, a developer must build within a particular district, as well as obtain a conditional use permit from the city.

Developers must also meet standards met by the city. The ordinance limits the number of unrelated people living in a home. Future development will have to include parking spaces behind the home to reduce street parking. It also defines the term "bedroom" and sets landscaping requirements so the homes blend into the original neighborhood.

This is the second proposal the committee presented after council members asked them to review some points in October.

"We don't want to stop development. We don't want to stop growth, but we do want to be able to have something that when it comes to you guys. There's some justification for whether it's going in or not going in," said Gutierrez, speaking to council.

Mayor Andrew Nelson said he and other council members were happy with what the commission presented.

"I think they've nailed it. If they present more, like any ordinance we'd take a look at it. We'll continue to review this, but I think it addresses parking, it addresses bedrooms. It's something that allows us to manage and grow Bryan," said Nelson.

"It's a nice balance between property rights and still being able to have some control over what could be a negative construction in the city of Bryan," Nelson added.

Residents attending the meeting were also satisfied.

"Sometimes y'all surprise me and give me something I agree with. I think this is a good starting part," said Debra Miller, a Bryan resident.

"For over the past year, I have had the pleasure of attending the workshops and the meetings that the planning and zoning have had. I think what they've come up with is a very good start," said Ginny Smith, another resident.