“Detached shared housing” regulation is back on the Bryan City Council agenda for Tuesday with some changes to the ordinance that was originally proposed last year.
In October, the Bryan City Council decided to postpone consideration on potential tools to help regulate the development of by-the-bedroom rental housing commonly referred to as “stealth dorms” until 2018, opting not to take the recommendations put forward by a Planning and Zoning subcommittee. That subcommittee has now researched how to regulate the housing for 13 months, and its new recommendations are up for a vote after a public hearing.
After meeting with developers and various city departments and further study and consideration of feedback, the subcommittee is now making the following recommendations, among others:
• Adding a definition for “detached shared housing,” which would apply to structures built or remodeled after the passage of the ordinance. The housing would be defined as a detached dwelling unit on an individual lot with four or more bedrooms that is occupied or intended to be occupied by more than two unrelated people.
• Specifying that detached shared housing may be allowed with prior approval of a conditional-use permit from the Planning and Zoning Commission in certain Bryan zoning districts.
• Adding standards for the housing where allowed with prior approval of a conditional-use permit to ensure compatibility with surrounding residential homes. Those standards include limiting parking to one independently accessible space per bedroom, a maximum driveway width of 16 feet, two canopy trees per lot and no more than 50 percent impervious coverage between the front of the home and the public right-of-way.
During a Jan. 18 special meeting, P&Z commissioners unanimously recommended approval of the proposed text amendments to the city’s code of ordinances. Top concerns the subcommittee has heard from homeowners about “stealth dorms” in their neighborhoods include traffic, lack of parking, poor building standards and increased noise. The subcommittee has determined that “if not properly regulated,” the housing is inconsistent with and “threatens the integrity of” established single-family residential neighborhoods.
Standards for the housing that the subcommittee had originally proposed but that no longer appear in its recommendations include a stipulation that parking be behind or to the side of the home, a maximum driveway width of 12.5 feet, that canopy trees be located at the front of the home, and that the structures be architecturally compatible with surrounding houses.
In a separate agenda item also scheduled for a public hearing Tuesday, the Planning and Zoning Commission also is recommending the City Council direct staff to prepare a request for proposals to hire a consultant to study and create a master/small area plan for the area of the city’s planned super park at the location of the former Bryan Municipal Golf Course, which closed Dec. 31. The study would take place around the super park location at West Villa Maria Road and South College Avenue, and in the area south of West Villa Maria Road to the southern city limits.
The subcommittee also has researched and discussed the potential of establishing an overlay district where “detached shared housing” could be allowed by right, subject to additional standards, according to the agenda item. It determined that a consultant would best be able to create a plan to analyze the area and identify how the city can best regulate growth “to its fullest potential” in areas near the Texas A&M campus and the proposed super park.
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