The College Station City Council unanimously adopted the updated Comprehensive Plan, following a two-year study done at the halfway mark of the 20-year plan.
The current plan began its development in 2009, and the 10-year review adopted by the councilmembers Thursday comes at the conclusion of a two-year evaluation that began in 2019.
“We branded it the Next 10,” Alyssa Halle-Schramm, long-range planning administrator for the city, said. “… It was like taking a step back, looking at where are we today, what conditions have changed from 2009 to 2019, what is going well, what has room for improvement.”
College Station Mayor Karl Mooney described the plan as a guide that can be amended as needed based on the city’s growth.
“We’ve got streets in places where there were no streets and schools where there were no schools 10 years ago,” he said. “It’s really a responsibility of our City Council to take timely looks at how our city is evolving and prepare it for the next 10 years.”
In 2030, the last year of the Comprehensive Plan, he said, he hopes people look back at Thursday’s revised plan and marvel at the city’s growth.
“Ten years prior to this, back in 2010, we were surprised that Rock Prairie was slowly becoming the center of town,” he said. “Well, now we’re moving a little bit farther south yet, and even shifting over to the west because the whole western area of town is being developed. It’s just a constant shift, but what it says is people see something about College Station that they like.”
The revised plan the council adopted includes updated future land use categories to allow for growth, accommodate floodplains and help allow more horizontal mixed-use development, such as the Texas A&M-owned Century Square area, Halle-Schramm said.
She said the updated plan includes two new future land use categories: Neighborhood Center and Mixed Residential.
The neighborhood center category allows for more horizontal mixed-use buildings instead of forcing development to grow vertically. The development could include commercial and residential property.
The mixed residential land use allows for more housing opportunities with townhomes, duplexes, multifamily homes and single-family homes to be in the same development rather than neighborhoods with homogenous home types that might not cater to the needs of the community.
Overall, Halle-Schramm said, the land use categories became more flexible. She emphasized future land use is not the same as zoning, saying the land use categories are a broad look at how properties can and should be used, not how it is or can currently be used.
Theresa Holland, who owns property in the Victoria Avenue and William D. Fitch Parkway area of the city, addressed the council about a change to the future land use designation on her property that would hinder planned development allowing for more housing density.
After hearing her concerns and alternatives the city had developed when she had expressed concerns initially, the council adopted an amendment that changes the land use designation to allow for the planned housing development.
In addition to future land use maps, the plan also includes maps for bicycles, pedestrians and roads, accommodating growth and needs in the community. The maps show proposed roads, sidewalks, shared-use paths and bike lanes in areas where they do not exist yet.
Every department in the city is involved in developing the plan, Halle-Schramm said, as are Texas Department of Transportation, Texas A&M University, the City of Bryan and Brazos County because the roads do not stop at the city limits.
Over the course of the two-year evaluation, the city sought input from city committees, advisory boards and citizens, specifically holding open houses for Texas A&M students and small groups.
Between 2019 and August and September 2021, the city sought input from the community, in person and then shifting to virtually, involving more than 900 individuals in the process. People had the opportunity to express their concerns on the proposed maps, and in some cases, the plans were adjusted to address those concerns.
The year 2020 – natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic – influenced the plan, Halle-Schramm said, leading the city to include a section on emergency management.
The entire Comprehensive Plan, interactive maps and its annual and five-year reviews are available at www.cstx.gov/thenext10.
Mooney said he sees the plan as more evidence that people see College Station as a great place to live, raise their family and retire.
“Great place to live, speaks to the quality of life and by the council taking the kind of proactive action that you heard tonight, it says that the council is in tune with our growing community,” Mooney said.