College Station City Council members are exploring building standards, land use and other options as ways to promote neighborhood integrity.
Ideas presented to the council Thursday night included ways to try reducing street congestion, improve aesthetics in neighborhoods and more.
Their Thursday night discussion comes on the heels of the council’s decision to approve the restricted occupancy overlay, which allows residents in single-family neighborhoods to vote to restrict occupancy of homes to no more than two unrelated people in their subdivision. Proponents of the overlay said that the ROO helps promote neighborhood integrity.
Council members expressed interest in several of the 12 or so options presented to them, including having new homes built with parking areas to the side or back of a home rather than the front and requiring larger parking spaces.
Additionally, many were interested in potentially finding a couple areas in town that would be best for higher density living, saying they might like to introduce an “increased occupancy ordinance” that areas could opt into. There is currently a city-wide restriction of no more than four unrelated people in a home.
“I like the idea of having a section of the town where we can say ‘look, instead of having an apartment house there, if you want to have a four-, five-, six- or eight-bedroom house, you can have it in this particular area,’” Councilman Dennis Maloney said. “That takes the pressure off of existing, older neighborhoods that have just been ravished by this influx of rental properties that have destroyed the quality of life for the long-term residents that have been there.”
Councilman Bob Brick expressed similar sentiments, but he emphasized the importance of carefully considering the placement of such higher-density areas.
Further discussions about which solutions might be best for the entire city versus only certain parts of town are still needed.
Finding ways to revitalize the city’s existing neighborhoods is also important, Councilman John Crompton said. He suggested a future discussion about ways to increase revitalization, perhaps through incentives to improve architecture and facades of developments.
“I want to revitalize neighborhoods that have the opportunity to be revitalized, rather than be defensively protecting them all the time,” he explained.
Crompton also said that he is in favor of enhancement incentives, not necessarily anything that would require demolitions and replacements.
Other ideas that were talked about Thursday include regulating the maximum size of dwellings based on the character of specific neighborhoods and requiring garages to be built behind the front facade of a home.