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City council to discuss rent houses, parking

South Knoll Neighborhood Plan to impact student residents

Published: Monday, September 23, 2013

Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 21:09

The issue of permanent residents and student residents coexisting in College Station will be discussed at the College Station City Council meeting Thursday, as major changes to parking and housing regulations in the South Knoll area may soon be on the way.


 The South Knoll Neighborhood Plan includes changes to parking and the number of unrelated residents renting a house, both of which will impact temporary student residents in the area surrounded by Holleman Drive, Texas Avenue, Harvey Mitchell Parkway, Wellborn Road, Southwest Parkway and Welsh Avenue.


The South Knoll Neighborhood Plan is the last topic on the agenda and will include a public presentation of the plan, and its possible implementation.

The plan allows for the regulation of the number of unrelated persons living in one house. If approved by a majority of homeowners, this change would result in houses that previously held four to five students only being allowed to house two unrelated persons.


The plan would also prohibit street parking between 2 and 6 a.m., allowing residents to only park on their property between these hours with an option for the majority of residents to remove on-street parking entirely.


Councilwoman Blanche Brick said the plan stems from the fact that the neighborhood, which surrounds South Knoll Elementary School, was not originally constructed with college students in mind.


“We’re trying to work with the fact that the neighborhood was built as a single-family neighborhood back in the ’70s,” Brick said. “The homes were designed for one family, and probably two cars at most, and they didn’t anticipate the kind of issues that would arise as A&M grew and more students began to move off campus.”


Brick said that with the influx of college renters, residences originally meant to house a family with a maximum of two cars suddenly had to accommodate four or five cars per household. The ensuing street parking has led to congestion on the street to the point where navigation has become difficult.


Additionally, Brick said homeowners in the neighborhood feel the lifestyle attached to a family-oriented area has deteriorated with the influx of renters in the area.


“We’ve had huge amounts of correspondents saying that many people who had bought into that neighborhood had felt that they had lost their investment,” Brick said.


Work on what has become the South Knoll Neighborhood Plan began in the fall of 2012, with the meetings of Neighborhood Resource Teams to address issues such as neighborhood integrity and character, mobility and public facilities and services.


Salim Malik, junior biology major, said price is a huge draw in renting a house with four to five roommates.


“It’s money better spent,” Malik said. “You end up spending less for the same utilities.”


When asked if the proposed regulations would affect her decision to rent a house in the future, freshman biochemistry major Hyunjin Lee said that the ability to spread out and the level of comfort that comes with that is worth the increased cost.


“While the increase in the amount of money it would take to rent is not a positive, I feel like my personal preference would outweigh the costs,” Lee said.

College Station City Council will take action on the plan at 7 p.m. Thursday at College Station City Hall.

 

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