The Board of Directors of Bryan Texas Utilities (BTU) voted to extend a rate-reduction measure, which was originally set to expire at the end of May. The reduction of the power supply adjustment by one-half will result in an approximate 15% reduction in electric costs for customers.
As a result of more than 18 months of community outreach, economic research, stakeholder feedback sessions, and problem solving, the Bryan City Council approved adopting the Midtown Area Plan at its May 12, 2020 meeting.
The plan, which is available at bryantx.gov/midtown, recommends two broad strategies to guide development in Bryan’s Midtown area: investment in the South College Avenue corridor and using an incremental approach to infill development of adjacent streets and properties.
The plan calls for coordinated public and private investment at five “catalytic” sites to build upon the success of the renovations to College Main Street and South College Avenue. These catalytic project designs are examples to start the conversation of what could be built on each site. The intent is to stitch the entire length of the corridor together and to stimulate and support new development within Midtown.
Midtown is subject to substantial housing demand from students, young professionals and retirees. When that existing demand is bolstered by planned public investments such as the Travis Bryan Midtown Park and the catalytic projects, the city will need a more efficient and accessible development process.
While the plan itself, does not adopt any zoning changes, it does detail a novel technique — pattern zoning — that creates an opt-in expedited permitting program that uses new site design guidelines, licensed architecture and pre-approved plans. It also recommends several changes to current codes and processes and new rules allowing cottage courtyards on large lots, accessory dwelling units in backyards and modest text amendments to existing policies and procedures.
“Midtown is a prime area for growth and redevelopment in the near future, and we are pleased that we were able to listen to the residents and incorporate their ideas about how they would like to see it develop,” said Bryan Mayor Andrew Nelson.
The Midtown Area Plan keeps recommendations as voluntary as possible. All aspects of the plan are either fully voluntary or will not be triggered until the property is developed or redeveloped. Property owners can continue to use their property as-is, as long as they are following existing legal uses.
Now that the Midtown Area Plan has been approved, there are several proposed zoning changes needed to fully implement it. These zoning changes must first be considered by the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council, which is expected to occur in late summer of this year. All pending dates for adoption will be posted on the Midtown website at bryantx.gov/midtown.
Anyone with questions about the Midtown Area Plan or proposed zoning changes should contact Project Planner Lindsay Hackett, firstname.lastname@example.org.