Midtown Area Plan
The City of Bryan’s Midtown Area Plan was adopted by the Bryan City Council on May 12, 2020.
Rich in history, the arts, education, and commerce, Bryan’s undeniable potential is showcased with the opportunity for master planned development and redevelopment of Midtown. Boundaries include South Texas Avenue and Finfeather Road from the Bryan/College Station City limit line to the revitalized historic Downtown, a Texas Cultural District. The Midtown area is a premiere landscape for significant sustainable development that can accommodate growing demand for quality housing, commercial services, restaurants and entertainment offerings while enhancing the existing neighborhood fabric along this important corridor.
The City of Bryan has embarked on a proactive planning process to tackle the challenges and unlock the opportunities in the Midtown area. The plan will be the principle guide in promoting orderly growth, development and redevelopment of the Midtown Bryan area, with recommendations to include changes to standard zoning districts and recommendations for the creation of new districts to help maximize (re-) development potential, with the main goal of helping strengthen the future of the corridor as a contributor to the great quality of life Bryan, Texas is known for providing to citizens and visitors alike.
The study area includes approximately two-square miles surrounding the Travis B. Bryan Municipal Park property from historic Downtown Bryan to the city limits shared with the City of College Station and adjacent to the Texas A&M University, generally bounded by Finfeather Road to the west and South Texas Avenue to the east.
Explaining the plan
Coordinated Corridor Development
This plan recommends two broad strategies to coordinate development in Midtown.
The first is investment in the South College Avenue corridor itself. 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 projects work to stitch the entire length of the corridor together and to stimulate and support new development within Midtown.
The second of the broad strategies is an incremental approach to infill development of the adjacent streets and properties. Midtown is already subject to substantial housing demand from students. As it turns out, young professionals and people over 65 are also moving into Midtown.
When existing demand is bolstered by planned public investments like the Travis Bryan Midtown Park and the catalytic projects, the city will need a more efficient and accessible development process than it has today. The plan details 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.
This plan also recommends several changes to current codes and processes. Other recommended changes include new rules allowing cottage courtyards on large lots, accessory dwelling units in backyards and modest text amendments to existing policies and procedures.
- Download the Midtown Area Plan (Large PDF)
How this affects you
Right now, nothing is changing. Any new zoning regulations still have to go through another public meeting, and then through the legal review and approval processes which will take a few months.
Our focus has been on keeping things as voluntary as possible. All aspects of the Midtown Plan are voluntary or won’t be triggered until you develop/redevelop. This is particularly true for existing legal uses on your personal property. (Illegal non-conforming uses and structures built without permits don’t count here.)
So even if a zoning change occurs you can continue using your property as is, if you chose. If you decide to redevelop your property with something new, then we would be able to explain the new rules, if and when they are adopted.
What’s in the plan?
Chapter 1: Executive Summary
This is a stand-alone document that summarizes the plan as a whole and depicts the Midtown area within Bryan. It also introduces the broad strategies of the Midtown Area Plan and explains the motivations that triggered the plan to be created in the first place.
Rendering of possible traffic options for streets in Midtown.
Chapter 2: Midtown Corridor
The Midtown Plan gives recommendations for each of five “Experience Districts.” These districts simply help to give a name to the different areas within the broader Midtown area. Within these Experience Districts are recommendations for how development could occur moving forward as well as voluntary design options for catalytic projects within the areas. There are also public infrastructure recommendations for how the city could redevelop certain roads and sidewalks.
Chapter 3: Market Opportunity Study
At the beginning of this 18-month process, a study was done of the market opportunities within Bryan. The study found that the Midtown area, as well as Bryan as a whole, are on the verge of experiencing significant regional growth as people move into the community. This study informs many of the implementation decisions and directions seen throughout the plan.
Chapter 4: Pattern Book
This book will also be a stand-alone document that acts like a menu for new pre-approved development patterns for the Midtown area. While these have not yet been formally approved, the patterns will only be allowed in specific areas and will be required to be developed with specific site conditions.
Chapter 5: Implementation Workplan
The implementation chapter describes the three specific strategies that can be used to accomplish the recommendations of this plan. This includes near-term and long-term action items with key priority items highlighted. This will be the guidebook that leads to potential changes within the Midtown area. Some of these changes could include:
- A new Midtown Zoning District to allow more flexibility for development along South College Avenue and College Main.
- A recommendation to allow accessory dwelling units to be used as an income property.
- A new ordinance to allow food truck courts in specific situations with key development regulations.
Share With Us on Social
- Social Media Hashtag : #BryanMidtown | Join the conversation by using #BryanMidtown across social media to share your vision.
Guiding Principles, “Experience Districts,” and Goals for Each Area of Midtown
Midtown Planning Area Definitions
- Experience Districts: A focused planning area which incorporates physical, cultural and social realms to align and advance a desired way of living, working and playing while clearly distinguishing the unique personality of an area.
- Influence Area: While not in the core planning area, these areas will need additional attention as they have influence on and are influenced by the adjacent experience district.
- Aligning Principles: An organizing structure that helps align and prioritize multiple strategies within generally approved guidelines.
General Aligning Principles: Midtown Planning Area
- A dynamic and aesthetically pleasing South College Avenue Corridor: One that links a revitalized downtown Bryan to a dynamic Midtown and acts as the economic engine for the surrounding neighborhoods.
- Complete, connected and safe neighborhoods: Areas with convenient access to the goods, services and a wide variety of housing that meets the needs of all ages and abilities. This includes sidewalks and trails, as well as street improvements that enhance the aesthetics and experience of Midtown.
- Future neighborhood infill development: Development that is context appropriate, compatible with existing adjacent structures and addresses needs of projected future demand. This approach takes into consideration the concerns of current residents while continuing to open investment opportunities in Midtown.
- Opportunities to reuse existing structures whenever feasible: A mix of appropriate new development and upgraded current buildings offer a resilient economic approach to the district while cultivating the authenticity of a visually unique area of Bryan.
- Alignment of the cultural, social, legal, financial and institutional structures: Alignments that lead municipal strategies and foster appropriate development to ensure all actions maximize a positive impact.
District 1: Gateway District
This district is a mix of the existing Downtown and the emerging Midtown experiences and acts as a transition between the two areas.
- Enhanced Aesthetics: Coordinate design and implementation of streetscape and gateways along South College
- Repurpose and Densify: Prioritize development on repurposing light-industrial and warehouse space to be used to attract artists, makers, etc., encourage mixed-use and multi-family residential and recruit adjacent neighborhood-oriented services and clustered food/hospitality concepts
- Art & Culture Focus: Develop public art corridor and look to recruit arts organizations to the area
District 2: Railyard District
The district experience is driven by a walkable neighborhood feel that looks to the adjacent baseball park and north park edge as major assets.
- Dynamic Neighborhoods: Promote residential development and neighborhood repair efforts to include a dynamic mix of single family, duplex and small apartment houses appropriate to enhance the current neighborhood fabric
- Play Ball I: Strengthen connection between the surrounding neighborhood and the Bombers baseball stadium in the North Park Area
- Influence Area 2a: Focus on mixed-use and small format multi-family residential
- Influence Area 2b: Use well designed green space and repurposing of existing buildings to buffer the adjacent neighborhoods against the visual nuisances associated with the industrial zone along Finfeather Road.
District 3: Park District
This district is strongly influenced by the proximity to Bryan Regional Park and therefore has three distinct sub-districts to address the unique challenges and opportunities within this pivotal area.
- Eyes on the Park: Prioritize park-facing development to create a dynamic and active park edge
- Enhance Accessibility: Enhance accessibility to park and surrounding neighborhoods through walking and biking to minimize local vehicular traffic , as well as design additional crosswalks, bike-protected lanes, wider sidewalks, on-street parking and other street calming tools
- Cultivate Hubs: Recruit mix of local, regional and national destination food and hospitality concepts, and create appropriate hubs to service park and surrounding neighborhoods
- Coordinated Development: Minimize large, single use parking lots and partner with private development to align parking needs, facilitate public/private agreements to share infrastructure costs on new development and create regulations that remove barriers for quality redevelopment
District 3: Park Sub-Districts
- Cultivate Residential Vibe: Prioritize additional small lot homes and compatible attached housing types to densify streets adjacent to the northern park edge and surrounding neighborhoods
- Play Ball II: Reinforce connection to the Bomber baseball stadium with focus on recruiting neighborhood-oriented services with small format and food/hospitality concepts clustered near the field
- Enhance Neighborhood Fabric: Continue to address the development of stealth dorms within the neighborhood, including on-site parking and lot maintenance, through code revisions that also provide opportunities for compatible small lot single family and attached-family residential where appropriate
- Intentional Development: Allow development of park-facing parcels along Villa Maria near intersection of South College for well-designed mix of hospitality and services, along with detached residential and attached small format multi-family
- Foster Commercial Corridor: Provide an integrated shopping, dining, office and multi-family living options along South College corridor
- Improve Streetscape: Street improvements on South College should balance pedestrian, bike, and automotive traffic to create more connectivity between park and surrounding neighborhoods
- Influence Area 3a: Future development should provide transition between the Park East sub-district with focus on densified commercial and multi-family between South College and Texas Avenue.
- Influence Area 3b: Development should follow Park District General Aligning Principles to enhance adjacent park, help aesthetics of Finfeather Road and minimize visual impact of rail line and adjacent industrial area
District 4: Union Hill
The Union Hill District experience is oriented towards unique culinary, entertainment and service options that provide value to the surrounding neighborhoods, attracts customers from around the region and provides tourism brand building experiences.
- Cultivate Unique Culinary Scene: Focus on enhancing traditional food drivers (Farm Patch, Chicken Oil, J Cody’s, etc.) and create a clustered development plan to enhance this experience with new options, including microbreweries, coffee roasters, cideries, etc.
- Connect to Surrounding Neighborhoods: Enhance the walkability and connectivity for local access and develop new transportation options that connect this area to both Downtown and College Station
- Align Parking Needs: Maximize parking lot investments through managed on-street and shared parking plans
- Focus Development: Recruit additional business mix of restaurants, supportive retail, and entertainment clusters along South College Avenue and Old College Road. Focus multi-family housing along the South College Avenue corridor and guard neighborhoods just off South College Avenue corridor from context-inappropriate development
- Influence Area 4a: Redirect medium density housing and large multi-family projects to more appropriate areas identified throughout the Midtown Planning District
- Influence Area 4b: Strengthen easy walking/ biking connection to Union Hill by orienting auto oriented ingress/egress of multi-family projects from Wellborn Rd and pedestrian focused access facing Union Hill District.
District 5: North of Northgate
As the gateway between College Station and Bryan, this district should be driven by an enhanced residential experience that takes advantage of the proximity to the services and amenities of both Union Hill District and College Station.
- Incorporate Student Experience: Address on-street and off-street parking from multi-family housing and develop effective standards and design conditions for student-oriented housing
- Cultivate Strong Neighborhoods: Focus new development on maintaining a complete neighborhood fabric that may include small format retail, corner stores, paired housing, attached single family, and small apartment houses
- Concentrate Development: Higher density office/commercial and larger multi-family projects should focus on direct adjacency along South College Avenue Corridor and College Main Street
- Influence Area 5a: Multi-family housing should remain a primary focus that reinforces a more pedestrian experience along College Main and auto oriented ingress/egress off Wellborn Rd.
Midtown Zoning: Proposed Standards
The City of Bryan is considering a revision to the South College zoning districts currently located within Midtown. By rebranding this zoning district as the Midtown District, we are also revisiting the development standards for the area.
The standards of these districts are strict and have limited development on a significant corridor that connects Downtown Bryan to the Texas A&M University campus. As improvements are being considered for this corridor, the city would like to consider improvements to the surrounding zoning as well. These standards are likely to be more similar to those that are seen in Downtown Bryan, particularly for those directly adjacent to South College Avenue.
The proposed standards focus on development flexibility and bringing in more mixed-use types to the area. (See summary below.)
Midtown High Density
In addition to the Midtown District, the City of Bryan is also considering a higher density zoning district option. This will allow dense residential growth to be controlled and focused on specific areas where it is considered appropriate.
This district will likely have many similarities to the Midtown District, with specific density-related differences. (See summary below.)
|Proposed Preliminary Zoning Information by District||Midtown District||High-Density District|
|Uses by Density||Mixed-use developments allowed. Detached residential would not be allowed.||Only high-density developments allowed. Lower density units, not allowed.|
|Parking||To encourage walkability, some flexibility with parking may be allowed, if other items are developed, such as bike racks, etc.||Structured parking would be encouraged and fully developed on-street parking would be encouraged.|
|Building Height||Taller buildings allowed along main corridors, similar to Downtown.||Only multi-story buildings allowed. Minimum building heights being considered.|
|Transition Zone||Sets requirements to step down from taller more-dense buildings to the shorter and less-dense properties nearby.||Similar step-down requirements allow very tall buildings to blend back in with medium height and density properties.|
|Setbacks (Build-to Zones)||Build to zone in front setback area to create urban edge. No minimum setback for sides when on main corridors, allowing building code to determine building separation. (Allows buildings to connect across property lines.) Five-foot side setbacks along non-corridors.|
Other Proposed Zoning Changes
Here is preliminary information regarding additional ordinances which would support the goals and recommendations of the Midtown Area Plan.
Food Truck Court
- To encourage walkability, destinations need to be established. Therefore, one of the items we are looking to include in the Midtown District is the use of Food Truck Courts. These courts need specific regulations to ensure that they are clean and safe for all attendees. Therefore this regulation is likely to include requirements for restrooms, ADA accessibility, parking, and open space minimums.
- The City of Bryan is interested in improving the ordinances that regulate trees in Bryan. Healthy trees are important for a variety of reasons, including access to shade and the ability to retain soil and mitigate water. The City would like to ensure that the right types of trees are growing close to public rights-of-way, to provide shade near sidewalks and pedestrians. Additionally, the City wants to ensure that the types of trees that are planted will survive in the climate we live in as well as be able to grow in the clay soils of Bryan.
Here are some definitions of terms that may frequently be seen on this page.
- Midtown Area: Approximately two square miles between Texas Avenue and Finfeather Road, south of Downtown Bryan, to the southern city limits.
- Zoning: Rules for what types of uses are r are not allowed on a property. Includes residential, commercial, and much more.
- Base Zoning District: The underlying rules that say what uses can or cannot be used or developed on a property.
- Overlay Zoning District: A type of district that is added in additional to the base zoning district. The Midtown overlay districts do NOT take away uses, they only add voluntary optional uses.
- Pattern Buildings: Pre-approved building types that the City of Bryan can give to citizens to build.
- Supplemental Criteria: Development standards relating to parking, landscaping, and building location that must be met before a pattern building can be constructed.
- Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU): An additional, smaller home, located to the rear of the main house on a property.
Questions? Contact Us
Lindsay Hackett, Midtown Project Manager
City of Bryan, Texas