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    Pattern Zoning in Midtown

    The Bryan City Council approved zoning changes in the Midtown area on Sept. 8, 2020, based on the findings and recommendations of the Midtown Area Plan. Here are summaries of these changes, including details about how Pattern Zoning will be implemented, maps that show areas that are “pre-approved” for Pattern Zoning, the building development criteria for Pattern Buildings, a “how to” primer on the process for developing using Pattern Buildings, as well as other zoning changes that have been approved by the city council.

    Ready to Take the First Step?

    Property owners and developers interested in taking advantage of the new Pattern Zoning options should contact Planning Services by calling 979.209.5030 or emailing planning@bryantx.gov.

    These new Midtown Pattern Overlay Districts, will be applied to properties in Areas 1-4 of Midtown, as identified in Midtown Area Plan.

    As growth in the Midtown area continues, we want to make sure that such growth is consistent with the goals and recommendations of the Midtown Area Plan. It is important to note that these zoning changes do not take away any uses that a property owner is currently allowed to have based on their property’s current zoning. It does allow additional options to construct architect-designed building types that are pre-approved by the City of Bryan’s Development Services office.

    How to Apply

    Streamlined Pattern Development Process

    Here’s the process for the Cottage, Flex House, and Apartment House Pattern Building developments. The Midtown Walkup process will be a little more complex due to the size of the development and is still being worked on at this time.

    the process of getting approved to build a pattern building plan


    Step One: Select Pre-approved Pattern Building Type

    • Which patterns are pre-approved for your address?
    • Is there enough room on your lot?
      • Basic Measurements: Building footprints per Pattern Book; Parking spaces 9’ x 20’; driveway width of 12’.

    Midtown Walkup

    The Midtown Walkup is the most dynamic of the patterns, as well as the largest, but measures only about 2,750 square feet in building footprint. With a decent amount of density set in a small footprint, this building includes options for two or three stories, as well as a residential or commercial option on the first floor. Most of the two-story options can be built without an architect, but the three-story option will require an architect and some additional lot development standards. All non-residential uses must be consistent with the underlying zoning district for the property.

    Download Midtown Walkup Plans (Options 1-4)

    Download Midtown Walkup Plans (Options 5-8)

    midtown walkup
    The Midtown Walkup is the most dynamic pattern building in Midtown. It can be two- or three-stories tall and it can range from complete residential units to a ground floor commercial option. There are multiple façade options including residential patios or a tucked in store front façade.
    midtown walkup 2
    The ground-floor flexibility allows for residential or a mixed-use ground floor. If the mixed-use option is selected, all uses must be allowed within the zoning district which the Walkup is located. The residential floor plan is replicated such that each residential floor is laid out the same with four one-bedroom units per floor. The three-story all-residential Walkup can have as many as 12 units.
    midtown walkup 3
    The minimum lot standards for the Midtown Walkup must be large enough for the structure as well as necessary parking. The lot could be as small as 80 feet wide by 80 feet deep in certain situations if the parking needs can be met. Platting a lot of this size will require some additional steps and considerations. While most of the pattern buildings are pre-approved the design requirements of the three-story Walkup are such that an engineer will be required to finalize the site specific details of the larger building.
    midtown walkup two-story slide
    The pre-approval map for the 2-story Midtown Walk-Up shows the areas where the two-story Midtown Walk-up is allowed to be developed by-right. The two-story Walkup is expected to fit within some of the neighborhood areas that are experiencing transition as well as along more significant corridors. Any non-residential uses on the ground floor of the Midtown Walk-Up may only be included when allowed by the underlying zoning district.
    midtown walkup three-story slide
    The pre-approval map for the 3-story Midtown Walk-Up shows the areas where the three-story Midtown Walk-up is allowed to be developed by-right. There is a focus to allow these higher density options closer to significant corridors, while limiting it within low-density neighborhood areas. As mentioned before, any commercial uses on the ground floor of the Midtown Walk-Up may only be included when allowed by the underlying zoning district.

    3-Unit Bungalow (Apartment House)

    The Apartment House, or 3-unit Bungalow, brings a gentle amount of density into neighborhoods while maintaining visual integrity. The apartment house offers three fully independent units that look like a two-story single-family home with a total of about 2,300 square feet. The entrance for the main ground floor unit is in the front with a covered porch. There are two more units, an additional ground floor unit and an upper-story unit. These units are accessed by a shared entranceway located on the side of the structure. The building totals five bedrooms; one unit with one bedroom and the other two units with two bedrooms. Parking is required and must be located to the side or rear of the building.

    Download 3-Unit Bungalow Plans (Option 1)

    Download 3-Unit Bungalow Plans (Option 2)

    Download 3-Unit Bungalow Plans (Option 3)

    apartment house
    The Apartment House, which is also known as the 3-Unit Bungalow, is the City of Bryan’s alternative to ‘stealth dorms”. The Midtown area saw a demand for density as larger homes were built to house multiple occupants. There were many concerns from the community regarding “stealth dorms”, that were taken into consideration with the proposal for the 3-Unit Bungalow/Apartment House.
    apartment house 2
    The Apartment House is a three-unit building, with a total of five bedrooms. It has specific lot size standards to ensure that there is adequate space for parking. Parking is required to be located to the side or the rear of the structure and cross-access alley-style parking in the rear is preferred.
    apartment house 3
    The Apartment House features two ground floor units. The front ground floor unit has two-bedrooms and a private entrance in the front on the home. The rear ground floor unit is a one-bedroom unit with a shared foyer entrance to the side of the home. The second-story unit has two bedrooms and also shared the foyer entrance on the side, but has a separate staircase leading to the unit.
    apartment house 4
    The pre-approval map for the Apartment House, also known as the 3-Unit Bungalow, shows the areas where the Apartment House is allowed to be developed by-right. The pre-approval areas include lower density residential neighborhoods in Midtown, while expanding slightly into the higher density areas. This home appears similar to a large single-family home, and is expected to blend well into neighborhoods. This home also operates as a quiet triplex and can therefore be expected to act as a buffer to the higher density options.

    Flex House

    The Flex House is a simple two-story 1,800 square foot building that can be converted back and forth to a two-unit property with a simple renovation to an interior wall. As a single-family home, it includes three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, with a master bedroom on the ground floor. When divided into two units, the entrance to the second story unit is located to the side, and the entrance to the ground floor unit remains located in the front.

    Download Flex House Plans (Options 1-4)

    flex house
    The Flex House is a three-bedroom home that can be converted into a duplex. The duplex would have a spacious one bedroom master unit on the first floor and a two bedroom unit on the second floor. The second story access is taken from a separate entrance on the side of the home.
    flex house 2
    Once the Flex House is converted to or from a duplex home, the home can be converted back to a single-family home again with a simple interior renovation. The Flex House allows one owner to stay in a property for a long period of time if they would like, and they can alter the home based on their current needs.
    flex house 3
    The minimum lot standards for the Flex House could be as small as 40 feet wide by 75 feet deep. Platting a lot of this size will require some additional steps and considerations. There are specific requirements for parking, and shared alley-style parking in the rear is preferred.
    flex house 4
    The pre-approval map for the flex-house shows the areas where the Flex House is allowed to be developed by-right, within the approval regulations. This is the same pre-approval map as the Cottage because these buildings are very similar in density. The Flex House pre-approval focuses on lower density residential neighborhoods within Midtown and is kept off of the significant corridors.

    Cottage

    The Midtown Cottage is an adaptable building that offers variability through its modular design. Starting as small as 512 square feet in size, this unit can be stacked to create two units or it can be built over a garage for covered parking. Additionally, the cottage could be used as an accessory dwelling unit located behind a new or existing home in the Midtown Area.

    Download Cottage Plans (Option 1)

    Download Cottage Plans (Option 2)

    Download Cottage Plans (Option 3)

    Download Cottage Plans (Option 4)

    cottage house design
    The Midtown Cottage House is a small one-bedroom home that can be used in a variety of ways. The plan includes a single unit with a front porch, an elevated unit over a garage, even a stacked option with one unit over another.
    cottage house 2
    The minimum lot standards for the Midtown Cottage could be as small as 50 feet wide by 35 feet deep, but can be larger as well. Platting a lot of this size will require some additional steps and considerations.
    cottage house 3
    An additional lot layout for the cottage includes use as an Accessory Dwelling Unit , or ADU, located behind a home. The City of Bryan is also working on an ordinance to potentially allow the cottages to be built in a court format with separate lot ownership.
    cottage house 4
    The pre-approval map for the cottage shows the areas where the cottage is allowed to be developed by-right, within the approved rules of course. This includes areas of expected lower density as the pre-approvals are focused on neighborhoods and have not been approved along significant corridors.

    Step Two: Submit Your Application

    • Use a survey of your property as a base for your drawing of your site-specific plan. If you need a survey, compare prices of local licensed land surveyors in town.
    • Make sure it meets all of the necessary development criteria.

    Download the Application

    Download Development Criteria


    Step Three: Application Approved

    • Staff will review your residential site plan to make sure everything meets. If we need any changes, we will let you in an expedited timeframe.

    Non-Streamlined Situations

    • Drainage Reports: A drainage report may be required to ensure no negative impacts on surrounding properties.
    • Property located in Floodplain: Properties with any floodplain will require a Floodplain Development Permit. View Permit Application Here
    • Construction of On-Street Parking: There are certain areas of Midtown where public on-street parking may be constructed and count towards the minimum parking requirements. This will require separate engineering permits and approval from the City of Bryan. Details on the on-street parking standards can be found in Bryan Code of Ordinances Sec. 130-39(d)(3)f.

    Maps: Where are Pattern Buildings Allowed?

    Here are the proposed pre-approval locations for the four Midtown Pattern District Overlays. These maps are intended to illustrate the locations under consideration for these overlay districts. Specific colors may be represented differently on the Bryan Zoning Map. There are four proposed Midtown Pattern Districts:


    Cottage & Flex House
    (MP-CF)

    Map of the Cottage and Flex House pattern zoning district overlay. If you need assistance with reading this map, or have questions about a specific location, please contact the Planning and Development Services Department at 979-209-5030.

    Download Cottage & Flex House PDF

    The Midtown Cottage is an adaptable building that offers variability through its modular design. Starting as small as 512 square feet in size, this unit can be stacked to create two units or it can be built over a garage for covered parking. Additionally, the cottage could be used as an accessory dwelling unit located behind a new or existing home in the Midtown Area.

    The Flex House is a simple two-story 1,800 square foot building that can be converted back and forth to a two-unit property with a simple renovation to an interior wall. As a single-family home, it includes three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, with a master bedroom on the ground floor. When divided into two units, the entrance to the second story unit is located to the side, and the entrance to the ground floor unit remains located in the front.


    Apartment House
    (MP-A)

    Map of the Apartment House pattern zoning district overlay. If you need assistance with reading this map, or have questions about a specific location, please contact the Planning and Development Services Department at 979-209-5030.

    Download Apartment House PDF

    The Apartment House, or 3-unit Bungalow, brings a gentle amount of density into neighborhoods while maintaining visual integrity. The apartment house offers three fully independent units that look like a two-story single-family home with a total of about 2,300 square feet. The entrance for the main ground floor unit is in the front with a covered porch. There are two more units, an additional ground floor unit and an upper-story unit. These units are accessed by a shared entranceway located on the side of the structure. The building totals five bedrooms; one unit with one bedroom and the other two units with two bedrooms. Parking is required and must be located to the side or rear of the building.


    Walkup Two-Story
    (MP-W2)

    Map of the two-story walkup pattern zoning district overlay. If you need assistance with reading this map, or have questions about a specific location, please contact the Planning and Development Services Department at 979-209-5030.

    Download Two-Story Walkup PDF

    The two-story Midtown Walkup is proposed to be allowed in specific locations where the three-story height might not be appropriate for the neighborhood.

    Midtown Walkup

    The Midtown Walkup is the most dynamic of the patterns, as well as the largest, but measures only about 2,750 square feet in building footprint. With a decent amount of density set in a small footprint, this building includes options for two or three stories, as well as a residential or commercial option on the first floor. Most of the two-story options can be built without an architect, but the three-story option will require an architect and some additional lot development standards. All non-residential uses must be consistent with the underlying zoning district for the property.


    Walkup Three-Story
    (MP-W3)

    Map of the three-story walkup pattern zoning district overlay. If you need assistance with reading this map, or have questions about a specific location, please contact the Planning and Development Services Department at 979-209-5030.

    Download Three-Story Walkup PDF

    The three-story Midtown Walkup is proposed to be allowed in many of the same locations as the two-story option. There are additional areas that are considered potentially appropriate for the three-story Midtown Walkup which are being considered as well.

    Midtown Walkup

    The Midtown Walkup is the most dynamic of the patterns, as well as the largest, but measures only about 2,750 square feet in building footprint. With a decent amount of density set in a small footprint, this building includes options for two or three stories, as well as a residential or commercial option on the first floor. Most of the two-story options can be built without an architect, but the three-story option will require an architect and some additional lot development standards. All non-residential uses must be consistent with the underlying zoning district for the property.

    Pattern Zoning: What is it?

    Pattern Zoning is both a development incentive and a zoning tool that could bring faster permitting and lower costs to development projects.

    midtown pattern book


    Pattern Buildings

    The Midtown Area Plan introduces the concept of “pattern buildings” – specific pre-approved building designs for Midtown that can be permitted easily and within a quick timeframe. The pattern buildings for Midtown include four building types, ranging from a one-unit cottage to a three-story mixed-use building. All pattern buildings are optional and voluntary for use, in addition to the existing uses for a property. The plans for these pattern buildings include design variations that can be selected by an applicant who owns property in Midtown. These variations focus on outer appearance to avoid a “cookie-cutter” redundancy in neighborhoods.


    Tool for Development

    Pattern Zoning is both a development incentive and a zoning tool that could bring faster permitting and lower costs to development projects. The pattern-zoning program would be entirely voluntary for property owners and developers. It is regulated through overlay districts which would add an additional use option to be considered when developing a property. Pattern Zoning does not change the underlying base zoning.


    The Guide

    Chapter Four of the Midtown Area Plan, the Pattern Book, is a stand-alone document that will serve as a guide to the various pattern buildings that have been created. While these buildings have not been formally approved yet, they would only be allowed in specific areas and would be required to be developed with specific site conditions.


    General Lot / Development Standards

    Download Development Criteria

    These buildings are proposed to be pre-approved only in certain areas of Midtown, but must comply with specific development criteria for each pattern that guides site layout, parking, drainage, etc. Below is a brief outline of the key regulations for the development of pattern buildings. This is not an exhaustive list of every development standard:

    • Variability: Rules to require variation when many patterns are being developed close together.
    • Parking: Require one space per bedroom located to the side or rear of the structure. When patterns are constructed together in a row of parcels, a shared driveway with a cross access easement is required to create an alley effect. Where sufficient right-of-way exists, on-street parking may be constructed and striped, and may be allowed to count towards the required number of parking spaces.
    • Pedestrian Facilities: Sidewalks must be constructed with pattern buildings and each building must have a walkway that reaches the street.
    • Street Trees: A street tree is required to be planted every 30 feet within 10 feet of the sidewalk to provide shade and greenery.
    • Lot Dimensions and Setbacks: Setbacks shall be set by the underlying zoning, not to be smaller than five feet on the side and rear. The front setback will be established as a build-to zone based on the average façade location of the block, plus 10 feet closer to the sidewalk.
    • Floodplain and Floodway: Standard floodplain review and compliance is still required where applicable.

    Pattern Building Development Criteria (Sec. 130-29(d))

    Download Development Criteria

    1. The same pattern and façade cannot be repeated more than twice in a row.
    2. Parking
      • One parking space per bedroom is required.
      • Parking cannot be built between the building and the street. It must be to the side, or behind the building.
      • Max driveway width is 12 feet.1 Max curb return radius shall be 10 feet.
      • A connected parking lot is required behind the buildings when three or more pattern buildings are built in a row.2
    3. A sidewalk is always required to be built on the same lot as the pattern buildings. The front door must also have a path that connects to the sidewalk.
    4. tree area

    5. A shade tree must be planted for every 30 feet. 3 The tree must be planted between 4’ and 10’ of the sidewalk.
      • Existing trees within 10 feet of the sidewalk can count if they are protected during construction.
    6. There is no minimum lot size based on the guidance of the pattern book, as long as all necessary elements fit on the proposed lots and no substandard remainders are divided off.4
    7. setbacks

    8. Setbacks
      • Side and rear setbacks are 5 feet.
      • Side and rear setbacks next to a street or alley are set by the existing zoning district. (Sec. 62-161)
      • The front setback is actually a “built-to-zone (BTZ)”. The build to zone is the area 15 to 25 feet from the front property line. The front wall of the pattern building must be somewhere in this zone.
    9. Trash cans must not be visible from the street except on trash day. 5
    10. Special standards for Midtown Walkup or 4+ pattern developments
      • End islands shall be installed at the end of each parking row.
      • The island shall have raised curbing not less than six inches in height and encompass an area of not less than 180 square feet for single parking row end islands or 360 square feet for double-row end islands.

    Notes:

    1. Except when the driveway serves more than 4 units or commercial uses. For these, the maximum width is 20 feet.
    2. A cross access easement is required as well as a drive isle that allows for two-way traffic.
    3. Round up or down to the next whole number like normal.
      • Example: If my lot is 60 feet wide, I will need 2 trees: 60 / 30 = 2.
      • Example: If my lot is 50 feet wide, I still need 2 trees: 50 / 30 = 1.66, which rounds up to 2.
      • Example: If my lot is 40 feet wide, I only need 1 tree: 40 / 30 = 1.33, which rounds down to 1.
    4. A replat complying with state and local requirements is needed for any subdivision of land.
    5. Buildings with four units or less shall not be serviced by dumpsters, unless service is aggregated among multiple parcels.

    Please note: This is a short form list intended to assist in summarizing the development criteria listed in Sec. 130-29(d). This document is not a replacement for the existing ordinance. All specific regulations found in said ordinance shall remain true and enforceable.

    Other Zoning Changes

    Here is information regarding additional ordinances which will support the goals and recommendations of the Midtown Area Plan.

    Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

    • An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a small detached single-unit structure, generally located behind a house. At this time, the City of Bryan has a regulation that requires all ADUs to only be allowed with prior approval of a conditional use permit, and if approved, they are only allowed to be resided in by people that are related to those in the main house.
    • The City of Bryan is considering an ordinance to allow ADUs to be allowed by right as a rental in the Midtown area, without prior approval of a conditional use permit. This means a property owner could potentially build this additional smaller detached home behind a main house and it could be rented out to a tenant.
    • If the proposed ADU ordinance is approved for Midtown, allowing these home by right and allowing them to be rented, then this would not change the regulations for the rest of Bryan (areas not within Midtown). This is only being proposed for the Midtown Area at this time.

    Cottage Court

    • This additional ordinance would be considered to allow for a court style development of small homes or cottages. At this time, multiple residential buildings are only allowed to share a single lot on land zoned Multiple-Family Residential District (MF). This presents some challenges when it comes to the individual sale of homes and encouraging home ownership. So by allowing land to be divided into small lots with small homes, a new part of the market could be opened up.
    • Allowing very small lots to be allowed to be developed together in a court format includes many details that need to be worked out including vehicular access, utility easements, parking count and location, trash can locations, and pedestrian access to public right-of-way. More information will be released as these details are finalized.

    Glossary

    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.

    Ready to Take the First Step?

    Property owners and developers interested in taking advantage of the new Pattern Zoning options should contact Planning Services by calling 979.209.5030 or emailing planning@bryantx.gov.

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