The city of Bryan made another step forward in its Midtown development project this week by releasing the Midtown Area Plan.
The 80-page document is the product of more than a year of community input and staff efforts. The plan is meant to guide the city through redevelopment of about two square miles surrounding the former municipal golf course on West Villa Maria Road, from historic Downtown Bryan to the city limits shared with the City of College Station and generally bound by Finfeather Road to the west and South Texas Avenue to the east.
The plan includes recommendations for five “experience districts” within the area, a market opportunity study, a section that outlines pattern zoning — a new type of zoning that includes pre-approved building patterns — and an implementation work plan.
Staff will present the plan to the Bryan City Council on March 17, but no action will be taken. There will be one last public meeting on the plan at Crockett Elementary on March 23. Staff will present the plan to the Bryan planning and zoning commission on April 2 to give a recommendation to the city council, and on May 12 the Bryan council will take action at the regular meeting.
Project Planner and Midtown Project Manager Lindsay Hackett said nothing is changing right now, and that even if the plan is approved, changes made by property owners are not required.
“We’re trying to keep it as voluntary as possible,” she said. “We get that change is hard and can be scary when people are saying that your zoning might change. It is really building in more flexibility for development, particularly for those along South College Avenue.”
Hackett said staff adjusted portions of the plan based on resident feedback from workshops and surveys. Some of the most notable decisions based on feedback, she said, are reflected in the outlined pattern designs. Since residents showed an interest in things such as cottage-style homes, the plan catered to those types of designs.
The upcoming public meeting will be more of a chance for people to ask questions than have major items in the plan changed, Hackett said. However, she said the exact location of specific zoning changes will still be up for some discussion if people near the edges of the boundaries have a strong desire to be included or excluded.
Hackett said base zoning will not be changed for many people as a part of the plan, so zoning changes that are made essentially will be an addition to existing zoning.
The five experience districts are Gateway, Railyard, Park, Union Hill, and North of Northgate. Each district has recommendations for how development could be done moving forward and a project that gives each place its own unique characteristics. Union Hill, for example, is identified in the plan as having a “food-centric identity.”
Residents also can fill out a short survey to give their opinion on the plan. Hackett said it is meant to be somewhat interactive, so if someone expresses disapproval, they are given a chance to expand on their reason and learn who may be able to answer questions.
Hackett said the plan includes many details on what Midtown could look like, and the last few pages consolidate what the long- and short-term steps will be if the plan is approved.
“The people we’ve talked to have given us really positive feedback,” Hackett said. “I think that it’s going to be opening up more opportunities for a lot of people.”
To learn more or download the plan, visit bryantx.gov/midtown.