The Bryan Planning and Zoning Commission will have a public hearing Thursday on a proposal to eliminate the MU-1 mixed-use residential district zoning, which would affect where manufactured homes could be installed within the city limits.
Currently, the mixed-use residential district is the only zoning district that allows manufactured homes on individual lots. A P&Z subcommittee that has been studying conditions related to manufactured housing for several months is recommending that the city’s zoning ordinance be amended to eliminate that district and convert those existing properties to the Residential District RD-5 zoning.
Manufactured homes would still be allowed to be installed in Bryan’s roughly 30 mobile home communities, and existing homes would be grandfathered in. If passed — planning and zoning commissioners will make a recommendation, but the City Council has final approval — the amendment would no longer allow the new installation of manufactured homes on individual lots.
P&Z Chair Bobby Gutierrez said the subcommittee’s research came out of recommendations from the city’s comprehensive plan. The MU-1 zoning was established several decades ago as a temporary zoning classification as the city was still developing, Gutierrez said.
Similar to Bryan’s studies on detached shared housing, the housing type commonly referred to as “stealth dorms” or “Ag shacks,” Gutierrez said the subcommittee found a number of concerns with manufactured homes in established neighborhoods related to quality, lack of price appreciation and compatibility with surrounding housing.
According to a city memorandum, the subcommittee found that “continuing to allow the installation of manufactured homes on individual lots will create conditions having a long-term negative effect on the welfare of the public.”
“It’s our job as a city to make sure we protect everybody and protect their housing options and the values of their homes going forward, because it essentially lowers the values of the house next door,” Gutierrez said.
The majority of manufactured homes in the existing MU-1 zoning are located in Single Member Districts 1 and 2, he said, and about
85 percent of them are not owner-occupied. According to the city, there about 1,800 manufactured homes in the city’s mobile home communities, and 1,700 on individual lots.
Gutierrez described having manufactured homes in neighborhoods as primarily a neighborhood preservation, property rights and zoning issue.
If the recommendation passes, existing manufactured homes on individually platted lots would be considered legally allowed but nonconforming under the new RD-5 zoning. Under state law, the owners of those homes would be allowed to keep their existing manufactured homes on the rezoned properties and would be able to perform a one-time replacement before new housing on the properties would have to conform to the new zoning. The amendment to the zoning ordinance would stop new infill manufactured housing from being placed on individual lots, and over the course of several decades consolidate the housing types into mobile home parks.
Gutierrez said the subcommittee has also recommended establishing a “rolling clock” that limits the installation of previously occupied manufactured home units to only those manufactured within five years of the installation. He said this would be a public safety measure.
A public hearing will be held on the issue at Thursday’s special meeting. Gutierrez said he hopes to hear feedback from individuals who live in manufactured homes on how the proposal would affect them. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at 300 South Texas Ave.