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Proposed rezoning in City of Bryan passed; will create housing for Blinn students

Posted at 12:27 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 13:27:36-04

BRYAN, Texas — The City of Bryan has approved a change in zoning classification to develop student housing for Blinn college.

But what exactly does that mean for the community?

Newly appointed Bryan City Council Member James Edge said this project could "benefit" the area.

“The goal is to have about 250 Blinn students that can walk across the street to class and they won’t have to actually be out there in the street," Edge said.

"It’s a project that has a lot of promise for the City of Bryan to help out the area and hopefully helps the students enrolled at Blinn.”

The proposed rezoning would take place at the intersection of 2539 East Villa Maria Road and Red River Drive.

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Effectively, the reclassification will turn the 6.2 acres of land from being a commercial and residential district to a "multi-family" one.

The planned complex would be within walking distance from the school.

Texas A&M Professor Shannon Van Zandt with the College of Architecture said this new development should help - not hurt property taxes.

“In order for property taxes to rise, housing values would have to increase and that is happening regardless of any new developments,” Van Zandt said.

“I don’t foresee this particular development having an impact on surrounding property values.”

However, nearby residents took to the council another concern - potential flooding.k

Residents like Jim Wooley said at a recent council meeting that flooding in their neighborhood could be potentially worsened by the new complex.

“Our conclusion is that the existing drainage infrastructure in our area is already not adequate to deal with heavy rainfall events,” he said.

“The proposed development would only make [flooding] worse.”

Van Zandt responded to this when interviewed, adding that the city needs to adequately plan to ensure flooding is not a problem.

“The residents are right to be concerned about flooding, new development does tend to cause more runoff so the potential for flooding is there but there are ways to mitigate and the city should be taking steps to make sure that happens.”

Councilman Edge also said this project won’t affect the taxpayers but help that area of Bryan flourish.

“I don’t really believe this will affect their property values in any way – I feel it is going to be a net gain for the city,” Edge said.

“Obviously a 28-million-dollar project - there has been no incentive given to the developers,

"So there are no tax breaks they are getting, so it will be put into that property that has been vacant,”.

“This will be a net gain for the taxpayers of Bryan.”

Now that the vote has passed, the next steps to further this project would be for applicant Justin Walton to bring his proposal to the Bryan city staff.