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College Station Association of Neighborhoods

"No More Than Four" (NMT4) Occupancy Enforcement
Begins June 1, 2024
A College Station ordinance (since 1939) limits occupancy of single-family homes to a maximum of four unrelated individuals. 
Some important points to know about the new enforcement effort:
- Complaints can be initiated by any citizen through  See-Click-Fix or by calling Code
     Enforcement at 979-764-6363. The complaint WILL be investigated.
- Code Enforcement will also be proactively investigating properties they believe are in
     violation of occupancy limits.
- The definition of "related" was recently refined to include families of any size, non-traditional
      families, siblings living together, etc. For instance, two siblings living in a house can have
      three unrelated housemates, two sets of siblings can have two unrelated housemates.
- A violation is now considered a civil offense, i.e. a parking ticket. This change lowers the
     burden of proof for easier, faster adjudication while keeping a conviction off a person's
     criminal record.
- Evidence, based on interviews with occupants, the number of vehicles parked near a
     residence, etc., can be collected ONLY by City personnel. Photos, etc. provided by residents
     can't be used in court, but may help document the scope of the problem for future reference.
- Texas A&M's Off Campus Student Services (OCSS) has been conducting a vigorous education
     campaign ("Remember Me + 3") directed at students, parents, landlords, property managers
     and anyone else they can think of to inform them of renewed enforcement of NMT4. The
     excuse of "I didn't know" from anyone is simply no longer acceptable.
- If a student is found to be a "ghost tenant" (their name is not on the lease) they must relocate
     as soon as possible or face additional fines. OCSS will work closely with local apartment
     and property managers to find housing for these students. Non-students are on their own.
- Occupancy is based on the number of people living in a house, not the number of bedrooms. 
     Many "stealth dorms" were intentionally built/remodeled to violate the NMT4 ordinance.
     Unless the property has been granted a HOO (High Occupancy Overlay) it is still limited to
     four unrelated individuals. "It's OK there's five of us here, there's five bedrooms" is not an
     acceptable excuse.
CSAN, other civic organizations, supportive City Council members, City Staff and, recently Texas A&M, have spent years and an untold amount of effort getting NMT4 to the point of active enforcement. 
You, our neighborhood partners, know the goings-on on your street better than anyone - you are the "eyes and ears" of NMT4 compliance.

Report violations!

We must prove that the problem is real and that the City is serious about following the law. But, just as importantly, we must do our best to make sure complaints are valid and provable. Understand and respect the legal process that the City must follow. Nothing will harm the NMT4 effort more than a deluge of complaints that can't be supported with evidence.
Shared Housing, Middle Housing, ROOs, HOOs, and the Housing Steering Committee ... big changes to help preserve our single-family neighborhoods.
Restricted Occupancy Overlay (ROO)
- The ROO was created in 2022 to give neighborhood residents the opportunity to limit
     the number of unrelated occupants in a home to two. Families of any size or type are not
     restricted in any way.
- The definition of "related" was more clearly defined during the adoption process so that
     non-traditional families would not be discriminated against.
- Phases of a subdivision must follow a strict application process involving notifications,
     neighborhood meetings and voting. Phases may work together to educate and inform
     their residents, but must follow the application process separately.
Follow the links in the section below for detailed information on the ROO.

Shared Housing
- A new building classification for residential structures, reviewed during permitting.
- It basically determines what is a true single-family residence and what is an
     "Ag Shack" or "stealth dorm," something that has been missing from our codes.
- There are a number of criteria that will be used to determine what will be considered
     "Shared Housing," but a critical one is more than four bedrooms/baths. Structures
     with four or fewer may still be considered shared housing based on other criteria.
- Shared Housing will not be allowed to be built in single-family neighborhoods. Existing
     structures will be grandfathered in.
High occupancy Shared Housing will no longer be automatically included in the
     new Middle Housing zones.
- Since inception, the City has denied ALL building permits for Shared Housing
     structures in single-family neighborhoods. Prior to the change, 20-40 permits for
     "Mini-dorms" or "Ag Shacks were typically approved per year.
      CLICK for the characteristics that define a "Shared Housing" structure.

Middle Housing
- A new zoning classification adopted by the City in October 2023.
- Middle Housing zones allow a higher unit density than currently exists. The City solicited
      and received considerable public input, mostly negative. As a result, a few proposed
      areas were completely removed from consideration and nearly half those remaining
      were recommended for Middle Housing, but NOT Shared Housing. 
- Properties in Middle Housing zones will no longer be required to go through the
     rezoning process as they do now. They must only adhere to construction and
     setback requirements. 
CLICK to go to the Middle Housing page for maps, information and a FAQ.

High Occupancy Overlay (HOO)
- HOO designated areas will allow more than four unrelated individuals to legally occupy a
     housing unit. This change should provide additional beds for students "displaced" by
     enforcement of the four-unrelated ordinance.
- The HOO was created to give the City increased planning flexibility and give the public
     a much greater opportunity for input via the rather involved Overlay process.
     A number of areas have been approved for Middle Housing, but NOT for the
     HOO, thus helping to preserve neighborhood integrity.

The Housing Action Plan Steering Committee
- The City of College established the Housing Action Plan Steering Committee in the fall
     of 2023 to "Advise and make recommendations for the City of College Station
     Housing Action Plan in order to present a unified vision for the future, and to
     recommend for approval a final plan that reflects the community's vision for housing
     action and initiatives." (from Resolution charge.) The Committee should complete its work by
     October 2024.
- The Committee includes 13 members, three of which are current or former CSAN Board
- City Staff and members are supplying highly detailed analyses of current housing and
    economic conditions and reviewing many articles on how other cities are handling their
    housing issues.
- Of particular concern is the dwindling supply of affordable and workforce housing within
     the College Station city limits.
For a much more detailed discussion of  what these new classifications will and won't do 
Can You Do the ROO Too?
Click for steps to take before you contact the City and a detailed list of neighborhoods that can likely get the ROO.

Southwood Phases 1, 2, 2A, 6, 7, 9, 10, and Camelot Phase 2
are the newest ROOs!

130 lots, Southwest Pkwy, Bee Creek, Guadelupe Area 
Congratulations neighbors for all you hard work!
Who owns all those rental properties? 
A lot of out-of-town investors, that's who.
CLICK to see a breakdown.
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