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Land Use

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CITY GROWTH AND ANNEXATION: Properties in the city limits are subject to zoning, which regulates land use, lot dimensions, and building form. The city continues to offer development agreements according to the Texas Local Government Code to the property owners of agriculturally appraised land, which protects the land from annexation for 10 years if the property maintains agricultural status and remains undeveloped. Upon completion of that 10-year term, the city can choose to extend the agreement or annex the property.

PLATTED GROWTH: The platting process prepares a property for development and subdivision by ensuring it can be served by utilities, can access the transportation network, and meets applicable zoning dimensional standards. Platting is also the principal way the city obtains necessary right-of-way and utility easements to meet the demands of growth. Growth and platting activity during College Station’s early years reflects the influence of Texas A&M as the physical, economic, and social center. Over the years, platting activity has steadily expanded outward, particularly to the south. The city is expected to process more plats in the extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) with its recent expansion from 31⁄2 to 5 miles. Under interlocal agreements, the city and Brazos County both review plats in the city’s Brazos County ETJ, while the city does not review plats in Grimes or Burleson Counties.

FUTURE LAND USE AND CHARACTER: The Future Land Use and Character Map is the part of the city’s Comprehensive Plan that represents the community’s desired future land use pattern. Those who seek a zoning change either need to comply with the Future Land Use and Character Map or seek a Comprehensive Plan amendment.

ZONING: Zoning provides a property’s legal entitlements regarding the types of allowed land uses, dimensional standards, and form. At the time of annexation, land is given the residential/agricultural zoning classification of Rural, with the expectation that a rezoning request will be made for new development that requires a more intense classification.

EXISTING LAND USE: As adequate infrastructure becomes available and properties are available for development over the next 10-year planning horizon, the amount of undeveloped land is expected to decrease and the discrepancy between the existing and the proposed future land uses as defined in the Comprehensive Plan will decrease.

RESIDENTIAL LAND USE: College Station offers a variety of housing types, from single-family homes on a variety of lot sizes to apartments, duplexes, and townhomes. About 28 percent of land in College Station is used for non-rural residential while the Comprehensive Plan anticipates that this could increase to 49 percent at buildout. In addition to this increase in residential acreage, the city has also seen projects with increased density, particularly in the Northgate Redevelopment Area. The proximity of Northgate to a large university population has encouraged the development and redevelopment of various residential and commercial uses in the area. Over the past two decades, the city has invested over $30 million in the area’s infrastructure, which has supported and is expected to continue to support multi-story redevelopment.

COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL LAND USES: Just over half of the land area that has been planned for commercial and industrial uses has been developed for such uses. The Future Land Use and Character Plan calls for approximately 2,780 acres (or roughly 10 percent of the city) of commercial and industrial land use, including Business Park, General Commercial, Suburban Commercial, Wellborn Commercial, and Wellborn Business Park designations. Because of the plan’s flexibility, commercial can also be developed on properties designated as General Suburban, Urban, and Urban Mixed Use, in certain circumstances. Approximately 1,778 acres have been commercially and industrially developed, the majority for retail commercial uses that cater to the general population and attract regional sales tax dollars.

UNDEVELOPED AND AGRICULTURAL LAND USES: Approximately, 9,386 acres of the city are undeveloped or have rural or agriculture uses. The majority of this land is unplatted and has a zoning designation of Rural. The Future and Land Use Character Map shows these areas designated for a mix of future land uses.

ETJ LAND USE: With the expansion of the city limits comes an expansion of the extraterritorial jurisdiction. In July 2018, the city extended its ETJ boundary from 31⁄2 miles to 5 miles outside the city limits. The city does not have zoning or land use controls in the ETJ but regulates the subdivision of land with the county. Per the Unified Development Ordinance, lots in the ETJ must be a minimum of one acre or be serviced by a Municipal Utility District (MUD). College Station’s ETJ has experienced a significant amount of development in recent years. Southern Pointe and Millican Reserve are two large MUDs starting development in the ETJ. In 2017, Southern Pointe received approval for a preliminary plan with 1,994 single-family lots on 553 acres. Millican Reserve is projected to have about 1,900 single-family homes on 2,354 acres.

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