BRYAN, TEXAS CITY COUNCIL APPROVES BAN OF MANUFACTURED HOMES DESPITE CITIZEN PROTESTS
Tuesday’s Vote Will Be “Null And Void” If Protest Petition Signed By 570 Property Owners Is Certified
For the genesis of this story, click our recent post, “Bryan, Texas Planning and Zoning Propose Ban On Manufactured Homes In The City.”
After a little more than an hour of public comments, the Bryan City Council on Tuesday evening approved, 5-2, a zoning amendment that would restrict new manufactured home from placement onto any vacant lots within the city. They could still be installed in the city’s mobile home communities.
The zoning change would also phase out existing manufactured homes on private property, stipulating those manufactured homes could be replaced one time before new housing would have to conform with the new zoning.
The majority of the 29 people who spoke during the public hearing made it clear they were against the gradual phasing out of manufactured homes without other affordable options in place.
Opponents to the change repeated concerns of housing affordability and property rights. The Rev. Dan De Leon, the pastor of Friends Congregational Church, characterized the zoning changes as “punitive,” saying it will result in the displacement of low-income residents and foster segregation of the community.
“This ordinance priorities profit and so-called beautification over the dignity and well being of people, “Deleon said. “It will saddle many Bryan residents in MU-1-zoned neighborhoods with a yoke of financial impossibility, forcing people to move out of sight and out of mind from their neighbors.”
Manufactured Home Ordinance Is Far From “Fait Accompli”
To quote baseball legend, Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over until it’s over.” The status of the Council’s action remains unresolved following the meeting. Lacking a supermajority vote, the city secretary’s office will now screen a protest position signed by more than 570 property owners.
The city’s secretary office will need to verify the protest petition turned in earlier in the day by Young Dems BCS, a protest activist group of students at nearby Texas A&M University. If valid signatures were gathered from property owners representing at least 20% of the land area subject to the change or 20% of the adjoining land within a 200-foot notification area, Tuesday’s vote will be “null and void,” City Secretary Mary Lynne Stratta said. A three-fourths vote from the council would have been required for the zoning change to be approved. With Single Member District 2 Councilman Prentiss Madison and Single District 4 Councilman Mike Sutherlands’s votes against the measure, the current vote doesn’t meet that threshold
Sutherland, who had the second vote in opposition, said the measure is “eliminating a whole class of people that I don’t think we need to be eliminated.” He added that the notification card sent to affected property owners wasn’t printed in Spanis, while a significant portion of the affected neighborhoods are Spanish-speaking.
As of Tuesday (4/9/, it was unclear how long it would take for the protest petition to be verified. According to Young Dems BCS, 576 signatures were gathered by dozens of volunteers — along with Presidential Medal of Freedom-winning activist Delores Huerta, who joined them on Sunday — who participated in daily block walks leading up to the Tuesday council meeting.