Waco approves new zoning ordinance

A proposal to expand the college and university neighborhoods district to the area bound by University Parks and East Loop 340 Access Road did not pass in a Tuesday city council vote. The proposal would have regulated student-related housing development in that area. Photo credit: Richard Hirst

Waco City Council unanimously passed Ordinance 544 on Tuesday night, which will expand the college and university overlay to the area bound by University Parks and East Loop 340 Access Road.

The ordinance will expand zoning restrictions to impede student housing development in that area. The new zone, called Zone 3, expands upon the housing restrictions currently in place in the areas bound by 3rdStreet and Oakwood Avenue and 18th Street and Jack Kultgen Expressway. The new regulations will restrict building height, architectural features, and parking requirements.

The rezoning was brought forward to create a buffer between single-family housing to the South and student apartments to the North. In a July city council meeting, Waco residents expressed frustration with the student apartments that were being developed in areas that are meant for single-family homes.

The new ordinances will prevent developers from building single-family homes meant for multiple student residents or student apartments. Non-residential uses of land in that area, such as agriculture and farming, were exempted from the new zoning rules.

City Planning director Clint Peters expressed the zoning commission’s approval for the project before it was put to a vote.

The ordinance will be considered under a second reading on Oct. 6, like most other city council regulations.

The Tuesday city council meeting also featured a second reading of Ordinance 572, which approves Baylor University’s enforcement of traffic laws on campus. Under the ordinance, Baylor may enforce vehicle operation regulations in certain on-campus areas.