auburn city hall

The Auburn City Council set the ball rolling for a student housing moratorium last month, and the city’s Planning Commission pushed the plan forward by approving it Thursday.

“This particular ordinance actually emanated from some concerns expressed by Mayor (Ron) Anders upon his election back last fall,” said Forrest Cotten, Auburn planning director.

He said that upon Anders’ election, the mayor created a student housing task force. The ordinance was prompted from Anders pressing the issue and Auburn University’s recent student enrollment cap of 25,000 undergraduates, Cotten said.

Anders proposed the plan in December and asked City Manager Jim Buston if the staff could draft an ordinance.

“We have got a large number of beds that we believe that number could be anywhere from 37,000, around that number of beds, that have been dedicated and built for students,” Anders said during the Dec. 5 meeting.

Buston informed the council during its Dec. 12 meeting that an immediate plan could not be voted on. The plan would first need to proceed through the Planning Commission, he said.

The commission vote on the moratorium passed without much discussion, although a public hearing was required.

The moratorium, if enacted by the City Council, will halt any new student housing developments for 90 days. This includes academic detached dwelling units, Cotten said.

“The purpose of the moratorium would be to give the city staff an opportunity to review, assess and recommend potential regulatory tools to consider that could enable to the city to better manage the proliferation of these housing products,” according to Planning Commission materials for Thursday’s meeting.

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