FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bryan, TX—On April 9, Bryan City Council will vote on the MU-1 ordinance, which displaces poor people by taking away their right to live in manufactured housing in neighborhoods zoned as MU-1.
Young Dems BCS calls on the community to join us for daily blockwalks in affected neighborhoods to collect signatures for a petition. The petition will force a 3/4 vote and apply pressure to council member Reuben Marin (District 1) and Prentiss Madison (District 2)—both of whom are up for reelection this fall.
Blockwalks leave from the parking lot of 307 S Main Street every weekday at 5:15 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday at 12 noon.
Hundreds of families will be negatively affected by this ordinance if it passes. Planning & Zoning is eliminating a major form of affordable housing without offering any alternatives in its place. This could further exacerbate Bryan’s affordable housing crisis, which a recent report by the Bush School called “the most pressing concern facing the Bryan/College Station community.” Many apartments rent by the room, which low income families cannot afford.
On Thursday, March 28, Bryan’s Planning & Zoning Committee held a town hall to “take public opinion into consideration.” During public commentary, 30 Bryan residents spoke out against the MU-1 ordinance, and zero residents voiced approval. Ignoring the voices of their constituents, the Planning & Zoning Committee unanimously approved the ordinance anyway.
At the Town Hall, Planning & Zoning Committee member Paul Torres said that he lives in a brick house in a neighborhood zoned MU-1. He told the crowd that he would not want to live next to a manufactured home, as it would negatively impact his property value. By saying this, Torres admitted to a conflict of interest and, thus, should have recused himself from the vote. However, he did not.
Members of Young Dems BCS, a local group of young people working to help the community in Brazos County, are joining with concerned community members to demand that Bryan City Council throw out this unpopular ordinance and side with the people instead of developers.
Wealthy residents are the job creators of Bryan. If wealthy residents want to stop living next to poor people, they should pay them a living wage instead of relegating them to the mobile home parks where they are “out of sight, out of mind.”
If wealthy residents do not want to look at an “eyesore,” they should invest in community beautification.
The members of the Planning & Zoning Committee, from their position as real estate brokers and investment bankers with homes valued well above the local average, seem to hold a misguided notion that people with low incomes choose to live in manufactured housing. Many do not have the luxury of choice. They simply want to live on the land they own in the structure they could afford.
Residents who live in manufactured housing in an MU-1 zoned neighborhood will be “grandfathered in” to the new zoning (RD5000) and allowed one replacement structure. Planning & Zoning repeated this throughout last week’s town hall, saying that residents “will not be affected immediately.” However, this gives little comfort to those affected, because it’s still a promise that they will one day have to uproot their lives. Starting over costs money, and many of those who live in manufactured housing are barely surviving on a low income. Residents should be able to live in peace without the threat of displacement and potential homelessness looming over them.
With this ordinance, Planning & Zoning hope to relegate all future manufactured housing to mobile home parks, which is why some residents referred to the ordinance as “segregation” during public commentary. Mobile home parks often charge a monthly fee of $400 or more to rent the lot within the park. Many people cannot afford the monthly lot rental fee, and would rather own a piece of land that appreciates in value if they can afford it.
Those who wish to attend our daily blockwalks should bring comfortable shoes, their smartphone, and a car phone charger. We also encourage you to bring a clipboard. Follow Young Dems BCS on Facebook for updates.