Stealth Dorms: From Harm to Charm

APA Texas Chapter


Friday, October 19, 2018
10:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. CDT

CM | 1.50

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For over a year, the City of Bryan Planning Department staff and a Bryan Planning and Zoning Commission subcommittee researched possible solutions to address land use and structures commonly referred to as “stealth dorms”, i.e., by-the-room occupancy of single-family homes, in established Bryan neighborhoods. It was concluded that this land use, in the local context also referred to as “AgShacks”, in its unregulated form was harmful to the City of Bryan. The planning process solicited extensive citizen input from residents and the development community, including two public input meetings with input boards and a citizen open microphone, an online survey, media outreach, and many additional email and phone call inputs. 


The result of this was the adoption by the Bryan City Council in February 2018, of new land use definitions, specific development requirements, and the requirement for Conditional Use Permit approval in most zoning districts. Even with these new regulations in place, Bryan recognizes that a more area-specific study is necessary to address not only the land use issue, but related issues that are caused by this use. The session will detail Bryan’s planning experience, methodology, including obstacles and successes, and may offer insights or solutions to other Texas community facing the same or similar challenges in established neighborhoods.


Attendees will learn:

1. A hands-on example of a public policy-making process

2. Challenges encountered and lessons learned

3. One approach to regulate areas with homes predominantly occupied by students 


John Bush

John Bush is a Planning and Zoning Commissioner for the City of Bryan. He has been on the Commission since the end of 2015 and currently serves as the Vice-Chairperson. In 2017, he joined in the Planning and Zoning Commission Subcommittee regarding “Stealth Dorms” and assisted in developing the recently ... Read More

Lindsay Hackett

Lindsay Hackett is a staff planner with the City of Bryan with 2+ years of experience in the professional planning world. A fairly recent graduate of Texas A&M, Lindsay has a Master's of Urban Planning and Bachelor's of Urban and Regional Planning that she achieved through the ... Read More

Martin Zimmerman

Martin Zimmermann, AICP, is an experienced development manager with 15+ years of service for Texas cities, including 12+ years with the City of Bryan, with progressively responsible experience in urban planning, building permits and inspections, code enforcement, and community development, including 9+ years at the managerial level with personnel management ... Read More

Contact Info

Barbara Holly,