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Single-Family Overlay Districts

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Planning & Development ServicesP.O. Box 9960 | 1101 Texas Ave.College Station, TX 77842 979.764.3570


Single-family overlay districts are special districts that provide additional standards for College Station neighborhoods. These overlay districts are intended to protect and enhance desirable neighborhood characteristics, livability, and harmonious, orderly, and efficient growth and development. Single-family overlay districts can only be applied to neighborhoods zoned and developed for single-family residences.

Creating an overlay zoning district establishes a boundary and the additional regulations only apply to the properties within the boundary. The boundaries of each overlay are determined by the original subdivision, which is also known as a legally recorded subdivision plat. A plat is a map of a subdivision that shows the location and layout of individual parcels of land subdivided into lots with easements, alleys, or streets that is legally recorded with Brazos County.


Neighborhood Conservation Overlays (NCO) are intended to provide additional standards to promote development that is physically compatible with the existing neighborhood and includes options that a neighborhood can select from such as additional standards for building setbacks or height, tree preservation, or fencing requirements.

Restricted Occupancy Overlays (ROO) are intended to provide subdivision-specific occupancy regulations in single-family neighborhoods to restrict occupancy to no more than two unrelated persons per single-family dwelling or accessory living quarter.


Pursing a single-family overlay is a neighborhood-driven process. If your neighborhood is interested, please contact Planning & Development Services at 979-764-3570 to learn more and/or schedule a meeting to discuss your neighborhood’s interest. Please also review the Neighborhood Process Handbooks for the overlay district you are interested in pursuing.

An online application for a rezoning is needed to apply for a NCO or ROO. Certain documents are required including a petition that must include fifty (50) percent plus one (1) of signatures of property owners within the original subdivision in support of the NCO or ROO application, proof of mailed notices, minutes from relevant neighborhood meetings, and a copy of the original subdivision plat. City staff can help you locate the boundaries of your original subdivision and the properties that will need to be included within your application request.

There are requirements for a neighborhood-hosted meeting that invites all property owners within the original subdivision and a City-hosted neighborhood meeting as well. Once the application is deemed complete and the neighborhood meetings are held, City staff will schedule the rezoning request for public hearings at the next available Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council meetings. Staff will present the rezoning request and make a recommendation in support of approval or denial based the facts of the case. The Planning & Zoning Commission will make a recommendation in support of approval or denial to the City Council for their consideration. The City Council is the decision-making body that decides to approve or deny a NCO or ROO request. Neighborhoods are strongly encouraged to give a presentation at the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council meetings to make the neighborhood’s case for why a NCO or ROO is desirable. For full process details and user-friendly templates and timelines, please see the Neighborhood Process Handbooks.



The UDO contains the regulations and process for both the NCO and ROO. UDO Section 3.3 details the process for Zoning Map Amendments (Rezonings). UDO Section 4.1 establishes NCO and ROO as zoning overlay districts. UDO Section 5.11 includes the majority of the NCO and ROO specifications, including the legacy clause (or “grandfathering”) provisions for ROO.


    What is the difference between an “original subdivision” and neighborhood?
    A subdivision is the division of land into one or more lots, tracts, or parcels for the purpose of development. An original subdivision is also known as a legally recorded subdivision plat. A plat is a map of a subdivision that shows the location and layout of individual parcels of land subdivided into lots with easements, alleys, or streets that is legally recorded with Brazos County. A neighborhood is a subarea of the City that shares a common identity. A neighborhood often includes multiple platted subdivisions.
    How are votes counted on the NCO or ROO petitions?
    Fifty percent plus one (50% + 1) of property owners in an original subdivision are required to sign the petition stating their support of the requested overlay. One vote is allocated per property or building plot. If one individual owns multiple properties in an original subdivision, they are allowed one vote for each property they own unless the properties have been developed together and functioning as a single property, which is known as a building plot. Signatures from renters of a property do not count as votes, the signatures must be from the property owner.
    Do I need to live locally to sign the petition?
    As a property owner, you do not have to live locally in order to sign the petition. However, all signatures must be original.
    How does staff determine Yes, No, or No Response votes on the petition?
    Once the petition is submitted to the Planning & Development Services department for review along with the application, City staff will identify all properties included in the original subdivision and review the petition signatures in accordance with the legal description and property ownership information. Only signatures included on the petition at the time of submittal are counted as “yes” votes. Those who contact staff directly stating their opposition to the overlay will be counted as “no” votes, and those who provide no other contact will be considered “no response.” Staff will present the number and type of responses to the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council during the staff presentation.
    How will I be notified that my neighborhood is pursuing an overlay zoning?
    The neighborhood is required to send certified mailed notice to all property owners in the original subdivision stating that a neighborhood meeting will be held to discuss the proposed overlay zoning. This certificate of mailing is required with the subdivision’s zoning application. The City will host a second neighborhood meeting and send mailed notices to all property owners within the original subdivision boundaries. Once the application has been reviewed by Planning & Development Services staff and deemed complete, the zoning request is scheduled for public hearings before the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council. The City will mail notification letters with the public hearing dates to all property owners included within the original subdivision pursuing the overlay zoning and those property owners within a 200-foot boundary of the area included in the zoning request. Notice is not required to be sent by the neighborhood or the City to tenants or renters.
    Are there any existing NCO or ROO districts located within the City?
    Yes, there are two existing NCO districts. One is located within the McCulloch neighborhood and the other covers a portion of the Southside neighborhood. As of January 2022, there are no ROO districts to date. You can view the zoning on any piece of property within the City on this online map. Click the “Layers List” icon in the top right corner to turn on the zoning layer.
    What is the City-wide “no more than four unrelated” occupancy standard?
    The City has limited the number of unrelated persons who are permitted to reside as a single-housekeeping unit in a residential district to a maximum of four since the adoption of its first zoning ordinance in 1940. Since then, the City’s definition has evolved over time to clarify relationships, but a “family” has consistently been limited to no more than four unrelated persons. See UDO Section 11.2 for the City’s definition of family.
    What is the definition of “family”?
    See UDO Section 11.2 for the City’s definition of family.
    How is the existing “no more than four unrelated” enforced?
    The “no more than four unrelated” ordinance is enforced through the Code Enforcement division of the Community Services department. Violations may be submitted by calling 979-764-6363, emailing [email protected] or submitting images through SeeClickFix.
    How did the ROO originate?
    Although previous City Councils have requested staff research the viability of a “no more than two unrelated” ordinance in the past, the ROO discussions originated from the public outreach phase of the NCO ordinance revisions in late 2019. The NCO allows for various physical characteristics to be conserved in single-family zoned subdivisions. Contrary to requests made during NCO ordinance development, staff advised against including an occupancy restriction in the NCO selection list to keep physical and non-physical restrictions as separate overlays.

    The City Council later asked staff to create an ordinance and application handbook that would allow single-family neighborhoods the option to restrict occupancy to no more than two unrelated persons. Council requested a draft ordinance with a process that mirrored the NCO process. There were multiple workshops and public input opportunities on the draft version of the ROO ordinance throughout 2020 and 2021.

    City staff presented the final ROO ordinance to the Planning & Zoning Commission on April 15, 2021 and City Council on April 19, 2021. The majority of the Commission was in favor of recommending the ordinance to the City Council and the Council approved the ordinance on a 5-2 vote.
    How is ROO different than restricting occupancy through deed restrictions?
    The City plays no role in enforcing deed restrictions. Property owners – or a Homeowners/Neighborhood Association, if applicable – are responsible for enforcing their own deed restrictions through private litigation because these restrictions were established by the homeowners, not the City. If a ROO is established within a subdivision, Code Enforcement will enforce the ordinance and the burden of proof is the responsibility of the City, just as in the current, “no more than four” ordinance.
    Can I watch the meetings where the draft ROO ordinance was discussed?
    There were multiple workshops and public input opportunities on the draft version of the ROO ordinance throughout 2020 and 2021. The recordings of those discussion are included below.

    June 18, 2020 Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting (discussion starts at 0:05:52)

    June 25, 2020 City Council Meeting (discussion starts at 0:02:40)

    Aug. 3, 2020 Neighborhood Seminar Supper

    Feb. 8, 2021 Meeting – Public input meeting with the real estate and development community (Passcode: 5v1i+51@)

    Feb. 22, 2021 Meeting – Public input meeting with students (Passcode: yC.xA@6+)

    Feb. 23, 2021 Meeting – Public input meeting with neighborhood organizations and associations (Passcode: @T#jUb5P)

    March 4, 2021 Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting – Workshop item for Planning & Zoning Commission feedback

    March 11, 2021 City Council Meeting – Workshop item for City Council feedback (discussion starts at 0:43:00)

    April 15, 2021 Planning & Zoning Commission meeting – ROO was recommended for approval by the Planning & Zoning Commission (discussion starts at 0:43:00)

    April 19, 2021 City Council meeting - ROO was adopted on a 5-2 vote of City Council

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