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Tuscaloosa mayor seeks apartment slowdown

January 5, 2019

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — The mayor is asking city leaders in Tuscaloosa to slow down action on any large-scale apartment complexes meant to provide housing for college students.

Mayor Walt Maddox is urging leaders to table any votes on projects that would include 200 bedrooms or more, The Tuscaloosa News reported .

Maddox, in a message last week, told officials it was time to re-examine the effects of student housing on the city. Both the City Council and the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission should delay approving the construction of what he described as “mega” developments.

“Enacting a strategic pause and/or adopting any new zoning ordinances will likely be subject to litigation. To that end, the city must be able to quantify, within the parameters of state law, the need for zoning amendments,” Maddox said in a prepared address. “I anticipate this new review by the council will take several months. During that time, we will be engaging with our stakeholders.”

The University of Alabama has grown rapidly over the last decade, and the city also is home to Stillman College and Shelton State Community College. The city’s landscape also has changed since a killer tornado destroyed hundreds of buildings in 2011.

Maddox formed a student housing task force to examine the proliferation of large-scale projects that sprung up in the city after the twister. Critics contend the growth of student housing has encroached on other residential areas and reduced the amount of affordable housing available in Tuscaloosa.

The proposed construction delay would affect two projects that currently are before the City Council. One would have 490 bedrooms and the other would have 293 bedrooms; both are near the Alabama campus.

The City Council could discuss Maddox’s request on Tuesday.

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Information from: The Tuscaloosa News, http://www.tuscaloosanews.com

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