AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - Student housing creeping into residential areas is causing concern for some Auburn residents.
“It’s removing the old and bringing in the new. The people’s concern is that it’s also forcing people out of the Auburn district,” says ward 1 Councilwoman Connie Fitch Taylor.
Officials say that they hear the resident complaints and don’t want them to feel like they’re getting pushed out of their own neighborhoods.
"Gentrification and some of the implications of that. We acknowledge all of that," says Planning Director, Forrest Cotten.
Officials say that they are starting to see houses that are built like single-family homes, but still intended for college students and now they are looking to the planning commission to make some changes.
"The neighbors never saw it coming," says Taylor.
“Now what we’ve got is a single family product that meets the single family definition, but it’s clearly configured for and designed for students. That’s, quite frankly, creating some neighborhood compatibility issues,” says Cotten. “We are calling them academic detached dwelling units. It has a very specific definition and it will be regulated entirely differently than single family residential detached units. We are trying to develop a regulatory construct to help mitigate that and preclude the continued proliferation of these types of units and this type of housing in existing historic neighborhoods where its simply not compatible and quite frankly not appropriate.”
City officials say that student housing is on track with Auburn University’s growing attendance numbers, but they are keeping a close eye on developments to make sure that the city is not overbuilt
While Auburn is home to a major university, it’s also been named one of the best places to retire, so city officials say that they’re just trying to find a middle ground.