Auburn leaders trying to put a hold on student housing expansion

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By Jordyn Elston, WSFA

The expansion of student housing in Auburn is causing some concern for city leaders, and now work is being done to put a temporary hold on student housing growth.

After crunching all of the numbers, city of Auburn officials say that there are more student housing beds than students.

“The university adopted a plan that basically stated that they are keeping their undergraduate enrollment around 25,000 and their graduate enrollment will be anywhere from 6 to 7,000. So that number roughly ends up at about 31 to 32,000. The inventory of beds that we took as a city, that number is well over 37,000,” said Auburn Mayor, Ron Anders.

Anders says that Auburn University has about 32,000 students, but there are about 37,000 beds designed specifically for students throughout the city and that it might be time for the city to step in. The moratorium went to the planning commission first because it could potentially include some zoning changes. It was unanimously approved. The next step is for it to be passed by the city council.

“What we simply want to do is take a 90-day pause and evaluate what tools do we have to possibly mitigate the continued over-saturation of student housing in Auburn,” said Anders.

Ninety days isn’t that much time so Anders says that even though the moratorium hasn’t been approved by council yet, the student housing task force is already thinking of some ideas.

“It’s not something you can do very quick. It has to be methodically put into place. While it’s methodically being put into place, we’re going ahead and vetting the potential new ideas so we’re ahead of the game,” Anders said.

Anders said that they’re taking a holistic approach and that hopefully at the end of the 90 days, they’ll have a permanent solution.

The moratorium will be presented to the city council at the first February meeting.

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