Under the proposed 90-day moratorium, new academic detached dwelling unit developments, like the one pictured here under construction last spring along Canton Avenue, would not be allowed

The Auburn City Council will have to wait to vote on a citywide moratorium of new student housing developments after city staff informed the body at its meeting Tuesday that the proposed ordinance would have to first come before the Planning Commission. 

The council had planned to vote on the moratorium at its meeting this week after Auburn Mayor Ron Anders proposed instituting a 90-day moratorium at the council's first meeting in December. Auburn City Manager Jim Buston informed the council that any zoning issue in the city must first go through the Planning Commission and that there were legal advertising requirements that would extend the time line as well. 

As such, the Planning Commission will consider the moratorium ordinance at its meeting at 5 p.m. on Jan. 9. The full text of the draft ordinance can be found attached to this article. 

The moratorium would institute a 90-day moratorium on new private dormitories and academic detached dwelling units (ADDUs) in the city.

The council will first consider the proposed ordinance at its meeting on Feb. 18. If unanimous consent is not denied, the council will vote on the item at that time. If passed, the moratorium would not go into effect until the adopted ordinance is published in The Villager on Feb. 27.

In the interim, city staff are working toward recommending changes to the zoning ordinance and building codes that will help "manage the proliferation" of private dorms and ADDUs. The process of formulating those recommended changes is nearing completion, and proposed changes to the zoning ordinance and building codes could come before the Planning Commission and City Council before the moratorium would expire on May 27, assuming it goes into effect in late February. 

The push for a moratorium comes after the Auburn Student Housing Task Force met for the better part of a year, an inventory of student-housing stock was complied by city staff and Auburn University updated its enrollment projections for the next five years. 

The inventory found that the city will have upwards of 36,000 beds that qualify as student multi-family, ADDUs or on-campus Auburn University housing when current projects under construction or considered imminent are completed. Auburn University announced it would keep undergraduate enrollment about where it is now at 25,000 students, while increasing total enrollment to about 32,000 in the 2022-23 academic year.

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