Auburn City Council votes against moratorium, sets special election for April 28

Auburn City Council votes against moratorium, sets special election for April 28

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - On Tuesday, a packed chamber watched as the Auburn City Council was unable to unanimously pass an ordinance that would impose a six month moratorium on multifamily housing.

One dissenting vote will require the council to consider the moratorium at their next meeting.

"It is going to be east of College Street and it is what we call our university service zoning district and it's where we have a rather large multifamily unit complex being built right now on the corner of Ross Street and Glenn Avenue," explained Auburn City Manager Charlie Duggan.

Most residents were in favor of the moratorium and believe the city expand what is proposed.

The new complex, 160 Ross, sparked a heated debate among residents over the past several months.

Officials have said there has been no substantial growth in Auburn University's enrollment numbers for the last 20 years and these new complexes are leaving older ones empty.

"I think the current development shocked people. They didn't anticipate something of that size and scale to be built in that part of town," said Duggan.

The proposed referendum would enable city officials to look and see if multifamily unit developments of that size belong in the university service zone.

If they do, modifications could be made.

"We've got a really dedicated professional planning staff so in the next six months they can do some great work and give some great recommendations back to the council," said Duggan.

Council members did pass a referendum asking voters to head to the polls April 28.

Residents will vote on a $5 million referendum and if passed it will apply existing property tax funds from the $5 million fund for construction costs of a new Auburn High School.

"It's a fund we collect every year, but we can't spend it without permission of the voters and so we are intending to do on April 28 is ask voters if we can issue bonds to build a new high school and make some much needed renovations to some other schools," explained Duggan.

If the vote passes, the city plans to borrow more than $77 million to construct the new high school and renovate existing schools.

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