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Changes to Tyler’s zoning laws approved Tuesday could help increase the diversity of housing styles that exist in the city.

The Tyler City Council approved the changes to the city’s universal development code, which is reviewed twice a year.

The new code creates a designation called “neighborhood residential” that allows attached and detached single-family homes on a single lot.

This will be aimed toward developers seeking to build townhome-style housing without dividing up individual plots of land for individual owners.

Developers seeking to build similar townhome-style housing with a higher number of units per acre can choose “planned unit residential.”

Previously, developers seeking to build this type of housing have chosen “planned multifamily,” which is the same zoning designation for building apartments.

Earlier this year, Roosth Properties requested multifamily zoning for townhome-style homes and received pushback from those who perceived that multifamily housing meant apartments for low-income people.

“Most cities in Texas of comparable size utilize a single planned unit zoning district with development proposals being evaluated on an individual, case-by-case basis,” Heather Nick, a managing director for the city, wrote in a memo to the City Council.

“Tyler’s allowance for three types of planned unit residential zoning has resulted in unintentional confusion and concern related to proposed developments of townhomes and detached homes on single lots,” Nick wrote.

Additionally, the changes bring back a zoning type called “two-family residential,” which is geared toward duplexes. That zoning existed historically, but new applications were halted in 2008.

Kyle Kingma, the city’s planning manager, said in an interview Tuesday that the change could spur housing that is affordable to more people.

“One of the No. 1 ways to help address affordable housing is to try to address housing diversity,” Kingma said.

He said different families have different housing preferences based on their life cycles, such as being empty nesters.

“I think this change would help that provide the flexibility,” Kingma said.

TWITTER and INSTAGRAM: @_erinmansfield

Government Reporter

Erin came to Tyler from Vermont, where she worked for and previously the Rutland Herald. She received her B.A. in Economics and Spanish from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she also attended journalism school.

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