City of Tuscaloosa approves ban for student apartments

Local News

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — City leaders in Tuscaloosa are taking steps to prevent future student based mega-apartment complexes from being built in the city.

Mayor Walt Maddox says having so many of the big apartments can cause problems for the city infrastructure and potentially increase crime.

“We want to make sure this hometown stays strong and continues into the future, and our goal is not to serve rich out of town developers. Our goal is to serve the people of this community, and the people of this community quite frankly have had enough of these large-scale student apartments that are draining resources,” said Maddox.

This week, the City Council voted unanimously to extend a temporary moratorium until May 2022. That means the city would not hand out any development permits to allow construction on mega-apartments.

University of Alabama student Anika Woelffer agrees with the measures being taken by the city, but she says the large apartment complexes are also a good thing to attract students.

“I definitely see the problem that’s being caused right there but so many people love those apartments and it’s unfortunate that since they are so big and there is so many of them, it’s taking away from other things that could be built. But at the same time, they are so helpful to the community and students of Alabama. I see both sides of it,” said Woelffer.

Mayor Maddox says there are too many student apartments and that needs to change.

“Well for the last few years, our administration has worked really hard to prevent the continuation of these mega student apartments in our community. You look at where the student apartments are going and that’s right in the center of the city, in the strip area where we have some of the oldest water and sewer lines, so those improvements are very costly and as we know mega student apartments are not tax generators, in Alabama cities, that’s sales tax,” said Maddox.

Maddox says 14,285 bedrooms for apartments were built in Tuscaloosa from 2011 until 2020.

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