Conroe City Council members voted 3-2 to increase the minimum lot size from 40-foot-wide lots to 50-foot-wide lots May 26, a decision that comes just two weeks after council members voted against increasing the minimum lot size in a 2-3 vote during the May 12 meeting, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported. Council members said they believe the pace of development needs to be slowed while city ordinances are reviewed.

“This is temporary. I believe ... that we need to sit back, take a pause and try to develop the best ordinance that protects what we have here and what we’ve had here and also to grow responsibly," Council Member Howard Wood said during the May 26 meeting.

Council Members Curt Maddux and Todd Yancey cast the two opposing votes May 26 with Council Members Marsha Porter, Duke Coon and Wood voting for the lot size increase.

On May 12, Maddux, Yancey and former Council Member Raymond McDonald were the three opposing votes, which caused the ordinance change to fail; McDonald lost his re-election bid to Wood, whose first meeting in office was May 26.

“I think what some on council are trying to do is simply hit the pause button here. I think there’s a thought out there today ... that this is 50 foot and that’s going to be it," Coon said during the May 26 meeting. "There’s two sides of this whole issue; we understand those two sides.”

Developers and representatives of the development community spoke during the public hearing on the ordinance change May 26, stating they believe larger lot sizes will decrease the affordability of homes available to residents.

“Interest rates are increasing, home values are increasing, and I believe that increasing minimum lot sizes inside the city of Conroe is one of the things that will most negatively impact housing availability, housing affordability in the city of Conroe and throughout our region," said Troy Allen, government affairs director with the Greater Houston Builders Association, during the meeting.

Bill Ellison, founder of affordable home builder ASGi Homes based in Conroe, is developing Marie Village just outside the city limits, Community Impact Newspaper reported. During the public hearing May 26, Ellison said he believes allowing smaller lot sizes in the city accommodates the local workforce.

“When you start pushing out the common working class—teachers, firefighters, the police, young military folks, they can’t go afford a $400,000 house. They’re stuck in an apartment," Ellison said during the meeting. "If we don’t keep an affordable market with a smaller lot product, we’re going to push those folks out, and they’re going to go to other areas.”

Maddux, who led the meeting as mayor pro tem in Mayor Jody Czajkoski's absence, said he believes the pace of development needs to pause, but he did not want to decrease the affordability of homes with requiring larger lot sizes.

“I would like to pause, but I would like to pause where we are, and I feel like there’s people out there that purchased a lot of land, spent a lot of money to come up here and do a development. I do think we need to raise the lots [sizes] at some point and have some variance, but I also believe in the American Dream, and the American Dream is to buy a house," Maddux said. "I’m not going to take the American Dream away."

Tommy Woolley, director of capital projects and transportation for the city, said the city determines what ordinances a development falls under according to what ordinances are in place at the time a plat is submitted for a proposed development; ongoing developments that have already had plats approved would not be affected by the change in minimum lot size.

Porter, who made the motion to increase the minimum lot size to 50 feet wide, also requested a committee be formed to discuss what type of variances to the minimum lot size would be allowed. The committee will be made up of City Administrator Paul Virgadamo, Maddux, Porter, a developer and a member of the community, per Porter's motion.