Affordability Unlocked Resolution

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Greg Casar
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:20 pm

Affordability Unlocked Resolution

Post by Greg Casar » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:49 pm

Colleagues,

I am excited to be proposing a resolution to create a new affordable housing bonus program for the February 21 Council Meeting. I have asked Mayor Pro Tem Garza, Council Member Harper-Madison, and Council Member Renteria to co-sponsor this resolution. We have worked extensively with Austin’s affordable housing providers to develop a program that will create more affordable housing throughout Austin and help us better leverage our public funds. See the draft resolution here: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 182437.pdf.

The proposal would allow more height, density, and floor space for developments where at least 50% of the homes are affordable and set aside for low income families. A segment of the affordable homes have to be multi-bedroom, or for seniors, or for those coming out of homelessness. We can increase the number of affordable homes in a location by 25%, 100%, or even 500% in some cases through a citywide program such as this one.

I will be giving an overview of the resolution tomorrow during our work session. I look forward to discussing the details answering any questions you may have.

Thanks,
Greg
Gregorio "Greg" Casar
Council Member District 4

Leslie Pool
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:22 pm

Re: Affordability Unlocked Resolution

Post by Leslie Pool » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:38 pm

CM Casar, thank you for laying out your resolution at work session today. I would like to add my name to the resolution as a co-sponsor, if you have a spot available.

I definitely support revising our development bonus program so that we require developers to provide more affordable units when the city gives development bonuses, and I'm glad the conversation is focused on looking for ways to use our leverage for community benefit rather than on giving it away. I have advocated for some time to increase the percentage of affordable units and that a higher number of the units include two- and three-bedrooms. I also like that we're targeting an average income for residents at 60% MFI. So thank you for pulling all these elements together with your resolution.

During today's work session, several of our colleagues also brought up how to ensure that this approach applies equitably across the city, and I think this is key.

I'm looking forward to our further conversations.

Leslie
Council Member District 7

Louisa Brinsmade
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:27 pm

Re: Affordability Unlocked Resolution

Post by Louisa Brinsmade » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:24 pm

On behalf of Council Member Pool:

Colleagues:
In anticipation of our coming work session when this item will be discussed, I’d like to reiterate my support for CM Casar’s revisions to our density bonus program, and express my hope that these revisions will lead to many more affordable units across our city. I have some clarification questions and suggested amendments that may increase the effectiveness of the program. My suggested amended text appears in brackets.

1. I’m pretty certain this resolution is intended to apply to all zoning districts, residential and commercial (excluding industrial), which I support, but I want to make sure. Perhaps the wording on Page 5, line 97 could provide some of that clarity? As of now, it only says, “The Council intends for a residential development that participates in this program to be allowed in any commercial zone, besides industrial zones…”

2. It’s important to clarify what “aging” and “dilapidated” mean when reviewing an existing multifamily project for redevelopment under this program; at the work session, let’s lay out our intentions with this section of the resolution so that our staff is clear as they draft the ordinance.

3. I would like to increase the amount of affordable units provided in the program for those at 30% MFI and below. I recognize that 9% tax credit projects have built in requirements for 30% MFI and below, so let’s have a conversation around the 4% tax credit projects that may be part of this program and discuss the probable need for more subsidy on those deeply affordable units.

4. As many of my colleagues know, I am very interested in achieving more multi-bedroom affordable units that would be attractive to multi-generational households. It’s good to see these types of units included at the high level of 25% of the total on Page 4, line 76, of the eligibility requirements. We have many families experiencing homelessness, so to maintain some affordable multi-bedroom options, I would like to amend the resolution on lines 76-78 in the following way: “At least 25% of affordable units must have two or more bedrooms, unless the affordable units are [supportive housing for single adults] or senior housing, rounded up to the nearest unit.” This amendment leaves open the multi-bedroom provision when the project is providing rapid rehousing or supportive housing for multi-generational households.

5. Page 5, lines 90-94 require the “one for one” replacement of affordable units (market-rate and income restricted) when an existing multifamily project is redeveloped. I’d like to amend this paragraph to guarantee that comparable units are offered in the replacement. This paragraph would then read as follows: “The property owner agrees to replace the affordable units (market-rate and income restricted) one for one, grant current tenants a right to return to the development [to a comparable unit] after redeveloping or rebuilding, set rents so that current tenants are able to afford to return, and provide relocation benefits that are consistent with Uniform Relocation Act.”

6. This question was posed by other colleagues, but I would like to pose it again here: How will we ensure that mixed-use projects that participate will provide an adequate number of affordable units in exchange for the program benefits? For instance, without explicit requirements, a mixed-use development may be able to build a full retail and office project, yet potentially only provide three (3) income restricted units in the entire building and still obtain all of the program benefits. To clarify eligibility, let’s consider including a minimum residential square footage percentage on participating projects.

7. Finally, I would like to include a direction to the City Manager to return to us with an annual analysis/report on how well this program is performing across the city and within each of our districts. This would be part of NHCD’s annual report on our overall Strategic Housing Blueprint implementation. We then have the opportunity to tweak the program with improvements as needed.

I look forward to our discussion next Tuesday on this resolution, and hope that laying out my comments and suggested amendments here will make our conversation more efficient.

Leslie Pool
Policy Advisor
Office of Leslie Pool, Council Member District 7

Greg Casar
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:20 pm

Re: Affordability Unlocked Resolution

Post by Greg Casar » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:05 am

Colleagues,

Here is version 2 (version 1 is in backup) of the Affordability Unlocked resolution, which I will go over during work session: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 090218.pdf

Also, here is my presentation from the 2/5 work session: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 173954.pdf

Thanks,
Greg
Gregorio "Greg" Casar
Council Member District 4

Ann Kitchen
Posts: 128
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:04 pm

Re: Affordability Unlocked Resolution

Post by Ann Kitchen » Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:06 pm

Hello all,

I want to share additional proposed language to the most recent resolution, version 2, that has been posted. It is a work in progress but wanted to go ahead and share.

Updated version:

http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 75407.docx
Ann Kitchen
Council Member District 5

Greg Casar
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:20 pm

Re: Affordability Unlocked Resolution

Post by Greg Casar » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:14 pm

Thank you, Council Member Kitchen, for posting your proposed edits. I am reviewing them now.

Greg
Gregorio "Greg" Casar
Council Member District 4

Ann Kitchen
Posts: 128
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:04 pm

Re: Affordability Unlocked Resolution

Post by Ann Kitchen » Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:05 pm

Hello all,

I want to provide an updated version. Change is limited to the final be it resolved.

Updated version:
http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 50021.docx

regards,
Ann
Ann Kitchen
Council Member District 5

Ann Kitchen
Posts: 128
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:04 pm

Re: Affordability Unlocked Resolution

Post by Ann Kitchen » Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:41 pm

Hello all,

I am continuing to fine tune language. Latest update provides added clarification on page 4 of 7 related to waiving of parking requirements upon approval of a Transportation Demand Management Plan by the City Traffic Engineer. We expect staff will be able to develop a simple TDM process that is tailored to the size of the development and is beneficial to the residents in providing more options to get around.

http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 73345.docx
Ann Kitchen
Council Member District 5

Greg Casar
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:20 pm

Re: Affordability Unlocked Resolution

Post by Greg Casar » Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:08 am

Council Member Kitchen,

Thank you for sharing your amendments. I am working now to incorporate what I believe is the intent of all of your amendments, but some have different specifics or are in a different format. I will hand out the newly amended version of the resolution on the dais when it’s ready. I look forward to discussing it with you and our colleagues, and achieving our shared goals.

Thank you,
Greg
Gregorio "Greg" Casar
Council Member District 4

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