Direction for potential Equity Overlay

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Delia Garza
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:20 am

Direction for potential Equity Overlay

Post by Delia Garza » Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:43 am


Thank you to folks who have begun laying out potential code direction.

We all know that the land development code is a major opportunity to address our city’s inequitable land development patterns that have pushed development into our black and brown neighborhoods. It’s imperative that we continue to recognize that current growth patterns and our current code is inextricably tied to our history of segregation. I urge us to continue to emphasize EQUITY in these discussions. This week’s discussion of possibly just zoning all our residential areas in the whole city the same has me deeply concerned that we are losing sight of what equity truly means.

I am grateful that the planning commission and staff have recommended reducing transition areas in gentrifying areas, and increasing missing middle capacity in non-gentrifying and high opportunity areas. This is an important first step in reaching a more equitable proposed code.

As I was looking and analyzing how different tools are used throughout our Land Development Code to address the different planning challenges our city has, I don't believe we have a tool that more specifically addresses equity and the displacement of our most vulnerable populations. I wanted to thank the work done by the UT researchers and the report, “Uprooted: Residential Displacement in Austin’s Gentrifying Neighborhoods and What Can Be Done About It.” The census tracts identified by this study need our attention.

In order to get a more equitable code I propose implementing an “Equity Overlay” that will do the following: 1. provide a boundary of where we should reduce transition areas in vulnerable areas; 2. disincentivize the redevelopment of existing multifamily (I would be open to expanding this outside the overlay boundaries.); and 3. increase onsite affordable housing requirements. The overlay will address affordability and displacement in vulnerable areas. I have been working closely with staff on this and hope to bring more details in the upcoming weeks.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this direction.

All my best,

Mayor Pro Tem, District 2

Greg Casar
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:20 pm

Re: Direction for potential Equity Overlay

Post by Greg Casar » Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:30 am

Thank you MPT Garza. I think an Equity Overlay is a powerful idea. We know we need more housing in our city, and we need a stronger focus on anti-gentrification and equity. This gets us both.

I look forward to supporting the Equity Overlay and a land development code that will prioritize keeping working people and communities of color in our city.

Gregorio "Greg" Casar
Council Member District 4

Lauren Hartnett
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed May 22, 2019 2:13 pm

Re: Direction for potential Equity Overlay

Post by Lauren Hartnett » Fri Nov 22, 2019 3:54 pm

On behalf of Council Member Harper-Madison:

Thank you MPT Garza. For too long, East Austin has borne the brunt of our city's rapid growth. That's why I think it's absolutely imperative that we consider any and every tool in the toolbox that could help us stop displacement and redistribute growth pressures equitably across the entire city. It's my hope that this new land development code and overlay will be a vehicle for reversing a century of de facto segregation by allowing for more complete, mixed-income communities throughout Austin.

Policy Director

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