Item 66 amendments

Only City Council members and authorized staff are allowed to post on this message board.
Lauren Hartnett
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed May 22, 2019 2:13 pm

Item 66 amendments

Post by Lauren Hartnett »

On behalf of CM Harper-Madison:


Below are the amendments I presented during yesterday’s work session. I look forward to tomorrow’s conversation and furthering our shared goal of allowing more housing in all parts of our city.

Amendment 1: Options for compatibility setback distances
Amendment Text: ... 134000.pdf

Rationale: Directs staff to evaluate a suite of options and bring back a comprehensive analysis of each one so we, as a full-body, can make a data-driven decision about what’s appropriate when it comes to establishing compatibility trigger distances.

Amendment 2: Corridor Definitions
Amendment Text: ... 134035.pdf

Rationale: Ultimately, the desired goal is to designate corridors in a manner such that our new housing supports our transit investments, as well as our mobility, safety and climate goals, by enabling walkable, complete communities.

Additionally, we should avoid historic patterns of injustice by providing greater incentives to build affordable housing in the most polluted and undesirable areas for residential development in our city, in comparison to the incentives offered to develop housing along our walkable transit corridors. In my view, it doesn’t make much sense to provide greater reductions in parking requirements along our freeways, which will always be car-dependent areas that are dangerous to get around on foot or bicycle, than we would for developments in proximity to public transit investments and multi-modal infrastructure.

The proposed amendment is just one way we might achieve this goal; however, I believe there are many ways we could ensure the above-desired outcomes and I remain open to suggestions my colleagues might have.

Amendment 2: Missing Middle Compatibility
Amendment Text: ... 134219.pdf

Rationale: Compatibility is defined as “development, building and/or land use that is designed to be able to exist or occur without conflict with its surroundings in terms of its uses, scale, height, massing and location on its site”.

Currently, Austin ensures this compatibility through two categories of compatibility requirements: residential and commercial.

Residential compatibility standards are regulated through the City’s “McMansion Ordinance” and only apply to residential development with two or fewer units. In our current code, anything with 3 or more units is required to comply with commercial compatibility requirements.

In addition to requiring a 25’ setback, commercial compatibility include a list of rigid site design limitations including parking and driveway setbacks. They are also unpredictable with standards varying by site area and lot width.

Residential and commercial compatibility requirements are both intended to minimize the impact of new construction on existing residential neighborhoods. However, the disparity between these two types of compatibility requirements creates a double standard that discriminates against more affordable housing types like missing middle.

Ultimately, means that a residential project with three or more units is required to be smaller in every dimension than a project with one or two units constructed on the same lot. This increases the per-unit construction cost while reducing the amount of allowable development on a site, and effectively kills most missing middle projects before they even start.

Missing middle buildings are intended to have a similar scale to traditional single-family projects. This proposal would regulate compatibility for missing middle through residential compatibility regulations and remedy the issues currently encountered by these projects with commercial compatibility requirements.

For additional context, this case study (pg. 7-13) illustrates the impact of compatibility requirements on the ability to create missing middle housing in Austin’s central neighborhoods using two Blackshear Neighborhood Development Corporation affordable four-plex projects: ... 134326.pdf

Kind Regards,
Policy Director