HOME and Occupancy Limits

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Natalie Deller
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2022 3:12 pm

HOME and Occupancy Limits

Post by Natalie Deller »

On Behalf of Council Member Qadri

Colleagues,

I was unable to attend today’s work session, so I wanted to provide some remarks and speak to a few goals I have for HOME and occupancy limits amendments.

We’re very grateful for Preservation Austin and Austin Infill Coalition’s enthusiastic collaboration with the Planning Commission Working Group and our Council offices that helped get us to a simple and effective historic preservation incentive.

As the district with the largest number of homes built before 1960, District 9 has the most to gain from this preservation incentive and the most to lose without its passage. 45 percent of homes in District 9 were built before 1960, and the median home age in District 9 is 1948. Please see this link for appraisal data estimating housing age by council district: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 124029.pdf.

The Preservation Bonus is a wonderful addition to Council Member Pool’s HOME Initiative, helping preserve community character and history while utilizing our existing housing stock to its fullest.

I want to take a moment to highlight what is next. While City staff is ensuring the ordinance language incorporates preservation best practices, I’d like to work with Law to make a motion that ensures the Historic Preservation Office coordinates with Development Services staff on review and implementation of the preservation bonus to ensure it is used to its maximum potential.

As it relates to Phase II: In the original proposal, a bonus unit was offered for this incentive, which provides the option to have smaller units on a smaller amount of land, a key component to affordability. Unfortunately, the City did not notify for four units, so that option is unavailable to us at this time. However, for many reasons, I support adding the bonus unit to the incentive in Phase II if possible.

Also as it relates to Phase II: At this point, HOME will unfortunately not apply to special zoning districts, such as regulating plans, Neighborhood Conservation Combining Districts, and Planned Unit Developments. Many of these special overlays are in close proximity to transit, particularly the first phase of Project Connect’s light rail investments. We as a community should not restrict this gentle density from being near fast, reliable high-capacity transit. I’d like to better understand from City staff how these special zoning districts can be enhanced, possibly in HOME Phase II, to allow more Austinites to live within walking distance of our transit investments.

Finally, I want to thank Council Member Kelly for raising concerns regarding health and safety inspections and enforcement for group residential uses. My office is currently exploring these and other concerns raised by our constituents about the proposed group residential changes from City staff. I look forward to working with her office on an amendment I will lead prior to December 7.

Best,

Zo Qadri
Policy Advisor
Office of Council Member Zo Qadri, District 9