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Austin City Council Investigating Ways to Increase Affordable Housing

Austin Business Journal December 17-23, 2021 ppA8|ECONOMIC INSIGHT|REGULATION|”AUSTIN CITY HALL TAKES MORE STEPS TO BOOST AFFORDABILITY””Granny flats, homes in commercial zones get initial OK from City Council” by Kathyryn Hardison


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Summary by 2244



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No surprise to Austinites but a statement of fact anyway-”Austin’s population grew 21.7% over the last decade while median home value rose 71%.” Lack of housing variety-an over dependence on traditional single family homes (SFH) are partly to blame. Now the Austin City Council (ACC) started directing an investigation by staff regarding potential code amendments on “Dec 9 to get more affordable housing units on the ground.” City Commissions must provide insight before “final approval at a later date.”


What changes to city code are being considered to increase affordable housing?


Allow more residential uses in commercial zones


Allow more accessory dwelling units. Make code amendments to ease the approval of “accessory dwelling units on SFH lots. The detached units on SFH lots are also known as “granny flats.”


Make changes to “Austin’s vertical mixed-use (VMU) program.” By expanding the VMU “developers of mixed-use projects [could] bypass certain zoning restrictions if they set aside residential units for lower-income renters or owners.”


Next steps


City staffers must perform “a cost analysis on developing different types of housing in Austin” including “single family homes, duplexes, townhomes, small multiplexes and mid-rise multifamily developments, plus ways to lower costs”


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