Perhaps there could be some language that refers to “base” or “default” zoning allowing for this full diversity of housing types?
@Phil_Wiley, I’m ok with your suggestion. So that leaves us with:
The City of Austin should allow a broader mix of housing types within our neighborhoods to increase the economic and demographic diversity of those who are able to live in our city. This mix of housing types would include smaller lots, row-houses, triplexes, and quadplexes. This doesn’t remove the option of detached single family homes; rather it increases the opportunities for more efficient use of very limited land resources. These additional types of housing will be less expensive than new large detached single family homes. As part of CodeNEXT, the city should decrease the minimum lot size for single family housing and provide opportunities for the construction of row-houses, triplexes, and quadplexes in our neighborhoods.
Thank you @rickyhennessy, @swren, Now that it is not “all” can we consider adding Co-op’s? An argument can be made it is more of a use than a form, but it goes beyond form, it may be one of our strongest economic diversity options, and would be a supportive statement for many in our base.
In the Mayor’s State of the City address he applauded the groundbreaking of the Independent, which is another point tower planned for downtown. With a strategic focus on affordability and mobility it may have been more related to the later, but not exclusively, so another day we should think about how to support that message across the downtown grid, and perhaps beyond. I think there may be room for them in select locations in my neighborhood (there are already several nearby), and perhaps it is a way to reach area density goals without immediately affecting most blocks in the neighborhood. The Mayor asked us to think BIG!, and in an iterative way that all work together to reach common goals.
How about saying:
- "would provide more opportunities for the construction of…
- “this mix of housing types should include options such as row-houses, triplexes, and quadplexes.”
- Any efforts to diversify the housing stock should be made equitably across all of Austin.
Great suggestions @NatalieGauldin! I will post your proposals as edits to the draft text which has been proposed for our member group to vote on, attached below.
@rickyhennessy, as you can see from our local proposition, there is plenty of room for me as delegate voting for JHCC to approve whatever you decide on, if my member group supports a broader approach. Thank you for your leadership!
Ballot item (3)
Support or oppose increased affordable housing options within JHCC boundaries, including: co-op’s, apartments, condominiums, quadplexes, triplexes, row-houses, decreased minimum lot size, and increased maximum occupancy limits.
Support <-> Oppose <-> Abstain
Alright, updated resolution w/ Natalie’s suggestions. Unless anybody has any suggestions, I’d like to propose this for a vote.
The City of Austin should allow a broader mix of housing types within our neighborhoods to increase the economic and demographic diversity of those who are able to live in our city. This mix of housing types should include options such as row-houses, triplexes, and quadplexes. This doesn’t remove the option of detached single family homes; rather it increases the opportunities for more efficient use of very limited land resources. These additional types of housing will be less expensive than new large detached single family homes. As part of CodeNEXT, the city should decrease the minimum lot size for single family housing and provide more opportunities for the construction of row-houses, triplexes, and quadplexes in our neighborhoods.
Very well thought out & written. Ready to open the polling station whenever you all are.
All (and particulaly @rickyhennessy), it’s my fault that no action has taken place on this proposed resolution. I had promised Ricky that I’d tweak the language a bit. Better late than never, as the issue in the resolution is still core to the FAN vision. Here is a proposed elaboration:
FAN stands for an inclusive Austin that welcomes people of all socioeconomic backgrounds throughout the city. When our policies limit the amount and diversity of housing, we effectively segregate our communities, preventing all but the privileged few from living in the highest-demand neighborhoods. We strive for diversity to be a defining character common to all our neighborhoods.
We support a broader mix of housing types, throughout the city, to increase the socioeconomic diversity of our neighborhoods. In addition to detached single family homes, the mix of housing types should include options such as row-houses, triplexes, quadplexes, and “tiny homes”,
Permitting these housing types would increase opportunities for more efficient use of very limited land resources, help to address supply-demand imbalances, enable more people to live in close proximity to jobs, shopping, and services, and reduce combined housing, transportation, and utility costs, bringing us closer to fulfilling the Imagine Austin plan’s vision of complete communities, as reflected in the indicators listed on pages 225-226 of the plan.
We call upon city leaders to allow for this housing diversity by decreasing minimum lot sizes and providing more opportunities for the construction of row-houses, triplexes, quadplexes, and “tiny homes” in our neighborhoods.
I think that’s great and includes everything that I’d like to see - smaller lots, row houses, triplexes, and 4-plexes. Should we include something about how it’s permitted for zoning or is that too much into the weeds and that would change anyways depending on what the new land development code looks like?
Thanks to the team for further refinements on the wording. JHCC has already approved in principle, by vote, and will enthusiastically support this draft!
Sorry I haven’t been involved the past two months. The new job has kept me busy and involved a lot of traveling. Also, I’m getting married in just under two weeks, so all of the planning has taken up any free time I’ve had.
@roger, thanks for helping out with the wording. It looks great to me and it’s something I’d love to support. I’ll go ahead and sponsor this resolution for a vote.
All, this resolution is scheduled for a vote next week. Voting will begin Wednesday, May 4th. Please see the updated Vote page for the final resolution language and details. Members will receive an email next week with instructions on how to vote securely.
Congrats on the upcoming nuptials, @rickyhennessy!
According to Census data for Austin, 90% of missing middle housing and 95% of larger units are rentals. This compares to single family homes – over 80 % of those are owner occupied. Only owner occupied properties build wealth for the people living in them. Our goal should be to help more people in Austin become homeowners. The purpose of the land development code rewrite is not to put wealth into the pockets of the development and real estate industry, but that is exactly what new missing middle housing will do. A variety of housing types is a good idea in new subdivisions, but changing development standards in established neighborhoods will simply encourage demolitions, redevelopment, and higher housing prices.
Why should we help more people become homeowners? I think we should focus on providing affordable housing for everyone who wants it.
I know plenty of people who have lost money on housing. My parents bought a house in Dallas and ended up paying it off. It was worth less than when they purchased it so it essentially was a savings account with a negative interest rate.
Restricting the amount of housing in Austin so that existing homes increase in value, does build wealth. But I’m not interested in advocating for policies that build wealth on the backs of renters.
Wow. It’s hard to imagine something I disagree with more intensely than your entire post.
I believe you meant May 4th!
Doh! Thanks, Alysha. Corrected.
Apologies if this has been addressed… I’ve looked over this discussion but there is much to it.
I’m in favor of density and inclusiveness, but are there any supporters of “stealth dorms” who actually live near one?
All, I believe we will get closer to finding common ground if some of these statements and thoughts questioning whether there are “appropriate” density = better affordability opportunities started with - “on some properties (or blocks) in my neighborhood”. I am convinced there are many opportunities that an overwhelming majority would agree are appropriate, and others we would agree are not because the math does not work - so let’s try not to paint the city one color, and I believe the wording of this resolution does not try to.
@Betsy_Greenberg, the resolution proposes additional flexibility in building forms and more efficient land utilization to help address housing costs. It does not promote or preclude renting or owning any of those building forms - row houses can be individually owned in many cities, triplexes / quadplexes can be part of a condominium regime which can be owner occupied. Others are right in saying ownership does not come with any guarantees, in 2009 millions of people in the U.S. were trapped by their house, where they could not afford to leave and look for work elsewhere, unless they declared bankruptcy, because their home was worth less than they owed on it.
@mlibrik, yes, I am in an “established” neighborhood, support density and inclusiveness, have two building directly bordering my property, that have been used in the way you “described”, one is still currently, and will be until it is eventually torn down. I can also see two other newer properties across their roof line that are examples of that type of building on steroids. I look forward to the implementation of Imagine Austin significantly increasing the occupancy entitlement on those bordering properties, bringing down the average housing cost per neighborhood resident as the land will be more efficiently utilized, and putting residents closer to their “work” helping mobility. I support doing so not just because it is important for the City, but can also be a good thing for the neighborhood, if people work together instead of against each other.
Maybe the time has come where we should somehow spend more energy on real world examples using math rather than trying to just debate broad brush concepts. The concepts have been marketed to both sides so long that most are leaning one way or another - let’s look at the facts - and I applaud Betsy’s effort to introduce a few for debate.
I’d also like to offer up these further reading articles on the effects of including (or excluding) a diversity of housing and how that policy affects the diversity of its residents.
This is an article released by the Economic Policy Institute outlining how segregating housing types can also segregate people by socioeconomic and racial lines, and that those existing policies have begun to be challenged and refuted in courts of law: Housing segregation undergirds the nation’s racial inequities
Citing the Housing Scholars brief, the appeals court noted that “[g]overnment policy, which promised not to change a neighborhood’s composition when constructing affordable housing, exacerbated the stark segregation in America’s cities.” The court also observed that “housing segregation both perpetuates and reflects this country’s basic problems regarding race relations: educational disparities, police-community relations, crime levels, wealth inequality, and even access to basic needs such as clean water and clean air. In this country, the neighborhood in which a person is born or lives will still far too often determine his or her opportunity for success. As the Supreme Court recognized [last June], the Fair Housing Act must play a ‘continuing role in moving the Nation toward a more integrated society’ and a more just one.”
And this is an article put out by the Washington Post outlining how housing homogeneity leads to a lack of diversity and gaps in education across socioeconomic and racial lines as well. The one thing rich parents do for their kids that makes all the difference
Advocates of integrated schools — which researchers believe provide greater benefits for poorer and minority students — often argue that we should use housing policy to address deeply entrenched educational inequalities. Build more affordable housing in good school districts, or simply break down exclusionary housing policies there, and we’d create more integrated schools.
I personally think that a direct line can be drawn from Austin’s clustering of SF zoning (which consequently increases scarcity and prices of those homes) and the budget shortfalls & decreased enrollment numbers facing AISD in recent years.
And this is an ebook published by StrongTowns that details how federal financing systems came to affect how we’ve built cities in the post depression and post-war eras: Distorted DNA: The Impacts of Federal Housing Policy
This is a much longer-form read, and no one quote can really summarize the cause and effects detailed in it. But I’ll post the index here for reference, and an excerpt from the last section where Austin in particular gets a shoutout:
- The Distorted DNA of Your Community
- 5 Reasons America Needs Walkable Neighborhoods
- Suburban Poverty: Hiding in Plain Sight
- Want Community? Build Walkability
- 4 Ways Housing Outcomes Could be Different
Cities with Better Tools to Halt Decline
Federal housing policy creates distorted markets for single-family homes while also accommodating large buildings, sometimes six stories or greater. What’s missing from this approach is the two-, three- and four-story mixed use buildings that used to be the cornerstone of prosperous cities.
I see cities trying to overcome this gap in two ways. First, they feel obliged to accept neighborhood-busting leaps in development. No city exemplifies this more than Austin, TX, where you’ll have a neighborhood of single-family homes with the occasional 12- to 20-story tower. When the next increment of intensity can’t be competitively financed, the outlet for demand is a hyper expansion on the edge along with random towers in the core, an approach that makes a city simultaneously unaffordable and stagnating.
FAN Needed to Talk about Affordability