On April 14, 2015, the City of Austin hosted a panel discussion on secondary dwelling units (also called accessory dwelling units or ADUs) and their potential impacts on affordability in Austin. A video recording of the panel is available here. Marya Crigler (Head Appraiser, Travis Central Appraisal District), Mark Rogers (Executive Director, Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation), Jake Wegmann (Professor, University of Texas Community and Regional Planning Program), and Mary Ingle (President, Austin Neighborhoods Council) served as panelists. Approximately 100 people attended and posed questions to the panel on topics ranging from tax exemptions and assessments to the effects of secondary dwelling units on the surrounding neighborhood.
Questions addressed during the panel discussion include:
Zoning Code and Neighborhood Issues
- Whether (and why) a separate water hookup is required for an ADU
- Whether certain requirements could be waived to incentivize the development of affordable ADUs
- If parking requirements were reduced, what protections would be in place for already congested areas?
- Could the City consider developing sets of approved plans that could be purchased to lower the cost of building ADUs and provide certainty on types of ADUs that could be built?
- What are the unintended consequences of ADUs on neighborhoods?
- How do ADUs impact senior or homestead property tax exemptions? Does it matter who lives in them and/or whether they are rented?
- How much could an ADU be expected to increase your appraised value?
- Whether the over 65 exemption applies to the ADU
- If affordability restrictions were placed on ADUs, how would they be assessed? Would the Appraisal District consider lowering property taxes on them?
- Can homeowners apply for funding/loans from the City to create ADUs reserved for low-income households?
- How did Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation produce affordable ADUs?
- Could affordability restrictions on ADUs be implemented in Austin? (Have they been implemented elsewhere?)
- Are ADUs more affordable than other similarly sized dwelling units?
- Would conversion of existing structures into ADUs be more cost effective (and therefore potentially make the unit more affordable)?
Short Term Rentals
- If requirements are changed to incentivize ADU development, how will the City ensure units remain available for long-term rent and won’t be used as STRs?
Information mentioned during the discussion about ADUs, including design and construction: