WATCH: CodeTALK on Affordability (May 8, 2017)
More Diverse Housing Choice
Challenge: Two forms of housing dominate Austin: single-family houses and large apartment buildings. This lack of housing variety does not reflect Austin’s diversity and contributes to growing affordability issues.
Solution: The new code allows more diversity in housing types, such as duplexes, multiplexes, cottages, courtyard buildings, rowhouses, live/work spaces, and accessory dwelling units. Unless incompatible with existing uses, most zones now allow some residential uses.
More Units By Right
Challenge: Housing supply has fallen well short of demand, due in part to cumbersome and unnecessary regulations. Much of the new housing that has been built caters only to specific market segments.
Solution: By allowing more units and incentivizing a range of unit sizes, the new code makes it easier to develop more housing to suit a range of space and economic needs while ensuring it is built in a context-sensitive manner to work within the character of the neighborhood.
Challenge: While providing some crucially needed affordable housing units, the current mix of affordable housing incentive programs are not meeting the large need in our community or keeping up with the changing market.
Solution: The new code introduces a citywide Affordable Housing Bonus incentive framework in a broader spectrum of zones to incentivize the creation of affordable units across the city. The framework is designed to be adjusted over time to respond to changing market conditions and continue to stimulate the production of affordable homes.
Flexible Live/Work Places
Challenge: The existing code is based on an old model of large-scale office and industrial development, and limits the ability of small business owners to live and thrive in Austin.
Solution: A greater range of building types, such as live/work, and new uses that are compatible with neighborhoods, main streets, and light industrial areas, allow Austin to provide more housing and job choices.
Challenge: New development occurs in pods of single-family or multi-family uses with few access points, weakening walkability, creating traffic bottlenecks, and isolating housing options.
Solution: Strengthening existing regulations for subdivisions, including street, sidewalk, and trail connectivity, and encouraging a diverse mix of housing types, creates development that connects with surrounding communities and improves walkability.