S.M.A.R.T.™ Housing Policy review and analysis: Themes from Stakeholder Interviews
Over the last few months NHCD staff has been working with non-profit and for-profit housing developer stakeholders to gather information about the S.M.A.R.T. Housing policy, program users’ experiences and expert opinions related to S.M.A.R.T. Housing.
Here are some of the Major Themes from NHCD one-on-one interviews with developer stakeholders and S.M.A.R.T. Housing program administrators:
- Transit orientation is always a priority but the cost of land has become a great barrier to developing on a medium-large scale within transit connected areas
Lack of sidewalk connectivity and inconsistency of sidewalk quality makes providing an accessible route very challenging
- Onus should be on the City not on affordable housing developers
S.M.A.R.T. certified projects are no longer experiencing expedited review or development review advocacy from the City
- Planning & Development Review, Law Department, Austin Energy, and Austin Water Utility all should be included
- Fees eligible to be waived should be expanded beyond the current list and capture future fees
- A much higher percentage of fee waivers will be necessary to entice for-profit developers to participate
- The most valued current incentive is the promise of expedited review
- Frequent Development Review staff turnover makes consistency challenging
- Policy should consider differences between non-profit and for-profit business models and goals
- There is a need for additional incentives to bring for-profit developers to the table
- Program could benefit from targeted outreach and education to for-profit developers/builders
- Providing accessible units does not increase cost of development significantly, nor do the units elicit negative feedback from residents
Land value/cost is a major challenge for…
- Non-profits to secure financing
- For-profits to provide affordable units and still meet investor expectations
- In transit connected areas where land costs are generally higher
Stay tuned for summaries of the small group discussions with additional stakeholders.
Please contact Jessi Koch with any questions or comments. We appreciate your feedback!