Unpacking Recent Significant Local Policy Updates

Posted By: Carrie Smith Community,

Recent decisions by the Austin City Council indicate notable shifts in urban planning and housing policies. According to the City of Austin, these adjustments, ranging from the elimination of parking minimums to housing initiatives, aim to address evolving needs within the city.

Elimination of Parking Minimums:

On November 9th, the Austin City Council officially eliminated minimum parking requirements for new constructions. This policy adjustment provides developers with increased flexibility, potentially influencing construction costs, home prices, and rents. The decision removes the previous 'parking minimums,' which mandated a minimum of two parking spots for single-family homes and had varying requirements for other residential units. Importantly, existing parking remains unaffected, and developers retain the option to include parking spaces voluntarily. 

Travis County Election Results and I-35 Expansion:

Travis County residents actively participated in shaping the region's future by approving Proposition A and Proposition B in recent elections. Proposition A authorizes $233.06 million in bonds for road and infrastructure improvements, while Proposition B seeks approval for $276.44 million in bonds for parks and land acquisition. Simultaneously, the City of Austin is partnering with TxDOT for the I-35 expansion project. This initiative, crucial for regional mobility, prioritizes movement efficiency, safety, and non-motorized transportation activities. The Austin City Council, in a recent work session, discussed cap and stitch possibilities for the I-35 Project, emphasizing the city's commitment to a comprehensive and well-planned expansion.

I Belong in Austin Program:

The City of Austin's Housing Department is addressing the critical issue of rental assistance and eviction prevention through the "I Belong in Austin" program. With $8 million available, the program, administered by El Buen Samaritano, provides financial assistance for rent, moving, and storage/relocation costs to tenants at risk of eviction. The city has made the application process convenient, allowing interested individuals to apply online.

HOME Initiative Phase I:

The Austin City Council recently approved code amendments for the first phase of the "Home Options for Middle-Income Empowerment" (HOME) Initiative. These amendments, passed with a 9-2 supermajority, aim to increase housing supply within single-family zoned areas. Homeowners now have the flexibility to include up to three units on single-family lots, including tiny homes. These changes incentivize the preservation of existing homes, promote sustainability, and encourage the creation of smaller homes.

**The Austin Apartment Association will be hosting a couple of Webinars with the City of Austin to update members on the recent parking minimum and land development code changes. These exclusive webinars will provide members with a unique opportunity to engage directly with city staff, asking questions, and sharing valuable feedback. Keep an eye out for upcoming details on these insightful events – an essential gathering for all members!**

Please contact carrie@austinaptassoc.com If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding the City of Austin’s recent policy updates.