Austin Alters Land Development Code for Affordability

Codewatcher austin affordability

Austin alters land development code to encourage affordable and multifamily development.

As reported in a post by Cindy Widner in Curbed, a potentially game-changing plan to increase the amount of affordable housing got a unanimous thumbs-up from the Austin City Council Thursday:

By loosening zoning restrictions and providing incentives for higher density in affordable and mixed-income developments, the Austin Monitor reported Friday, city leaders hope to make more housing available to residents for whom the cost of living in Austin is becoming out of reach.

Affordability Unlocked, the density bonus program proposed by District 4 representative Greg Casar, aims to cut through barriers in the city’s land development code that can make building of affordable and multifamily housing difficult, if not impossible, by waiving many requirements as well as granting incentives in exchange fo building housing that meets the program’s criteria.

As a baseline, 50 percent of housing in a development must be affordable. That means rentals must be priced for families earning 60 percent or less of median family income for the area, with some required at 50 percent of MFI. Home-buying prices must be affordable at 80 percent of MFI and below.

If their projects meet baseline criteria, those offering deeper affordability could earn additional site privileges (essentially amounting to bonuses that increase density and thus total rentable or sellable space), including height increases above a zoning district’s current limits.

Read the full post here.