Save Our City Austin | Key Points on Affordability
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Key Points on Affordability

Key Points on Affordability

  1. Imagine Austin could not be more clear in its mandate that “the consequences and impact of additional density and infill in existing neighborhoods must be carefully identified and analyzed to avoid endangering the existing character of neighborhoods and exacerbating community health and safety issues.” p. 207
  2. Under the City Charter, Imagine Austin has the effect of law, and it must be obeyed by staff.
  3. This prescription paper puts the horse before the cart. Before making sweeping changes across the city, staff must analyze the socioeconomic impacts of their vision for a compact and connected Austin.
  4. There is too much focus on “compact” and too little said about “connected”.
  5. Who will pay for the $2 billion of sidewalks necessary for our existing needs, much less for a much denser city?
  6. It is foolish to write rules for greater density and on-street parking for neighborhoods within ½ mile of high capacity transit stations and rail and rapid transit stations without taking into consideration whether or not there are sidewalks for pedestrians to use to get there. This is a huge safety issue.
  7. Tell us the prediction of how many homes along corridors will be in the shadows of tall towers and how many will become transition areas for commercial uses.
  8. Tell us the impact on small merchants and businesses who rely on on-street parking for their customers.
  9. Tell us without qualification that the Save our Springs and Water Protection Ordinances will be continued.
  10. The best opportunity for meaningful density is in greenfield construction. There is not enough density to be had at affordable prices within existing neighborhoods.
  11. We should follow the precedent of Cincinnati in rolling out form-based code – they applied it initially in only 4 out of 52 neighborhoods, and there has been extensive neighborhood participation, including mapping and writing of the rules.
  12. Giving neighborhoods a “menu” of options without the maps is subject to manipulation, and the process will not be trusted by citizens.
  13. We must know whether the “menu” will include choices of our existing SF-2 and SF-3 rules.
  14. Sidewalks are just an example, others include demands placed on water, sewer, and transportation infrastructure, plus the increased risk of flooding caused by increased impervious cover.
  15. No one can rationally dispute that the most affordable housing is existing housing. Increasing density will result in higher rents, higher taxes for neighbors, accelerated gentrification, and flight of artists and families with children from the city.
  16. The City needs to ditch the density bonus program, which is chump change when it comes to creating the volume of affordable housing needed, and adopt a meaningful linkage or affordable housing fee added to the cost of all new construction.
  17. It is not truthful to argue that our occupancy rules somehow violate fair housing rules or result in discrimination. Our City Council has a very clear record of making fair housing rules, and it updated our occupancy rules by overwhelming majority votes in 2014 and 2016. There is no basis in either law or fact in the assertions in the prescription paper to the contrary.
  18. After all of this time and money spent, we still have no clear definition of form-based code and missing middle. Staff is hiding the ball because they know that what they have in mind will not be liked by most citizens. It is clear that they have an agenda that does not involve meaningful information or willingness to respond to feedback.
  19. It’s time to let the CAG do its job. Their time is precious, and it is being wasted by meaningless talk, promotion, and busy work.
  20. Let the CAG and the public see the draft code now
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