Save Our City Austin | The Domino Effect of Dorm-Style Duplexes
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The Domino Effect of Dorm-Style Duplexes

The Domino Effect of Dorm-Style Duplexes

The multitude of nuisance, safety and traffic problems that dorm-style housing generates is absolutely incompatible with family neighborhoods and can have a rapid devastating impact on single-family neighborhoods. Mike Wong, president of Northfield Neighborhood Association stated that his neighborhood has lost 10 single-family homes since the start of 2013 to dorm-style housing, and more are on their way. Because of this incompatibility with dorm-style housing and single-family homes, the single-family occupants are often forced to leave, thereby creating a domino effect in the neighborhood.

The Northfield Neighborhood is not alone. The effect of dorm-style duplexes/housing continues to be a serious problem for other Central Austin Neighborhoods such as Brykerwoods, Brentwood, Heritage, Shoalcrest, and even in East Austin and South Congress. North Central Austin is on the cusp of this rising trend in dorm-style development because of its proximity to University of Texas and its large number of aging single-family rental houses.

Today, we are dismayed by three dorm duplexes that are being developed across from Lee Elementary School and the impact it will have on the safety of our children. Yet, with such large profits to be had by developers combined with the domino effect discussed above, what will we be dealing with tomorrow?

What is generating the influx of dorm-style duplexes/housing into Central Austin neighborhoods? The current law allows up to six unrelated individuals to inhabit a single-family residence. Yet, with lax enforcement, the actual number of unrelated inhabits can be even greater. Other likely contributing factors are:

1) A booming economy

2) Increased enrollment at the University of Texas at Austin

3) Increase in population in the urban core

4) Policy to encourage density

5) Substantial money to be made by developers who can charge anywhere between $850-$1,100 per individual in a single residence (multiplied by six!); thereby also pricing out families who could otherwise afford to live in Central Austin

Neighbors from the Hancock Neighborhood Association have been working with other North and Central Austin Neighborhoods that have been devastated by the influx of dorm duplexes/housing. We have, as a group, met with City Council Members not only on the proposed dorm duplexes at 718, 720 and 722 Harris Avenue but also on the larger issue on how dorm-style housing has been devastating Central Austin Neighborhoods. Additionally, we have circulated a resolution to local Neighborhood Associations, including the Austin Neighborhood Council, that will be brought to City Council.

We ask that you join us in this effort by asking the City Council to act. Please join us and sign the petition and contact City Council. Your information will be used only for the purpose of this petition and will not be used in any other way.

Mary Sanger
Hancock Neighborhood Association

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