AUSTIN (KXAN) — How many units should be allowed on a property in Austin?
This is a question Austinites will have the opportunity to discuss on Thursday as the city talks about proposed Land Development Code Changes.
The HOME Initiative would make it legal to build up to 3 homes on a property, tiny homes also would be allowed on properties.
The move comes as the city has discussed ways to make homes more affordable for years. While some are for the proposal, not everyone is sold on the idea of more units on a property.
“Say no to this proposal, say no to this proposal,” chanted a group speaking out against the HOME initiative.
“The home initiative is dangerous to low-income renters and homeowners because it drives and spurs speculation, gentrification and irresponsible development,” Carmen Llanes with Go Austin/Vamos Austin (GAVA) said. GAVA describes itself as a community group “working to improve the health of communities” in south Austin, according to its website.
Property owners can already build two units on most residential lots.
“Council needs to take the time to visit with us to get our input,” Austin Neighborhoods Council President Ana Aguirre said.
Aguirre said there are other ways to create affordable housing in Austin. She said one way to explore those options is to talk to neighborhoods about solutions and not turn towards development to resolve the issue.
“I don’t know anyone that is against affordable housing,” Aguirre said. “We are just asking how do you do it and you do it responsibly.”
Not everyone is against the idea of adding more units to a property. Greg Anderson works for Habitat for Humanity, he said he is all for the proposed plan to add more units.
“We got to do things to make it a little easier for more folks to be able to afford housing,” Anderson said. “The number one way to guarantee displacement in the growing community is to limit your new housing supply, which, unfortunately, our outdated code does.”
Some say the addition of the units will also allow passive income opportunities for property owners who want to rent out units.
“We are really trying to tackle the housing affordability challenge,” Louisa Brinsmade, who is the chief of staff for Austin Council Member Leslie Pool, said.
Brinsmade said informing the public in upcoming meetings will be crucial.
“How do we create options for homeowners?” Brinsmade said. “How do we house more middle-income families in our neighborhoods? How do we get that done? Help us to find solutions.”
On Thursday, the planning commission will join City Council for a public hearing on Land Development Code changes.