What can the city do to lower average rents or at least decrease the rate of growth of average rents?

Rich DePalma

City Council, District 8

This is a problem we need to address in every district in the city. The solution involves increasing supply, reducing costs for development and leveraging funding for affordable housing. The solution includes diverse housing options that are built under a clear land development code executed by a functioning development services department and financed through traditional or creative financing options.

In SW Austin, we are severely restricted as to where and how we can develop land. I believe that we do have some great options.

Revise policies to provide greater water quality protections and encourage mixed-use redevelopment around the Oak Hill Y, 290, and Brodie Lane especially those that encourage the development of multi-family housing options for single parent families and seniors. A focus on seniors will meet the goals set forth in the 2016 Age Friendly Plan,which set forth strategies for Austin to become age-friendly with resources to support Austin’s senior population. This is important to me. Encourage the development of smaller single family housing in new housing tracts for single-parent families and seniors. Smaller floor plans, setbacks, and back yards would increase more affordable market rate housing while limiting the impact to our already over-enrolled Southwest Austin schools.

Additionally, I support the following rental, funding, and code development changes that will help address our housing shortages:

Increase the rental subsidies and define the type of housing. Continue to pursue General Obligation Bonds approved by the voter for the development of affordable housing, low-income tax. Promote the use of Community Development Financial Institutions for subsidized financing rates and expedited funding. Expand public private partnerships. Increase land banking in Austin but through a data driven model of acquisition and sailing. Using currently available (nonprogrammed) public land for residential development and strategically purchasing future land along transit corridors and areas where it is ideal to increase workforce/commuter and senior housing density. Update our land development/zoning code that provides clarity on land use regulations so there is certainty for developers on what is required. Ensure that the new land development code increases the diversity of options in each District for our city’s housing stock. Implement the density bonus program as prescribed in the Austin Strategic Housing Blueprint. Increase the availability of Accessory Dwelling Units.