What three items would you most like reform in our current zoning code?

Mariana Salazar

City Council, District 1

Unfortunately, our rents, property taxes and child care costs continue to go up in Austin. Our families are being pushed out of the city and don’t have the resources they need to thrive. Our schools are under-resourced. There are missing sidewalks. Public transit does not meet the needs of our community. East Austin has been neglected for years. Prosperity simply is not shared by everyone.

As I run for office, I am motivated by a desire to work with others to address the affordability crisis we are currently living in, the lack of shared economic opportunity for everyone, and lack of inclusion and equitable outcomes for our communities of color and families in East Austin. As we rewrite our current zoning code, I will stand up to make sure the code rewrite can address our affordability crisis, foster economic mobility for everyone, and increase equity of land use.

The three zoning codes that I would like most reform in are:

  • Reducing or eliminating minimum lot size across the different zones to make room for more housing. Varied minimum lot sizes in certain parts of the city artificially increases the cost per unit and can act as a barrier to the development of more housing. We keep attracting jobs in Austin, but we do not have enough housing to meet the needs of our growing city.
  • Removing conditional overlays as they do not lead to cohesive development. COs are often dependant on the negotiations between developer and nearby residents. Money spent and delays incurred in these negotiations increase the cost burden on the developer that gets passed on to the renter or home buyer. COs are one of the challenges to affordable housing and we need a more straightforward code.
  • Creating comprehensive parking reform. Current parking requirements encourage the creation of auto-dependent density. As stated on the Austin Strategic Housing Blueprint, by “right-sizing parking requirements”, we can reduce dependence on automobiles, mitigate flood and erosion, protect the water quality and lower construction costs. Right-sizing parking requirements could mean reducing or eliminating parking requirements in some instances or adopting maximum parking restrictions in others.