City Council, District 9
No First and foremost, we must update our outdated and insufficient land development code. It’s important to understand that our current land development code has already been amended dozens of times, attempting to address the inefficiencies of the 1984 “Zoning Ordinance” with the needs of a city which has changed greatly over the years. I see this code rewrite as akin to cleaning out your garage… It starts out organized, but as we grow and time passes, it becomes a mess. You have to sort through everything, and the sorting priorities can change as a family grows. The point is that finally organizing your garage can be laborious and cause headaches, but ultimately is a good thing—as is finally solving Austin’s housing accessibility and affordability crisis. More neighborhood housing compatible with our existing structures is not only possible, but is critical to realizing our Imagine Austin vision. I support the affordable housing bond proposal and more workforce housing in District 9, which will necessarily include more multifamily housing: condominiums, townhouses, apartments, etc. Land values near the core of Austin are so expensive that we can’t just build a few “affordable” single family houses and call the job done. Following are three suggestions to help address the housing shortage, especially in the 30% MFI and below: We must look at publicly owned land in D9 that is underutilized; we can create and strengthen public-private partnerships with local foundations like Affordable Central Texas, Habitat for Humanity, Foundation Communities, etc.; and we must allow more deeply affordable types of housing, such as micro-units. Providing this housing near public transportation is essential.