• On July 20, the Austin City Council voted for a controversial resolution to convert single-family zoning into multi-family zoning all over Austin

Last week the Austin City Council approved Leslie Pool’s resolution laying out her “HOME Initiative”.  The photo above is her example of the new look of neighborhood housing in Austin.  This is the same Leslie Pool who told the Austin Chronicle on August 28, 2020:

Council should not “approach zoning as a blanket over the city.” She says it would be better for Council to handle zoning changes in smaller chunks, so as to better capture the on-the-ground requests of specific property owners

Read Council Member’s Pool’s recent comments about her new concept of Austin here.

The Resolution proposed these ordinance changes:

The Council wants ordinance changes to be brought to them in late November to be before the council on December 14th:

  • All lots in SF-1, SF-2, SF-3, and SF-4 can be subdivided into lots that are 2,500 square feet or less.
  • Each of these small lots can have 3 or more units, including row houses, tri-and fourplexes, cottage courts, and garden homes; no need to “preserve existing homes.”

To accomplish these goals to asks the city manager to adjust:

Setbacks (distance from the street and lot lines)

Height (how tall the building can be)

Impervious Cover (how much of the lot is impenetrable by water)

Floor Area Ratio (FAR) – ratio of building to lot size

And to remove:

Minimum site area requirements (how much land you need for the size of the building)

Building coverage limits (how much of the lot the house can cover)

By the map:

All properties with color on this map are impacted by the proposed ordinances.

An example map showing the units permitted on existing lots after subdivision of existing single family lots in East Austin.

By the numbers:


The Resolution passed with only two No’s

Council Member Mackenzie Kelly said:

“One of my foremost worries is that this item could allow developers to acquire properties and then subdivide them. Such a scenario could lead to increased property taxes, potentially displacing hardworking, everyday individuals we seek to assist. “

Allison Alter strongly stated:

“without any preservation requirement, this will incentivize the demolition of existing homes to build newer, bigger, more expensive structures and send more homes to the landfill. These factors working in combination with one another, have the real potential to lead to predictable negative consequences. I believe this resolution is much more drastic and goes much further than anything our staff brought to council for a vote during the CodeNext or land development code rewrite process. “

We need to do what the Council refused to do: notify your neighbors about their plans to replace single-family zoning. You can help by forwarding this information to 10 friends or neighbors and asking them to sign up for email alerts on the CNC website and share this on Facebook.

Working for all of Austin