Zoning Reform Proposed in Austin

Proposed changes would create more room for mid-density housing and shift away from single-family homes on large lots.

1 minute read

July 13, 2023, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view from behind Texas State Capitol dome in Austin, Texas

Christopher Boswell / Adobe Stock

In an article for Towers, James Rambin outlines proposed zoning changes in Austin that would reduce minimum lot sizes and alter the single-family zoning that has dominated most of the city’s residential areas to allow for more ‘missing middle housing’ types.

As Rambin explains, “Austin’s 1980s land development code imposes a minimum lot size of 5,750 square feet for homes built under the single-family zoning regime that dominates the vast majority of the city’s available land.”

Now, a resolution before the city council “proposes amending the code to reduce the minimum lot size in single-family zones to 2,500 square feet or less ‘so that existing standard-size lots can be subdivided, and be developed with a variety of housing types such as row houses, townhomes, tri-and four-plexes, garden homes, and cottage courts.’”

The resolution also asks the City Manager to develop proposed amendments to other zoning rules such as “setbacks, height, impervious cover, floor-to-area ratio, building cover requirements, and other tweaks like only imposing the city’s McMansion Ordinance on projects that intend to construct a single home on one lot.”

While Rambin believes these changes should have been implemented decades ago to prevent the current housing crisis, “these code tweaks are a major step in the right direction.”

Tuesday, July 11, 2023 in Towers

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