The Austin City Council passes a new resolution streamlining the process for approving “medium” housing

Work is underway to create more housing for middle-income families so they aren’t pushed out of Austin.

Austin, Texas –

That Austin City Council passed a measure on Thursday to help bring more affordable housing to the city. It aims to make it easier for developers to put houses on the market.

Councilor Paige Elliswho represents District 8 and is leading efforts towards this resolution, said he will streamline the permitting process for “medium” housing, which is aimed at middle-income families.

“It takes months or years for the city government to review your projects, and it costs a lot of money,” Ellis said. “So when people try to build homes, they have to buy the land and then sit on it and make payments for years before anyone can actually move into that house or rent or sell the unit.”

Ellis said the current code, written in the 1980s, only allows site plan verification for small homes or large commercial complexes. There is no plan for houses in the middle.

“Right now we have a limited market. So with the 1984 code, you’re only seeing single-family homes being built for large dwellings,” Ellis said.

“I’m a renter myself and live in a larger gated community, but there are a lot of people who have planning permission to do things like complexes that just don’t have the money and time to sit there and go through a lengthy review process that does that doesn’t help us meet our housing goals,” added Ellis.

The decision will allow triplex and fourplex dwellings to review the same floor plan as single-family homes and duplex dwellings. It would also create a new plan called “Site Plan Lite” for developments of five to 16 units.

“We’re trying to make sure that the government bureaucracy and a whole bunch of, you know, tires don’t have to [be] jump[ed] no longer through as long as you meet the criteria that this new program will entail,” said Ellis.

She said the city wants to make sure people who have zoned properties can go through the process faster, so apartments can get to market faster.

March is the deadline for triplexes and fourplexes to have the same review process as single family homes and duplexes. The framework for the “site plan lite” is to be presented and agreed in June.

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