West Austin Neighborhood Group

Preserving and Protecting West Austin

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    Items 54 & 55 – City Council Meeting – October 15, 2015, Accessory Dwelling Unit Recommendations

    October 14th, 2015
    by admin

    Neighbors,

    The City Council will consider initiating the following code amendments regarding accessory (secondary) dwelling units (ADU) at the Council meeting on October 15, 2015.  These are items 54 & 55 on the meeting agenda.

    1.    Reduce minimum lot size to 5750 square feet and apply it citywide including SF2 and SF3 zoned areas.
    2.    Require one onsite parking space. Support staff interpretation that the existing code grandfathers lots that don’t comply with parking requirements.
    3.    Change the maximum size to .15 FAR with no cap on the size of the ADU and keep 550 max sq. ft. limit on second floor.
    4.    Endorse preservation bonus idea to preserve existing main house when building a new ADU.
    5.    Any ADU built after Oct. , 2015, may not be used as a short-term rental.
    6.    Any ADU operating as an STR prior to October 1, 2015, will be classified as a Type 1B and counted towards 3% cap in a census tract.
    7.    Require ADUs built under relaxed development requirements be affordable to families at or below 60% MFI.
    8.    Eliminate requirement for separate water meter reduce upgrade requirements for water service for small ADUs.

    Please urge the City Council to vote against items 1, 2, and 3 above because they are fundamental changes to the code that will override existing neighborhood plans and make the code more complicated to interpret and enforce.  Some neighborhoods are already crowded and congested and these changes will exacerbate parking, traffic, and noise issues in those neighborhoods. These changes should be vetted in a more comprehensive manner through the CodeNEXT process.

    Staff indicated that if your property has no on-site parking, because your house was built before parking requirements were established, you won’t be required to comply with current parking requirements when you add an ADU.  You will only have to provide one parking space for the ADU.  Staff said that this is not a change in how it interprets the code, but some neighborhood advocates disagree.  They point out that staff has consistently required non-compliant properties to come into compliance with city codes when significant changes are made such as adding a bedroom or garage apartment.

    Item #54. Approve an ordinance on second and third readings to amend Title 25 of the City Code relating to secondary dwelling units. (THE PUBLIC HEARING FOR THIS ITEM WAS HELD AND CLOSED ON JUNE 18, 2015). Related to Item #55.

    Item #55. Discussion and possible action on recommendations related to amendments to City Code regarding secondary dwellings. Related to Item #54.

    Here’s the link to send one email to all City Council members:
    http://www.austintexas.gov/email/all-council-members

    City Council Member email addresses and phone numbers:
    Mayor Adler                                          Steve.Adler@austintexas.gov       512-978-2100
    Mayor Pro Tem Tovo                 Kathie.Tovo@austintexas.gov      512-978-2109
    Council Member Houston            Ora.Houston@austintexas.gov     512-978-2101
    Council Member Garza               Delia.Garza@austintexas.gov       512-978-2102
    Council Member Renteria            Sabino.Renteria@austintexas.gov             512-978-2103
    Council Member Casar                Gregorio.Casar@austintexas.gov  512-978-2104
    Council Member Kitchen                        Ann.Kitchen@austintexas.gov     512-978-2105
    Council Member Zimmerman      Don.Zimmerman@austintexas.gov 512-978-2106
    Council Member Pool                 Leslie.Pool@austintexas.gov                    512-978-2107
    Council Member Troxclair          Ellen.Troxclair@austintexas.gov  512-978-2108
    Council Member Gallo                Sheri.Gallo@austintexas.gov                   512-978-2110

    Thank you,

    David King
    Zilker Neighborhood Resident

    PS  CM Gallo and CM Casar indicated that they would consider proposing a resolution to “remove barriers to building more duplexes” at a future Planning and Neighborhood Committee meeting

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