Austin City Council to vote on ‘HOME’ part 2 Thursday, among other changes

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council will vote on major Land Development Code changes Thursday. The last time the body held a vote similar to this one, public comment lasted nearly 12 hours. Here’s what you need to know:

What is HOME Part 2?

The HOME initiative — which stands for Home Options for Middle-income Empowerment — has been rolled out in two parts. The first part, which was approved by Austin City Council in December and put into place in February, allowed for more units to be built on a single-family lot. Think, three townhouses instead of one home.

What is the HOME initiative? What to know about Austin’s latest push for more housing

The second phase of the HOME initiative, which will be voted on Thursday, could change minimum lot size requirements — essentially, how much land you need to build a unit on it.

Right now in the City of Austin, you need 5,750 square feet to put a unit on most single-family lots. The city council is looking at dropping that, possibly to 1,800 square feet (staff initially recommended 2,000 square feet but that is likely to be amended to 1,800 square feet because it works more seamlessly with HOME part one).

It’s important to note though, HOME part one and HOME part two don’t play off of each other. If you have a 5,750 square foot lot, you can’t subdivide it into three lots and then put three units on each lot.

In other words, you still need 5,750 square feet to put three units on a single lot. Or, you could subdivide your lot into three parts (should the amended square footage pass) and put a single unit on each of your three lots. Either way, you get three units on a lot that would only allow for one right now.

Resolution to address HOME community concerns

While amendments have already been proposed to the Land Development Code (LDC) changes — including HOME part two — Mayor Pro Tem Leslie Pool and several city council members also intend to introduce a companion resolution that will be voted on during the May 30 meeting to address some additional community concerns.

According to the draft, that resolution could direct the city manager to look at things like:

  • Partnering with lending institutions to make private financing more approachable for low and middle-income homeowners

  • Find ways to streamline the process and cut costs for those moving to utilize HOME, including looking at procedures fees that can be waived for low and middle-income homeowners

  • Expanding Austin’s existing Anti-Displacement Navigator Program

You can read the entirety of the draft resolution here.

Other major changes

Austin City Council will also look at several other major Land Development Code changes, including what can be built on properties near the future light rail line and how tall buildings can be near single-family homes.

We have broken down all of the LDC changes council is expected to vote on here.

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