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Good News from City Council Action

On Thursday, November 21st, the City Council voted 7 to 0 in favor of a resolution to start the process for adoption of an ordinance by January 30th to reduce occupancy limits to 4 unrelated adults in single-family zoned property. This is what we all have been advocating. Going in to the City Council meeting, we were fairly confident we had the support of all Council members except Bill Spelman, who, when our item was taken up, submitted 5 proposed amendments that he declined to share with anyone beforehand. Our sponsors—Council members Martinez, Riley, Tovo—did a great job dealing with the confusion that this caused. The final ordinance is not yet available on the City’s web site, but in general terms it calls for action by Council by January 30th; input from the Planning Commission on whether 4 is the right number, and whether action should be limited to specific neighborhoods, and input from an enlarged stakeholder group to continue its review of best practices for enforcement. A question about how occupancy reduction would effect affordability was raised, but as Councilman Martinez said, “it is a red herring.” We assume the Council will grandfather existing uses so that renters will not be displaced by the reduction in occupancy limits.

See News Coverage

  1.  “Austin to consider cracking down on stealth dorms.” Kvue.com. 21 Nov 2013. <http://www.kvue.com/news/Austin-to-consider-cracking-down-on-Stealth-Dorms-232914381.html>
  2. “City Plan Would Target Stealth Dorms.” Sarah Coppola. Austin American Statesman. 11 Nov 2013. <http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/local/city-plan-would-target-austin-stealth-dorms/nbnLY/>
  3. “Austin Should Curb Urban Farms and Stealth Dorms.” Editorial Board. Austin American Statesman. 21 Nov 2013. <http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/opinion/austin-should-curb-urban-farms-and-stealth-dorms/nby3M/>

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