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Thursday, March 20, Council Meeting on Occupancy Reduction

On Thursday, March 20th, the City Council will take up on 2d and 3d reading the ordinance to reduce occupancy limits in single-family neighborhoods in the urban core. We ask that you please call or send emails with the following message:

  • Thank the Mayor and City Council for the time and effort spent on addressing the crisis of dorm-style housing in our single-family neighborhoods.
  • Ask that they take final action on March 20th to reduce occupancy limits from 6 to 4 unrelated adults in single-family neighborhoods within the McMansion boundaries.
  • Request that if the Council imposes an expiration date for occupancy limit reduction from 6 to 4, that it be tied to the effective date of the overall revision of the Land Development Code.

The Austin Board of Realtors has asked economist Brian Kelsey to do a brief study of the question of whether occupancy limit reduction before Council will have an adverse impact on affordability of housing inside the McMansion area. We have compiled data to show that the opposite is true: the current limit encourages the demolition of affordable housing that is replaced with more expensive housing. Mr. Kelsey, who is not being paid a fee, will deliver his findings to Council on Monday, March 17.

A student group is circulating a petition in opposition to the ordinance, and so far, it appears that many if not most of them do not understand that all existing structures will be grandfathered and that currently affordable housing is being replaced with more expensive housing. The public hearing is closed, so at Thursday’s Council meetings, only Council and Staff will speak, plus any request they make to hear from others such as Mr. Kelsey.

Our overall request to Council about occupancy limits is for it to please reduce the economic incentives to tear down affordable housing to be replaced by expensive, unregulated multifamily structures that are driving out established residents, including families with children. If you have an opportunity to speak with Council members or their staff, we suggest that you lead with this appeal.

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