Council does the right thing on compatibility

Council did its job. Now it's up to staff.

Council does the right thing on compatibility
A great combo of sidewalk and shrubbery at S. Lamar & Riverside. That's my e-bike! 

Quote of the day: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me a few dozen times, I should consider a career at the Texas Department of Transportation." –– Charlie Lemay, an activist with Rethink35, describing the decades of evidence that highway expansions don't reduce congestion.

Have a good weekend! I'll see you on Monday.

Council kicks off big compatibility reform

City Council took an important step towards bringing Austin's apartment-killing compatibility regulations in line with those of other big American cities.

With only Alison Alter and Mackenzie Kelly in dissent, Council approved a resolution that recommends significantly easing Austin's strictest-in-the-nation compatibility rules.

For the umpteenth time: Compatibility regulations restrict the height of buildings based on their distance from certain types of "triggering" properties. The triggering property is usually a single-family home, but it can be schools, churches, cemeteries. Unlike many other land use regs, compatibility cannot be be changed through a zoning case and it's nearly impossible to get a waiver.

This graphic shows the regs that are still in place in most of the city. A reform approved in December relaxed compatibility on major corridors.

The resolution gets a little less specific

The original draft, authored by Chito Vela, asked city staff to draft an ordinance that would cap compatibility at a maximum of 100 feet. Today, Vela accepted an amendment from Ryan Alter that made the direction less specific. Now it just tells staff to bring the rules in line with "peer cities."  

Hopefully that will mean less than 100 feet, considering what staff's research on the issue showed last year:

In a deviation from what he said on Tuesday, Vela welcomed the idea of setting different compatibility standards for projects based on affordability.