Reasonably priced housing, environmentalism, picket fences: Right here’s what occurred in Metropolis Council this week

The Austin Metropolis Council mentioned 196 objects on July 20, together with modifying SMART housing insurance policies, decreasing the town’s oversight within the watershed division and rising infrastructure for middle-class housing. 

The town of Austin’s Protected, Combined-Earnings, Accessible, Moderately Priced,Transit Oriented program, often called SMART, gives price waivers for everlasting growth, however the fixed addition and renaming of charges complicate the method of figuring out which charges are waived. Sponsored by Council Member Jose Velásquez, Merchandise 129 goals to simplify this by particularly naming the non-waived charges somewhat than the waived charges. 

“The SMART housing program was supposed to offer expedited assessment and price waivers for inexpensive housing developments,” Velásquez mentioned. “Sadly, it’s fallen quick because it at the moment stands.” 

With some necessities, all College Neighborhood Overlay developments are eligible for SMART housing incentives. College college students qualify for SMART Housing by means of need-based monetary help or earnings necessities. Merchandise 129 handed. 

Merchandise 126 addresses Austin’s affordability change by modifying website growth laws. A minimum of a dozen owners spoke towards the merchandise on the assembly, together with Nicole Man and Julia Woods, who mentioned it centered on eradicating or transforming present infrastructure, making neighborhoods much less inexpensive and pushing folks out of their properties. 

“(House owner’s) property values will soar, their taxes will soar and also you’ll discover most of the older residents priced out of their neighborhoods,” Woods mentioned. “It is a gentrification provision.” 

Council Member Leslie Pool, who sponsored Merchandise 126, mentioned it is going to present extra housing alternatives for the center class. Merchandise 126 handed. 

The council handed Merchandise 156 for a protected fencing code modification after listening to from Julie Damien, who mentioned her son, Kade, died after getting caught in a fence he was climbing in 2018. Two pickets on the fence trapped his head and neck whereas his ft had been unable to achieve the bottom.

“Kade died lower than 5 minutes after having a PB&J within the kitchen together with his brothers after college,” Damien mentioned. “In lower than 5 minutes, our lives had been modified perpetually.”

Since then, Damien has pushed for safer fencing. Pool thanked Damien for her efforts to save lots of different households from this kind of tragedy. 

Merchandise 125 makes it non-obligatory for the council to approve Service Extension Requests, that are filed by landowners to request water providers to a property. Throughout her service within the Flood Mitigation Job Power in 2013 and 2014, resident Ana Aguire mentioned she stopped the addition of a water line to a high-water high quality zone. 

“If not for this bidding course of, Austin residents could have no say on crucial environmental points reminiscent of this,” Aguire mentioned.

Katie Coyne, metropolis of Austin environmental officer and assistant director for the Watershed Safety Division, mentioned Merchandise 125 wouldn’t strengthen environmental safety and oversight helped prior to now. The council postponed Merchandise 125 till the Aug. 31 assembly.