Austin looks at ways to create affordable housing

Austin holds meetings to discuss Code Next

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As Austin and the surrounding area grow, it’s getting tougher to find affordable housing. Now, the city is working to revise its land development code to open up some other housing options.

On Saturday several people who say they’re getting priced out got to hear what could be coming.

“It is really about the quality of life, it is about the relationship of neighbors, it is that diversity that makes neighborhoods very dynamic,” said Austin resident Melissa Henao-Robledo.

The city of Austin is now looking to revise the Land Development Code and give those in Austin more options that are more affordable in a plan called Code NEXT.

“We are looking at strategic ways to increase opportunities for complete communities,” said city of Austin neighborhood housing and community development senior planner Jessi Kock. “More income integrated neighborhoods and more housing that has access to transit and parks and other basic amenities.”

Some examples would be adding duplexes or possibly attaching town homes. “There were just a handful of those type of housing options then and there’s still only today a handful of those type of housing options,” said Clarksville resident John Henneberger. Henneberger has lived in his neighborhood for almost 40 years, he says he’s watched his community change and push out low-income families for high priced real estate because there were no other options.

“We have to stop, backup and ask ourselves what is it that we are missing in this town? Is it only the fact that the rents are too high, or is it that we as a community no longer make room for people of color or families with kids,”

Henneberger says Code Next could increase housing options in neighborhoods like his possibly bringing diversity back and slowing Austin’s increasing housing prices.

Code NEXT also wants to make the Land Development Code more understandable. They also look to make the application process more simple for folks who want to make changes to their property.

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