New Neighborhood “Documentary”

Subdivide and Conquer.

I’m glad you put Documentary in quotes :wink: That is a real piece of work. I’ll give the creators credit it is a really nicely produced piece. High quality and even ‘eerie scary’ music as it shows graphics of more than one house on a 5k sqft lot.

I’m sure the donations at Community not Commodity are on fire. seems to be behind a lot of these obstructionist efforts.

I guess you either buy into the lie or you don’t.

it is possible to disagree without insulting people.

it is difficult to accept that supporters of HOME can not imagine a single issue with this proposal or any way to scale it back so as to win support. you are failing to address legitimate concerns expressed by your neighbors.

the duplex on my street that was split into condos and remodeled extensively is still sitting there as a $750k “affordable” option to own a home in zilker. how cheap do you think these new homes will be that have no yards, driveways, carports, or private walls? the city’s own staff rejected the argument of this creating affordability but rather that it will increase displacement.

where is the middle ground on this issue?

@ggggarret I don’t think I’m insulting people. If you don’t agree that the zoning laws should be changed at all, that’s fine. There is an insinuation, back step, a direct accusation in the video that HOME is being driven by tech billionaire, libertarians, and backed by investment firms that are poised to gobble up all the housing when it passes.

This is a lie and patently untrue.

That is my issue… it is fear and scare tactics designed to trigger an emotional response because a rational response might actually see the merit in this, but we can’t have that!

This is actually pretty scaled back compared to some things in code next. Leslie Poole who proposed this is a traditional NIMBY who broke with that crowd because she recognized something had to be done.

You prove the point of HOME. This is existing zoning laws and what was possible / most financially advantageous. HOME is the middle ground - and doesn’t go far enough in my opinion. To your point, you’ll probably be able to create four half a million dollar town homes instead of one two million dollar house, under ideal circumstances.

You can’t have it both ways. If you truly want affordable housing you have to go a lot further than HOME. But, HOME is a compromise. A middle ground, as you put it. That at least takes some steps in the more affordable direction.

I agree compromise is needed. After watching the video I took away that the root problem is housing supply versus demand. The proposed
solution is to try to permit increases in supply by allowing more homes to be built on the fixed amount of land we have. I guess another option would be to take some action to drive down housing demand but I don’t think anyone really wants that.

I also took away that the main objections are not against increasing supply but that unregulated, the increased supply would not bring housing options to the target buyers of teachers, firemen families. The fear is that the increased supply is monetized as short term rentals or rentals in general that don’t deliver on the prospect of affordable home ownership contributing to neighborhoods and community.

So can we somehow increase the number of homes to address the demand while also directing those at owner occupied dwellings? I think the proposal on lot sizes addresses the supply side of the fix but can a simple regulation of “owner occupied properties” be a step to address the concerns and make sure the incremental homes reach the target population?

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I think one of the main approaches to addressing the affordability of rental properties for those professions is the idea of small homes and ADUs included in HOME.

Isn’t compromise how we got here? CodeNEXT was supposedly “the dream” (even though it was completely neutered by the time it was done) of Austin urbanists. A fear mongering campaign got full of lies and half truths got the whole thing axed. Yet the voters came together and implicitly voted for more urbanists on council that would help solve the housing problem. So Council did what they were voted in to do and passed this proposal, which is essentially a compromise between doing nothing at all and CodeNEXT.

Using an anecdote about a single unsold duplex on ones street given that we’re seeing the highest inflationary period in 50 years and interest rates through the roof which is tanking the real estate market, doesn’t really mean that more housing doesn’t work. There are a lot of pieces at play, but just sitting around and waiting for prices to go down isn’t going to build more houses or provide more options.

describe how your personal property will be a part of the solution using the HOME proposal.

Another good ADU article:

I would be interested to see more info on vacant STRs and who owns them…is it a real austin person renting their home out or a larger LLC w LPs/GPs buying lots of homes to hire someone to rent out…and now that the boom of strs is quieting a bit…will those homes hit the market…or will they all be torn down now to sell off 2 units but continue to rent out 1-unit??

Those are truly decisions that are made by group-investors and not members of any useful community.

Just need some more data since everyone is good at hiding true intentions and motivations.

HOME might be a good compromise but i dont trust anyone who uses a child at a presser. I hate Barry Bonds bc of this…not his steroid use. Something is not authentic.

Dr. Nicholas Vaughan

I’m one of your neighbors. And I have legitimate concerns about the character of Austin and of Zilker being completely destroyed within 20 years because only the uber rich will be able to afford to live here. Who’s failing to address whose concern?

Personally, I am build up not out person. I’d virtually eliminate height restriction. Bring on the four story town homes. But I do have concerns about water and run off so would counter that with aggressive impervious cover rules creating more green space and more housing at the same time! Voila! And before I hear it, get over people looking down in your yard.


I live in a condo, so it’s not really applicable. Also, as I’ve said before most of the lots in Zilker are shaped such that nothing really in HOME will affect them much. What it will do is new subdivisions can be subdivided in a way to provide more housing with the same land. The most impactful thing for Zilker is probably ADUs and small homes increasing rental supply and providing supplemental income to offset property taxes.

Short answer: No,we cannot do that.

Longer answer: Austin tried, and got sued. It is apparently a constitutionally protected right (in Texas) to STR. The closest we can get, which is currently in play, is to regulate the hell out of STRs in order to make it less financially lucrative. A sin tax of sorts. And even this regulation would have to comply with a tangled web of property rights. The city’s legal department is currently studying the approach Dallas took and I assume waiting to see if there will be a legal challenge. Dallas is the first city to try to regulate STRs (in the whole state) after Austin was handed a very expensive defeat in court. Pretty much every city right now is watching Dallas. At the city council work session today, the Attorney there on behalf of the city legal department mentioned that part of the issue with regulating STRs was the selective nature of the previous regulation. I think they are just figuring out the right legaleze to get something that will hold up in court.

So what does this leave us with. You touched on supply and demand. If enough housing is built, in addition to enough hotels, there wont be shortage of STR type places (hotel or residential) and the profit margins should go down with them. That is the lever being used right now in this precise moment.

You asked about disagreeing without insulting people. Can we disagree with people and see them as real humans, or do we have to cast them as “group-investors who are not members of any useful community”.

Would you like to meet the members of your community in these discussions. Like for real meet them, face to face. You can talk to them. Ask them about their investments.

You may be shocked to find that many of them maybe have a 401k as their singular investment and pay rent. Most of them are definitely not owners of a giant house on a dual lot and partners in a flourishing business with multiple locations throughout the city. I wonder though, if we just disregard the opinions of people with a net worth over 1 million dollars, how many opponents would still exist.

Was not trying to insult. Easy now.

But this is the 3rd or 4th time ive heard about large investor groups buying up homes specifically for STR rentals. (In austin). Could there be more homes our there that could be on the market? Are investors holding on to them bc they thought real estate would keep just going up? Was there a belief the central bank would never raise rates?

Unintended consequences more like it- just trying to see if anyone in our hood has any data or info on this rumor?

Just curious why the mom in the video is so vociferous about the passage of HOME?

It doesnt feel right. Intuition says something doesnt line up. Its just a personal observation from my POV.

Im exploring that notion i guess.

Dr. Nicholas Vaughan

i was contacted by an investor group to sell a property and then asked to help them manage all of their upside down purchases as STRs until the market corrected and they could tear them all down, build to the max, and continue flipping investments in austin. there was no discussion of community or affordability, just a focus on return.

STRs should be hit with a large tax to bring their profitability more in line with LTR rates. they already pay HOT so i assume it is legal to tax an activity. if you go rogue and get caught then pull the CO.

doubling density into the farthest reaches of single family hoods will not be cost effective for expanding utilities without charging large fees. the density should be along the arterials. our property taxes are going to skyrocket as soon as this goes through and many people living as middle income now will have no option but to sell and move.

i don’t see how the outcome will be different given the wrecking ball approach taken.

This article may be of interest - Austin's Airbnb Party Houses Are the City's Newest Form of Gentrification

This is hysterical. That’s EXACTLY what CodeNEXT was proposing. How did you come down on that one? I’m sure you were out there rooting for it, right?

A not insignificant percentage of properties in Austin, not just STRs are held by private equity. If you had a guarantee that another house in Austin would never be built, and you had a bunch of money to put somewhere, a tax advantaged real estate investment in a hot market that has committed to never building more single family homes would be a pretty solid investment. What makes it such a solid investment is the scarcity of homes. If homes were all of a sudden not so scarce, chances are many of these investors would bail really quick. So in all of your looking at motivations around the investors, consider their incentives in freezing development, I imagine that they are more motivated for that than a major liberalization of property rights where their once scarce resource is now a dime a dozen.

I would like to offer some other statistics though from the 2020 census.

Austin households are 44 percent owner occupied. This means that the majority of Austin is actually renters.

Only 10 percent of Austin’s population is over 65.

The majority of the big names and faces against home are both over 65 and homeowners. At best, this is 10 percent of the population, if they literally speak for every person over 65, not just the homeowners.

Meanwhile, the fastest growing demographic of homeless people is people over 50. Do you think people over 50 in fragile financial situations hate the idea of more housing?

One last important bit of trivia. This is from a nytimes article I will link at the bottom.

The overwhelming majority of households (over 70%) have 3 or less people in them.
Meanwhile, the majority of homes (over 60%) have 4 or more bedrooms. For the individual living alone or with a partner, or maybe a partner and a parent or a child, the market does not offer many 2 or 3 bedroom homes. Doesn’t this seem off to you? It seems off to me. This imbalance can be squarely blamed on restrictive zoning, not market demand. The smaller homes, when modern and in good shape and in a good location, tend to sell at a premium, not sit on the market. The problem is that they are near impossible to build in the good locations. What is the defence of maintaining the status quo here? I will also post a link from the city of austin with Austin specific numbers, but they arent too different from the national ones.

You mentioned some mom who was very concerned about this passing. Is it at all possible that it was because her children could not afford to live anywhere near here? Does it seem unreasonable for a parent to not want their kids to move away if they don’t have to?

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