2017 Policy Issue Victories
- City of Austin Development Services Department Efficiency Meetings
In October, the HBA and the Development Services Department agreed to conduct ongoing meetings with each division manager in the department to identify and resolve inefficiencies and bottlenecks in the development process. The HBA started with the Trees Division, where we met with Keith Mars and his team over the course of several weeks where a handful of simple but important issues were resolved, including a Plan Review Checklist for Tree Permits, non-impacted tree track, draft tree notes, and additional capabilities in the AMANDA system.
- City of Leander Three Car Garage Solution
In March of 2017, the City of Leander made a number of sweeping changes to the Composite Zoning Ordinance, which included new zoning uses and changes to architectural components and standards. One of the many changes made during this overhaul was a prohibition on street facing three car garages on any lot, regardless of the width of the lot. For months, the HBA has worked with a Leander councilmember to support a solution that would allow street facing three-car garages on lots 60’ or wider.
- HBA is Awarded $20,000 Grant from NAHB
In October, the HBA applied for a grant from the National Association of Home Builders’ State & Local Issues Fund. In early December, the HBA was notified that it had been granted $20,000, the maximum amount that could be granted. The grant will be used to assist the HBA in its CodeNEXT efforts, including hiring consultants, developing and distributing marketing collateral, and assisting with field operations.
- HBA joins Evolve Austin; Amplifies CodeNEXT Efforts
The City of Austin is rewriting its entire land development code for the first time in over thirty years. Given the importance of this issue, and the political landscape of the local politics, the HBA made the decision to invest in an organization called Evolve Austin. Evolve is a coalition of business and industry leaders as well as over 30 nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity, Walk Austin, and the Affordable Housing Coalition. Through Evolve, the HBA has solidified its influence in the shaping of the new code. The Evolve Research Team is chaired by an HBA board member, who leads a group of industry and policy experts in creating white pages and policy positions that are then shared with elected officials.
- City of Kyle Style Guidelines Corrected
Earlier this year, several HBA members and the City of Kyle underwent a thorough stakeholder process to deliberate a change to the building aesthetic regulations in the City of Kyle. Several months later, when the City of Kyle published its Style Guidelines, there were some inconsistencies between the guidelines and previously agreed upon regulations. After an HBA member brought this inconsistency to staff, the HBA worked with the mayor, and presented the case to council. After testimony was given, the council agreed to correct the error and directed staff to draft the new ordinance, effective immediately.