Austinites, both for and against HOME Initiative, speak out on proposal

The city of Austin is considering changes to the land development code. These changes could affect how your property or properties near you may be developed or used in the future. 

Impassioned Austinites both for and against the HOME Initiative spoke at an hours-long public hearing Thursday.

The proposal has three points:

  • Allowing up to three housing units, including tiny homes and recreational vehicles on a single-family zoned property
  • Revising regulations that apply to a property with two housing units
  • Removing restrictions on the number of unrelated adults living in a housing unit.

"The more supply, the lower the cost goes down for everyone, so for me, it's a no-brainer," Magatte Wade, who is in favor of the initiative, said. 

"They talk about allowing trailers and RVs, those structures are not built for full time habitation. Over time, they're going to deteriorate and make this city a shantytown," Roger Falk, who is against the initiative said.

"At the end of the day, it's about affordability for everyone. I'm thinking about our nurses, I'm thinking about our teachers, I'm thinking about our students, I'm thinking about all these people, first responders. It's only fair and right that they would have access to affordable housing. It's not rocket science," Wade said.

Falk says he thinks it would raise property taxes.

"People have the biggest investment of their life in their homes. They're threatening that with these insane changes that try to eliminate safeguards that were critical to the creation of Austin that made it the golden goose that it is today. They're going to kill the golden goose by packing and stacking and creating high density that brings more traffic, more crime, more litter, more noise, and more stressful living," he said.

"I don't think it will provide what they want in terms of affordable housing, and I think it will destroy Austin and Austin neighborhoods," Cindy Myska, who is against the initiative, said.

Supporters think the proposal would be more environmentally friendly.

"If you have more people living nearby, that can help to sustain the local retail, it can also bring you better mass transit, it can also put more kids in the local elementary school," David Sullivan said.

There are two more public hearings on the topic that will take place at City Hall.

One is on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. during the Planning Commission meeting, and the other is on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. at the City Council meeting.