AUSTIN - Councilman Chris Riley and Councilman Mike Martinez have posted a resolution to make it easier for homeowners to build and rent small secondary residences in neighborhoods across the city.
Secondary dwellings, called accessory dwelling units in city code and sometimes called granny flats, are small homes that often share a lot with a larger dwelling.
These granny flats can offer an affordable option for renters as well as a stream of income for residents. Other cities have had success providing low-cost housing by encouraging granny flats.
Austin's City Code currently allows granny flats of up to 850 sf to be built on lots of at least 7,000 sf by right, or on lots of 5,750 sf if the neighborhood allows them. However, other city code rules make the flats very hard to build, such as a requirement that apartments be served by a nine-foot-wide driveway.
The proposed resolution specifically mentions eliminating driveway and parking requirements. In its current form, it would direct the city manager to develop an ordinance reducing regulatory barriers to the development of accessory dwellings that are less than 500 sf in size.
The ordinance would also ask the city manager to come up with additional recommendations to encourage the smaller units, including reducing the minimum lot size, upping the allowed impervious cover and reducing building separation requirements.
The resolution will be considered on June 12. The current wording directs the city manager to return with amendments in 120 days.
Read more at the Austin Business Journal.