Austin Reduces Minimum Lot Size

Smaller lot sizes for single-family homes can make construction more affordable and homeownership available to more households.

1 minute read

May 21, 2024, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Texas Townhomes

Townhomes in Austin, Texas. | Tricia Danie / Shutterstock

The Austin City Council voted to reduce the city’s minimum lot size for single-family homes as part of its effort to make housing construction more affordable and encourage gentle density increases. As Joshua Fechter notes in The Texas Tribune, the new lot size rule reduces minimum lot size from 5,750 square feet to 1,800 square feet. “The council also voted to allow apartment buildings to be built closer to single-family homes and denser development along a planned light-rail line,” acknowledging that successful transit and housing density go hand in hand.

As Austin housing prices skyrocketed during the pandemic, city officials found themselves able to push through more housing reforms than were possible before. A reform package dubbed “Home Options for Mobility and Equity” (HOME) makes significant zoning changes to encourage housing production, but “Resistance to the reforms runs deep among some neighborhood groups, anti-gentrification activists and the city’s old guard of environmentalists, all of whom have long opposed efforts to boost Austin’s overall housing density.”

Friday, May 17, 2024 in The Texas Tribune

Three colorful, large beachfront homes, one khaki, one blue, and one yellow, with a small dune in front and flat sand in foreground.

Florida Homeowners 'Nope Out' of Beach Restoration Over Public Access

The U.S. Corps of Engineers and Redington Shores, Florida are at a standstill: The Corps won’t spend public money to restore private beaches, and homeowners are refusing to grant public access to the beaches behind their home in return for federal assistance.

June 7, 2024 - Grist

Multistory apartment building under construction.

New Tennessee Law Allows No-Cost Incentives for Affordable Housing

Local governments in the Volunteer State can now offer developers incentives like increased density, lower parking requirements, and priority permitting for affordable housing projects.

June 10, 2024 - Nooga Today

Pumping Gas

10 States Where the Gas Tax Is Highest

As the gap between gas tax revenue and transportation funding needs widen across the country, the funding mechanism is drawing increased scrutiny from both public officials and consumers.

June 9, 2024 - The Ascent

Concrete walkway with landscaping, decorative tiles, and picnic tables in a Los Angeles County park.

Wish Granted: Former Brownfield Transformed to New Park

Wishing Tree Park in West Carson, California officially opened last month, replacing a brownfield site with a much-needed green space for recreation and respite.

June 14 - Urbanize LA

"No right turn on red" and "Turning vehicles yield to pedestrians" sign.

The Tide is Turning on Right Turns on Red

The policy, which stems from the gas embargo of the 1970s, makes intersections more dangerous for pedestrians.

June 14 - NPR

Thick green forest on edge of lake in Louisville, Kentucky.

Louisville Begins Process to Clean Superfund Site

A public forest is home to dozens of barrels that have been leaking toxic materials for decades.

June 14 - Inside Climate News

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.