State Legislator Trying To Overturn Austin 'McMansion' Ordinance

<p>A State legislature is proposing a bill that would essentially gut Austin's recently passed 'McMansion' ordinance.</p>
March 1, 2007, 9am PST | Nate Berg
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Following a pattern of 'Austin-bashing' legislation, a lawmaker from Seguin, a small city about 90 miles from Austin, is proposing a bill that would limit Austin's ability to regulate housing sizes. The legislator says it is based on property rights and that the builders were not given equal consideration in the ordinance development.

The state legislature has a history of passing bills that specifically target Austin, including ones related to environmental protection and development. It is an example of how state government can often try to supercede local government in development controls and why planners should ensure they have adequate public input when developing ordinances to reduce the potential for things like this.

"In February 2006, the Austin City Council imposed a 30-day moratorium on construction of new houses or additions that neighborhood activists deemed too large and out-of-character with the bungalows and cottages of so many of Austin's older neighborhoods."

"A month later, an interim ordinance was in place while a task force of homeowners and builders worked on final regulations that, in some neighborhoods, eventually limited the size of new homes or additions. Austin's home-size ordinance limits the size, shape and location of dwellings on urban lots in certain near-in neighborhoods."

"The legislation would restrict cities to enforcing only one of three zoning standards: the percentage of a lot that may be occupied, the amount of impervious cover allowed on a lot or limits on the floor-to-area ratio."

Thanks to Chris Holtkamp

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, February 28, 2007 in Austin American Statesman


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