Austin city council passes moratorium on some residential projects

This is a followup to my blog article earlier this week regarding the possibility that Austin will impose certain construction and remodel limits in older neighborhoods.

I’m just going to reprint what appears in the Austin Statesman today …

Austin Statesman Feb 10, 2006

“The Austin City Council has passed a temporary moratorium on residential building that would limit the size of infill construction.

Set to expire June 6, the moratorium will be in effect while the council considers residential design guidelines for new construction in older neighborhoods. Some residents have complained that large new homes detract from the quality of their neighborhoods, while others say the moratorium treads on property owners’ rights.

Specifically, the moratorium affects subdivisions that were platted before March 7, 1974. It limits new building of a single-family houses in those areas to 40 percent of the lot’s size, 2,500 square feet or 20 percent more square feet than an existing structure.

Some homeowners and neighborhood groups say builders have intruded in their subdivisions by building large “McMansions” that detract from an area’s character. They also say the new homes have caused problems in older neighborhoods where storm drain systems already operate at or beyond capacity.

But other residents and homebuilders’ groups have said the moratorium will negatively affect house and land values. They say the moratorium counters recent city efforts to create more dense urban living and revitalize run-down areas.”

5 thoughts on “Austin city council passes moratorium on some residential projects”

  1. I wish this had been in effect before the “monster house” was built next to mine. It took away my back yard privacy and definitely does not fit the style of the neighborhood. The 3,000+ square foot giant is more than twice the average size of houses on the block. The proposed limits of 40 percent of the lot’s size, 2,500 square feet or 20 percent more square feet than an existing structure seem reasonable.

  2. Yes, I think the new restrictions are reasonable also. A friend of mine purchased a beat up home north of Hyde Park and had it hauled off the lot. It was beyond being a candidate for repair or remodel. He built a brand new home, about 2200 sqft, that looks like a classic Hyde Park style home. It’s really a beautiful home. I think most people would support that sort of ressurection of a lot, with a look and feel in keeping with the neighborhood.

  3. I have an 800 square foot home in East Austin. I live there with my wife. The rotten old houses around us are all falling down in disrepair. We would like to have two children and add to our house so that they can have their own rooms. But if the moratorium stays in place, the largest my home can ever be is 960 sq. ft. Why can’t I add a second story to my house that is consistent with the original structure and have a 1600 square foot home?

  4. Hi Neil,
    I believe the restrictions allow you to choose from the LARGER of all choices. My understanding is you may increase the size of your home to 2500 square feet, even if it exceeds the 20% increase of current size, but not if it exceeds the 40% of lot size limit. I’ll have to double check on this but as I read the proposed rules I believe that is how I interpreted it.

  5. I have been bying old beat up homes in Broad Acres subdivision where I currently live and have an office. We currently own 8 homes on large 60 x 200′ lots with old post WW II homes ranging in size from 750 to 1200 sq.ft. zone MF-3. Due to the exorbtant tax rates in the city most of the rents collected barely pay the tax bill on these homes. If the moratorium continues I stand to lose everything I have been working for (retirement, kids college)if I can’t build what I had planned when I purchased the property. With the new restrictions the lots are not worth building. In addition the city was selling the high density inner city cry to end urban sprall so we started buying lots. Now weve bought lots the city has decided to change directions. Typical Austin BS. If it gets passed I will have no alternative but to sue the city for my loss due to this moratorium. Surely some kind of compromise could be made with out destroying property values and peoples livelyhoods.


Leave a Comment