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Old 11-04-2012, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Austin
4,100 posts, read 7,614,326 times
Reputation: 2126

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
Start with getting rid of SF zoning in the center city - everything between 183 and Ben White, Mopac to 183 should have the option of MF.

Bump up MF1 to MF2, MF2 to MF3, etc.

Get rid of highly restrictive parking requirements, in dense cities not everyone needs or wants two spaces. Having to build parking lots for people who wont use them is nonsensical.

Impervious cover restrictions make sense in environmentally sensitive areas - this does not and should not include the center city.

Kill the McMansion ordinance - it's driving families with children to the suburbs.

Stop doing stupid crap like the red-line designed to take people out of central Austin. Build urban rail instead that is local.

Oh - and lower taxes. The high tax burden is another massive problem that drives people outside the city.
It's nice to hear from a decades-long Austinite that has ideas besides, "turn back the clock," "go away," or nothing of substance.

If it were up to me, I'd heavily incentivize accessory and garage apartment construction in Hyde Park, South Congress, Clarksville, French Place, and all the other funky Austin neighborhoods. This would preserve the aesthetics of the neighborhoods, add to the housing stock (keeping rent increases in check), allow for more economic diversity, and make public transportation a more feasible option. Since homeowners would be in charge of these units, uniformity would not be a problem and character would shine through. I know of a lot of people who would love to live in a cheap little place in a backyard in Austin, and it fits very well with the prevailing character of Austin that people who love it would like to preserve.

Good luck getting this achieved, though.
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:33 PM
 
3,836 posts, read 4,951,865 times
Reputation: 2546
Quote:
Originally Posted by brattpowered View Post
It's nice to hear from a decades-long Austinite that has ideas besides, "turn back the clock," "go away," or nothing of substance.

If it were up to me, I'd heavily incentivize accessory and garage apartment construction in Hyde Park, South Congress, Clarksville, French Place, and all the other funky Austin neighborhoods. This would preserve the aesthetics of the neighborhoods, add to the housing stock (keeping rent increases in check), allow for more economic diversity, and make public transportation a more feasible option. Since homeowners would be in charge of these units, uniformity would not be a problem and character would shine through. I know of a lot of people who would love to live in a cheap little place in a backyard in Austin, and it fits very well with the prevailing character of Austin that people who love it would like to preserve.

Good luck getting this achieved, though.
I am a huge fan of granny flats for all the reasons you mentioned. The ANC NIMBYs are against for god only knows what reasons. I'll just add they're a great hedge against rising propery taxes also and can help keep people in their homes and preserve the community. I would do this city wide and not limit them to the cool neighborhoods.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:40 AM
 
Location: Austin
4,100 posts, read 7,614,326 times
Reputation: 2126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
I am a huge fan of granny flats for all the reasons you mentioned. The ANC NIMBYs are against for god only knows what reasons. I'll just add they're a great hedge against rising propery taxes also and can help keep people in their homes and preserve the community. I would do this city wide and not limit them to the cool neighborhoods.
Doing this in the whole city would be great, but we are talking triage. Adding units to existing homes and yards would help preserve the character of the communities that are threatened the most, and hopefully set an example of how to enliven cities and make them more accessible at the same time.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:56 AM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 25,084,640 times
Reputation: 10652
Quote:
Originally Posted by brattpowered View Post
If it were up to me, I'd heavily incentivize accessory and garage apartment construction in Hyde Park, South Congress, Clarksville, French Place, and all the other funky Austin neighborhoods.
What you call French Place, the city calls Upper Boggy Creek. I like that name much better. Much less pretentious. To me French Place is a street name, Cherrywood is a street name, and Upper Boggy Creek is the neighborhood name.

I don't know why you think the city has to "incentivize" anything beyond merely allowing it to happen. Upper Boggy Creek (and yes, that is the location name called out on the building permits) has been through a boom of sorts the last few years as many homeowners, including speculators, have built apartments in their back yards, or converted garages into apartments, as well as bumping out small houses into bigger houses. I lived in that area as the fad started and then accelerated, and I can speak to what the effect was on the people living there. Executive summary: It sucked.

Quote:
This would preserve the aesthetics of the neighborhoods, add to the housing stock (keeping rent increases in check), allow for more economic diversity, and make public transportation a more feasible option.
To me this is the perfect example of the difference between what people think will happen, and what actually happens. In this specific case reality does not follow theory.

1) The aesthetics of the neighborhood absolutely changes. How can it not? The Upper Boggy Creek area was once an "affordable housing" area, with a lot of modest sized houses (2 BR, 1 BA, 1,000 sq ft) that were built after WWII as starter houses for returning GIs. It was particularly popular with grad students due to its proximity to UT and the fact that it was inexpensive compared to Hyde Park, for instance. And it was a great place to live, where you knew your neighbors and walking was safe and it was just very nice.

Then a few teardowns were replaced with apartment housing, and a few garage conversions were done and a couple of backyards, and the prices started to rise on properties, and the tax assessments went up too so it affected everyone, and then *WHAM,* some tipping point was reached where every other house on the block had a building project going on, and big trees started coming down and two story back yard projects began towering over the single story front house, and the number of cars parked on the street doubled, and then passed capacity. Same thing happened with loud, drunken parties, and who are you to have a problem with that? .

Street crime started rising, especially car burglaries and vandalism, and long time familiar faces were replaced with a lot of unfamiliar faces, so who knew who belonged any more and who didn't? One of my neighbors was cutting her lawn on hot day, left it by her front door while she ran inside for a glass of lemonade, and when she returned the mower was gone, stolen.

Somebody came down the street late one night and shot out the windows of half a dozen cars on my block with a pellet gun, just for the grins, I guess. Six months later the same thing happened again, only using a machete. Third time I got my car broken into for $1.25 in parking quarters - $350 repair. A neighbor (on French Place!) got burglarized for the big screen TV and all the accessories, all captured on the streaming web cam, so it went out on the internet, but sadly did nothing to stop them or to solve the case.

Now the entire feel of the neighborhood is different from what it was 6 - 8 years ago, so much so that it is practically unrecognizable to me today. Since there are no sidewalks in most of the area, and the curbs are now jammed with cars, walking at night on the narrow streets is nowhere near as safe as it was.

2)"add to the housing stock (keeping rent increases in check)" Adds more units yes, but at higher prices. 3 years ago (I haven't checked recently) a very small studio was maybe $700-750 at a time when city averages (and larger studios) were more in the $550 - 600 range. One BR over garage $900-950 when city averages were more like $700. And one of those cute little 1,000 sq ft 2 BR 1BA detached house maybe $1,600.

3) "allow for more economic diversity" - nope, less. All the prices have gone sky high, and all the inexpensive places have disappeared. It's a lot more expensive to live in the neighborhood now. The senior citizens in the area are being forced out by big rent increases.

4) "make public transportation a more feasible option" - nope, there has been zero change. Nada. The population density has gone up drastically, but none of those folks are using public transportation, apparently.

Quote:
Since homeowners would be in charge of these units, uniformity would not be a problem and character would shine through.
Nice dream, but again, that's not the reality I experienced. The percentage of homes that are owner occupied has plummeted, at least in my experience of it, and a lot more are tenant occupied, and rental office managed, and that makes a big difference in how things feel in the 'hood.

Quote:
I know of a lot of people who would love to live in a cheap little place in a backyard in Austin, and it fits very well with the prevailing character of Austin that people who love it would like to preserve.
Another dream that does not translate to 3D. The "cheap little backyard places" in my old neighborhood all rent for over-market prices today.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX!!!!
3,765 posts, read 8,166,318 times
Reputation: 1760
Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
Another dream that does not translate to 3D. The "cheap little backyard places" in my old neighborhood all rent for over-market prices today.
If they are renting at a particular price, THAT is the market price. In real estate you have to compare apples to apples, if all over the garage apartments in one neighborhood is are going for a higher rent that comparable apartments in OTHER neighborhoods, then the market price in that first neighborhood is simply higher.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:16 AM
 
Location: The Lone Star State
8,030 posts, read 8,049,933 times
Reputation: 5043
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennibc View Post
If they are renting at a particular price, THAT is the market price. In real estate you have to compare apples to apples, if all over the garage apartments in one neighborhood is are going for a higher rent that comparable apartments in OTHER neighborhoods, then the market price in that first neighborhood is simply higher.
Yep.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:58 AM
 
Location: Round Rock, Texas
9,421 posts, read 9,361,160 times
Reputation: 8604
Another NYT article about Austin & the F1 race:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/us...anted=all&_r=1
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:59 AM
 
3,836 posts, read 4,951,865 times
Reputation: 2546
Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
What you call French Place, the city calls Upper Boggy Creek. I like that name much better. Much less pretentious. To me French Place is a street name, Cherrywood is a street name, and Upper Boggy Creek is the neighborhood name.

I don't know why you think the city has to "incentivize" anything beyond merely allowing it to happen. Upper Boggy Creek (and yes, that is the location name called out on the building permits) has been through a boom of sorts the last few years as many homeowners, including speculators, have built apartments in their back yards, or converted garages into apartments, as well as bumping out small houses into bigger houses. I lived in that area as the fad started and then accelerated, and I can speak to what the effect was on the people living there. Executive summary: It sucked.



To me this is the perfect example of the difference between what people think will happen, and what actually happens. In this specific case reality does not follow theory.

1) The aesthetics of the neighborhood absolutely changes. How can it not? The Upper Boggy Creek area was once an "affordable housing" area, with a lot of modest sized houses (2 BR, 1 BA, 1,000 sq ft) that were built after WWII as starter houses for returning GIs. It was particularly popular with grad students due to its proximity to UT and the fact that it was inexpensive compared to Hyde Park, for instance. And it was a great place to live, where you knew your neighbors and walking was safe and it was just very nice.

Then a few teardowns were replaced with apartment housing, and a few garage conversions were done and a couple of backyards, and the prices started to rise on properties, and the tax assessments went up too so it affected everyone, and then *WHAM,* some tipping point was reached where every other house on the block had a building project going on, and big trees started coming down and two story back yard projects began towering over the single story front house, and the number of cars parked on the street doubled, and then passed capacity. Same thing happened with loud, drunken parties, and who are you to have a problem with that? .

Street crime started rising, especially car burglaries and vandalism, and long time familiar faces were replaced with a lot of unfamiliar faces, so who knew who belonged any more and who didn't? One of my neighbors was cutting her lawn on hot day, left it by her front door while she ran inside for a glass of lemonade, and when she returned the mower was gone, stolen.

Somebody came down the street late one night and shot out the windows of half a dozen cars on my block with a pellet gun, just for the grins, I guess. Six months later the same thing happened again, only using a machete. Third time I got my car broken into for $1.25 in parking quarters - $350 repair. A neighbor (on French Place!) got burglarized for the big screen TV and all the accessories, all captured on the streaming web cam, so it went out on the internet, but sadly did nothing to stop them or to solve the case.

Now the entire feel of the neighborhood is different from what it was 6 - 8 years ago, so much so that it is practically unrecognizable to me today. Since there are no sidewalks in most of the area, and the curbs are now jammed with cars, walking at night on the narrow streets is nowhere near as safe as it was.

2)"add to the housing stock (keeping rent increases in check)" Adds more units yes, but at higher prices. 3 years ago (I haven't checked recently) a very small studio was maybe $700-750 at a time when city averages (and larger studios) were more in the $550 - 600 range. One BR over garage $900-950 when city averages were more like $700. And one of those cute little 1,000 sq ft 2 BR 1BA detached house maybe $1,600.

3) "allow for more economic diversity" - nope, less. All the prices have gone sky high, and all the inexpensive places have disappeared. It's a lot more expensive to live in the neighborhood now. The senior citizens in the area are being forced out by big rent increases.

4) "make public transportation a more feasible option" - nope, there has been zero change. Nada. The population density has gone up drastically, but none of those folks are using public transportation, apparently.



Nice dream, but again, that's not the reality I experienced. The percentage of homes that are owner occupied has plummeted, at least in my experience of it, and a lot more are tenant occupied, and rental office managed, and that makes a big difference in how things feel in the 'hood.



Another dream that does not translate to 3D. The "cheap little backyard places" in my old neighborhood all rent for over-market prices today.
Kind of a bizarre little rant. Won't bother to address the neither here nor there stuff about whether you call it Upper Boggy Creek or some other term since at the end of the day - how is that apropos of anything?

Correlation does not equal causation. Just because B follows A does not mean A caused B. That is a logical fallacy. Both A and B may occur because of X or A and B may have independent causes of X and Y. There are many possibilities.

Here's a helpful academic paper on this issue: xkcd: Correlation

Second logical fallacy here - you present B follows A and then list a long parade of horribles that aren't related to either B or A. Honestly, are guys with Machete's coming into the neighborhood because of granny flats? What?

Really, I swear people, allowing granny flats doesn't mean your neighborhood will be invaded by machete wielding thugs or invite people to shoot out your windows with guns.
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,806 posts, read 39,877,728 times
Reputation: 24326
Quote:
Originally Posted by brattpowered View Post
it's nice to hear from a decades-long austinite that has ideas besides, "turn back the clock," "go away," or nothing of substance.

If it were up to me, i'd heavily incentivize accessory and garage apartment construction in hyde park, south congress, clarksville, french place, and all the other funky austin neighborhoods. This would preserve the aesthetics of the neighborhoods, add to the housing stock (keeping rent increases in check), allow for more economic diversity, and make public transportation a more feasible option. Since homeowners would be in charge of these units, uniformity would not be a problem and character would shine through. I know of a lot of people who would love to live in a cheap little place in a backyard in austin, and it fits very well with the prevailing character of austin that people who love it would like to preserve.

Good luck getting this achieved, though.
I LOVE THIS! LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!

Did I mention I love it?
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,806 posts, read 39,877,728 times
Reputation: 24326
OpenD, French Place was French Place LONG (decades) before the city, for planning reasons, decided to throw a bunch of already-existing neighborhoods with their own already-existing names together under the designation of "Upper Boggy Creek". Last time you made a denigrating comment about it being called French Place as a way for "real estate marketing" purposes when you thought it's "real" name was Upper Boggy Creek (which I'd never heard of and I lived near French Place, on both sides, many decades ago in the last century), I looked up the history.

So, whether you like it or not, French Place is the name the community itself gave the neighborhood long, long ago. That trumps city planning convenience any day, in my book.
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