According to Biz Journals, the Austin City Council recently approved a new ordinance that may make it easier for some developers to create new housing units in the area.
Prior to the changes, all new construction had to meet compatibility standards that were established in order to make certain new construction was compatible with the other structures in the area. As such, new high rise developments could not be built near homes located in certain parts of downtown Austin. In addition, the compatibility standards restricted the height of buildings in areas that have homes located anywhere within a two and a half block radius.
Due to the compatibility standards, many development projects could not be initiated and developers had to redo their proposals. Fortis Development, for example, had to cut its 500 foot tower in half and provide only 200 units in its development on the northwest edge of downtown because of the compatibility standards.
With the new ordinance in place, each development proposal can now be considered on a case-by-case basis and the compatibility standards can be waived if deemed appropriate. This new ordinance only applies to certain areas, specifically to those properties that are zoned Downtown Mixed Use and in Central Urban Redevelopment (CURE) districts.