Tuesday, May 23, 2017

#TXLEGE: City of Austin's session gets a little bit worse!!!

"Talk no more so very proudly;
Let no arrogance come from your mouth,
For the Lord is the God of knowledge;
And by Him actions are weighed.
1 Samuel 2:3

Lost in the end of session shuffle, check out this amendment that Jason Isaac managed to tack onto another bill at the last moment:
Notwithstanding any other law, a municipality to which this chapter applies may not designate a district under this chapter if the municipality has adopted a requirement in any form, including through an ordinance or regulation or as a condition for granting a building permit, that establishes a maximum sales price for a privately produced housing unit or residential building lot. The restriction described by this subsection does not apply to property that is part of an urban land bank program.
Isaac's amendment precludes a price control scheme that is sometimes euphemistically mislabeled as "inclusionary zoning;" the Foundation for Economic Education details this practice:
But the latest trend in socially conscious planning is so-called “inclusionary zoning,” which mandates some portion of new, market-priced housing developments be set aside for low-income persons who will be charged below-market rates.

The idea is to make the rich subsidize housing for the poor. But this acts as a price ceiling on new units that actually discourages rather than encourages new construction.
Currently, Austin does not engage in this practice.  That being said, we've been hearing for months that Council was planning to push "IZ" forward as soon as the lege leaves town.  Fortunately, Isaac's amendment pre-emptively prohibits going down this rabbit hole.

Bottom Line: Nicely done....

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