CITY COUNCIL DIVIDED ON AFFORDABILITY ACTION PLAN
Initiative lands with thud among half of members; vote set for Thursday.
An affordability action plan championed by Austin City Council Member Ellen Troxclair and four of her colleagues, including the mayor, landed with a thud before the other half of the City Council on Tuesday.
“This is filled with things we are either already doing, can’t be done, or shouldn’t be done,” Council Member Delia Garza said.
The action plan originated with a push from the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of business and nonprofit organizations, and pulled in elements from drafts of other city planning initiatives. It creates an affordability manifesto that includes recommendations to aggressively build more housing, consider a budget option keeping property taxes flat and approve an already-started reform of the city’s permitting process, economic development policy and land development code.
Council members are set to vote on it Thursday.
Tuesday’s initial discussion made it clear that getting the plan through the council will be tight. Troxclair, Mayor Steve Adler and Council Members Ora Houston, Jimmy Flannigan and Ann Kitchen are all co-sponsors of the item. Five other council members — Garza, Leslie Pool, Kathie Tovo, Greg Casar and Sabino “Pio” Renteria — all voiced opposition.
That leaves Council Member Alison Alter, who remained uncommitted, a possible swing vote.
Troxclair said the document is not meant to set requirements in stone, but to create a road