Facts about the McMansion proposal
Some answers to questions raised by my letter to the Planning Commission and today's Statesman article. Updates will be made here as I think of them and/or receive comments or emails.
- I believe the greatest effect of this ordinance is going to be to make small-lot bungalow homes less attractive to buy than they are today which will probably lead to more deteriorating rental stock rather than an owner-occupied renaissance. McMansions themselves are hurt less by these rules than are traditionally styled two-story residences which are quite common on the narrow lots of Hyde Park.
- Despite being a response to a "drainage emergency", the sum effect of the regulations being proposed is that it will become even more proportionally expensive to build "up" rather than "back". Consequence: more impervious cover; worse drainage.
- Garage apartments appear to count towards the FAR total. Consequence: fewer housing units in the central city. Existing garage apartments would be more likely to be demolished so that the owner could put a more practical second story on the "front house".
- Detached and attached garages count, over a certain square footage. More credit is given to detached than attached garages, which is good from an aesthetic perspective but stupid from a drainage perspective.
- Yes, one of the proposed solutions for those who want more space than the new regulations would allow is to just build a basement. Yes, apparently they were serious. After all, if you live in central Austin, what's another hundred grand or so worth of cost, right?
- I don't yet know where the "height" measurement is taken from (average elevation of lot or front elevation or minimum or maximum). This affects the practicality of a second story dramatically in our cases.
More to come as I get comments / emails.