Land development code amendments could affect many homeowners

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

There are pending changes in the works for the land development code for Austin homeowners. The city of Austin mailed over 725,000 postcards to property owners and utility account holders last week about upcoming hearings where homeowners can participate. 

Alison Alter, council member from District 10 representing a large part of Four Points, voted against initiating these amendments. But the majority of the city council voted to initiate many amendments to the land development code and adopted Resolution No. 20230720-126 on July 20, 2023 (entire resolution is on page 11).

Alter shared in her October 18 newsletter that “initiating amendments… would significantly reduce our minimum lot sizes, change the number of units allowed in existing single-family lots, and significantly erode compatibility requirements. These proposed changes appear to be supported by a supermajority of council members and are now beginning to return to council for adoption.”

The next step in this process is a joint-public hearing with the council and the Planning Commission on Oct. 26, where three code amendments will be discussed:

  • Increasing the number of units allowed on existing single-family lots. 
  • Allowing tiny homes and RVs in single-family zoning districts.
  • Eliminating occupancy limits for housing units in the city. 

Linda Bailey – president of Lake Austin Collective Inc. and resident of the Four Points area – shared these amendments would “change the Single Family entitlements to the 2500-square-foot size… and notice that height, impervious cover, FAR and setbacks can be adjusted: ‘the City Manager is directed to propose amendments that will: 1. adjust: a. setbacks, height, impervious cover, and floor-to-area ratio (FAR).’”

A River Place resident agrees that residents need to be aware of these proposed changes. She shared that the Oct. 26 meeting is extremely important. “This is a very important public input opportunity.”

Another point to consider is that some points of these pending amendments go against deed restrictions of some communities Bailey shared such as River Place and Jester. She said that this could mean “They will have to go to court to enforce the HOA deed restrictions.”

“Some say that it seems it would be helpful to address the concern of those homeowners in deed restricted areas of the regulation precipitating potential litigation, why doesn’t the city council just add that the regulation is not meant to and does not override existing, enforceable deed restrictions. Or allow the city attorney to state that in a written opinion? As that would help relieve a lot of homeowners’ angst.”

On Dec. 7, Council is scheduled to take final action on the three code amendments: increasing the number of units on a single-family lot, allowing tiny homes or RVs in SF zoning, and eliminating occupancy limits for housing units. 

Public hearing dates 

The public hearings on these initial proposed amendments will be held at Austin City Hall, 301 W. 2nd St., on:

  • Thursday, October 26 at 2 p.m. – Joint Planning Commission and City Council Meeting  
  • Tuesday, November 14 at 6 p.m. – Planning Commission Meeting  
  • Thursday, December 7 at 10 a.m. – City Council Meeting  

These items are just a few of the amendments the majority of council have initiated, and the others will be the focus of separate hearings in 2024, Alter shared. For instance, the proposed reduction to the minimum lot size will be considered next year. 

There’s additional information at the SpeakUp Austin webpage ( to serve as the primary hub for land development code amendments. To speak at any of the public hearings, registration is required. 

“Please share this information with your neighbors and engage with the Mayor and Council to make your voices heard,” Alter shared. 

There are homes in the Four Points area including those in Steiner Ranch that are not in the city limits of Austin and are in the extraterritorial jurisdiction or ETJ.