Accessory Dwelling Units: An Update On The Discussions

The Hyde Park Neighborhood Plan Contact Team (HPNPCT) has established a committee to explore further the potential benefits and disadvantages for reducing to 5750 sq. ft. the residential lot size on which accessory dwelling units (ADUs) would be allowed in Hyde Park. The ADU topic was introduced at the April quarterly meeting of the HPNPCT. On June 12, the Austin City Council approved a resolution to reduce regulatory barriers to ADUs that are less than 500 square feet, including but not limited to eliminating parking and driveway requirements. Council has directed the city manager to convene a stakeholder process for additional recommendations, which could include allowing ADUs on lots larger than 5750 sq. ft.

While it is not clear at the time of this writing exactly how the resolution would affect Hyde Park, it seems likely that the Hyde Park NCCDs would need to be amended through a Contact Team amendment process if residents choose to adopt those changes, regardless of any new citywide changes.

Addressing ADUs is thus a timely issue that compels both the HPNPCT and HPNA to express preferences. It would be beneficial to have a coordinated response from the two groups.

To that end, a newly-formed ADU committee of Hyde Park residents has agreed to participate in a process to help focus discussion, listen to concerns, provide information as it becomes available, and ensure that all stakeholders within Hyde Park have an opportunity to be involved. The members of the committee include Pete Gilcrease (HPNPCT chair), Kathy Lawrence (HPNA co-vice president), Adrian Skinner (HPNA co-secretary), and longtime residents Steve Franke, Coral Franke, Teresa Griffin, and Larry Gilg.

The committee has identified a number of items to address over next few weeks:

• Understand the full implications for Hyde Park of the council resolution on ADUs and communicate them to Hyde Park stakeholders
• Create an online survey to help identify stakeholders’ concerns related to ADU. The survey is now available. The survey is intended for all stakeholders in Hyde Park, and will be instrumental in the decision-making process. Stakeholders are encouraged to take a few minutes to log on and complete the survey.
• Model “real-lot” scenarios. Take two or more specific lots in Hyde Park (or use similar but fictitious lots) and analyze whether an ADU could be built, assess restrictions based on current regulations, and forecast the quantifiable costs and benefits
• Develop a process that fosters input from all stakeholders
• Set the agendas for Contact Team meetings that will discuss ADUs.

The next contact team meeting will be at 7:00pm on Monday, July 28 at Trinity Methodist Church. The agenda is as follows:
• Update on city council ADU resolution
• Presentation on scenarios
• Presentation on results of survey
• Open discussion of issues
• Other business.

–Larry Gilg