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HOME Ph1 / Austin, TX

Thoughtbarn played a leadership role on AIA Austin’s Housing Advocacy Committee during the public input phase of a major reform to the City’s residential zoning code. The HOME initiative (Home Options for Middle Income Empowerment) is intended to increase the Austin’s supply of ‘missing middle’ housing by allowing 3 units by right on all residential lots in the City.

AIA Austin’s Housing Advocacy Committee provided a series of recommendations on the draft ordinance, informed by modelling studies and data visualizations led by Thoughtbarn.  The recommendations (and accompanying report) addressed policy details such as floor-area-ratio limits, setback modifications and preservation incentives, with the goal of providing more flexibility in how the policy can be implemented and increasing the likelihood of smaller homes as an outcome. As part of the process the team met with Council members, Planning Commissioners and fellow advocacy organizations.

All of the AIA’s committee’s recommendations were adopted into the final Phase 1 ordinance, which was approved on a 9-2 vote by City Council in December 2023. The work of the group is ongoing into Phase 2 of the initiative, which will be considered by City Council in Spring 2024.