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How Accessory Dwellings Will Change the City of Austin

Accessory dwellings have many names. Whether you call them mother-in-law cottages, carriage houses, or garage apartments, these additions to homes can have an effect over an entire city. Recently in Austin, Texas, the City Council proposed a resolution to facilitate the construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs). There are a few impacts this type of housing will likely produce.

accessory dwelling in austin

Downtown Living

Perhaps the biggest change accessory dwellings could bring to Austin is freeing downtown living space. If more families can create secondary housing on their lots, it could open apartments in the downtown area for more people. More rental space downtown could draw more people to the heart of the city to both live and work. With more people living closer to the city center, traffic could be mitigated to some degree.

More Affordable Living

Accessory dwellings also make affordable living possible near town. Homeowners can rent out their accessory dwellings to students, friends, or other relatives. This brings the homeowners a little extra income, and it provides lower cost housing to those who wish to stay in the accessory dwelling. Students and others with lower incomes could afford homes closer to the city’s center by living in garage apartments or other secondary housing locations. Homeowners also have the opportunity to sell a small portion of their land and reduce their property taxes under the condition that the accessory dwelling built on the land can’t exceed 500 sq ft.

Possible Parking Changes

By allowing accessory dwellings, single-family homes could have more than just family members inside them. This would necessitate more parking on the site, but current regulations require a minimum number of parking spots for each home. By allowing more accessory dwellings, Austin may amend its parking rules. With fewer required parking spots, homeowners could use more of the space on their lots to build accessory dwellings, which would not require a driveway if they are small enough.

accessory dwelling in austinLiving closer to business centers in Austin could become easier in the future as accessory dwellings become more popular. People can choose to live in apartments downtown or in more affordable dwellings on single-family lots. Whether Austinites want a larger place downtown or a more affordable option nearby, accessory dwellings seem like a win-win.

No one can argue with the fact that Austin is growing at an exponential rate. To accommodate the new residents, alternatives to traditional housing are essential. If the Austin City Council embraces the proposed resolutions, accessory dwellings such as garage apartments or granny flats could become more popular, which could help many people in the near future and change the city of Austin.