The city is proposing changes to ordinances related to new residential construction and is seeking input through three online surveys. It’s very important that CSAN influence the results. We often win or lose when the rules of the game are being written and that’s what is happening right now. We need to strongly support the positive changes being proposed, but there are others that would be damaging, or are worded in ways that would enable hidden consequences. PLEASE VOTE NOW.
The surveys are online at http://www.cstx.gov/DevServices (links are in the middle of the web page). You have until May 14th to provide your input. All three will require about 15 minutes to complete.
When responding to each suggestion, your voice will count more if you either “Strongly Agree” or “Strongly Disagree” rather than choosing a more moderate response.
Also, many of the items are worded in a confusing manner, and it’s hard to tell what exactly your responses mean. In those cases, PLEASE state that the wording is misleading and why in the comments section. Specifically describe what you want to happen. Your opinion needs to be clear to prevent the data from being misrepresented.
We do not have specific recommendations for each of the 40+ items. Most are straightforward and it’s likely CSAN members share similar perspectives. We only have a specific recommendation on a few items that may be confusing or where it appears the responses could be misused.
Questions 1-6: If you approve of allowing two renters in an accessory building (i.e., garage apartment), please use the comments section to clarify that you only approve of the renting of an accessory building if a family lives in the house.
Questions 10-11: The city should retain the 2:1 setback rule and not remove it (Strongly agree to 10 and disagree to 11). This provision provides a valuable buffer, eliminating it would allow businesses to move closer to houses.
The critical word throughout this survey is “flexibility.” The current UDO has strong limitations on Neighborhood Conservation Overlays. CSAN endorses giving neighborhoods more flexibility in the use of this tool.
Question 8: This question is poorly worded, but it simply means that adopting an overlay will not nullify the existing lot size rules. Strongly Agree with on Minimum Lot Size.
Question 10: Strongly Agree that the city should continue to conduct neighborhood studies for Conservation Overlays. Such studies help neighbors develop a proposal that the majority will support, and also to defend their proposal against false information.
Question 11: Strongly Agree that neighborhoods seeking a Conservation Overlay should be allowed to include the numbers of unrelated residents allowed on a property as an item in their Overlay. This is probably the most controversial item.
Question 13: Please write a comment urging the City Council to grant much more flexibility in the use of Neighborhood Conservation Overlays. Further, we recommend indicating that the committee referred to in Question 10 should consist of six homeowners living in the neighborhood.
The middle housing option could be good, but it also could be a tool that would seriously encroach on neighborhoods. CSAN recommends a comment stating that the Middle Housing zoning option should only be used if its use does not adversely affect established neighborhoods.
Please, share your opinions with the city
With this survey, we have been given an opportunity to make some changes to the UDO which will have real consequences to many in the city. It is necessary to participate in process if we want to see positive change, so we hope that you take the time to tell city leadership what you think. This is one way we can start making a difference.