Transition areas are the properties located between streets with commercial or multifamily buildings and streets with single-family homes many blocks away from those buildings.
You've probably already noticed that the size and height of buildings generally get smaller as you move (or transition) away from busier commercial areas and go deeper into neighborhood residential areas. These transition areas provide the important step-down in height and density (i.e. the transition) from bigger commercial corridors to the core of existing neighborhoods.
FACT: A tiny percentage (around 2%) of the lots in the city are proposed to be in transition areas, and all of those areas are located along busy transportation corridors or major transit routes. Now that city staff have published a draft zoning map, it’s clear that the transition area map released by Community not Commodity was false and misleading, incorrectly showing substantial portions of the city in transition areas.
FACT: Under the new code, if a homeowner demolishes a single-family home, it can be replaced with a single-family home. No one will be forced to add more units than they already have.
FACT: The new code includes incentives for owners to preserve their existing homes and not tear them down.
FACT: If you own the property, it’s your home, and you can stay in it as long as you like, and even renovate or rebuild it. Homeowners in transition areas (or outside transition areas, for that matter) will be allowed to replace existing single family homes with new single family homes. And a homeowner in a transition area may also expand or renovate their home just as they can today.
FACT: If a home in a transition area is lost in a fire or natural disaster, the homeowner is allowed to rebuild the home to its original size, or even add an additional unit, if they choose. No additional units are required. Period.
FACT: Transition areas are being carefully tailored to the characteristics of individual neighborhoods. Whether an area is considered high opportunity, near transit, walkable, vulnerable to displacement, or in a flood plain are all factors that matter, and are all being taken into account. For example, transition areas vulnerable to displacement will not be subject to the rules allowing up to 10 units per parcel.
FACT: Our democratically-elected City Council provided city staff with specific direction on how and where to create transition areas. City Council has the final say, but only after hearing from the public on the proposals. No changes have been voted on, and there will be many more opportunities for public input before the final vote. (Speaking of elections, did you vote in the last one? Not sure if your registration is current? Register or update your information with the Travis County Voter Registrar or the Williamson County Voter Registrar.)