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ZAP members OK ‘spot zoning’ for ADU

Tuesday, January 11, 2022 by Jonathan Lee

Last Tuesday, the Zoning and Platting Commission heard what may be one of the last requests to build an accessory dwelling unit on a Single Family Residence-Standard (SF-2) lot after City Council resolved to allow ADUs in such spots in December.

When Cody Carr, founding partner of Carr Residential, requested a rezoning to build an ADU last September, he hadn’t heard any rumors about the city allowing ADUs to be built on SF-2 lots. While Carr could have later withdrawn the request and waited for the new policy to take effect, he had already paid a $9,285 fee to rezone the third-of-an-acre lot at 5210 Rogers Lane. “My understanding is that it’s non-refundable,” Carr told the Austin Monitor of the fee.

Carr said that the fee and lengthy rezoning process will just make the ADU more expensive. “The fee plus carrying costs and holding the property for that term impact the cost of that home by anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000,” he said. The approximately 1,100-square-foot unit will be priced around $400,000, and the existing single-family home on the property will be preserved. 

ZAP was set to approve the request on consent Tuesday, but Commissioner Betsy Greenberg pulled the case to voice her opposition. Even though Greenberg said ADUs should be allowed on all SF-2 properties, she opposed this particular rezoning. “This is spot zoning – it singles out a small tract for treatment that differs from that accorded to the surrounding properties,” she said. On top of that, “The street is terrible.”

Carr agreed that the road has issues but didn’t think that should stop the rezoning. The commission last year opposed a separate rezoning on the street, fearing more cars would make what they deemed an unsafe road even less safe. 

ZAP voted 8-3 to recommend the rezoning, with commissioners Jolene Kiolbassa and Ann Denkler joining Greenberg in opposition.

The Austin Monitor’s work is made possible by donations from the community. Though our reporting covers donors from time to time, we are careful to keep business and editorial efforts separate while maintaining transparency. A complete list of donors is available here, and our code of ethics is explained here. This story has been changed since publication to correct the headline. 

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