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Affordable developer says permitting rules and land restrictions a problem

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 by Jack Craver

During a City Council Housing and Planning Committee meeting Tuesday, Megan Lasch, a development project manager for Saigebrook Development, an affordable housing developer, told Council members that the city’s lengthy permitting process was a challenge for developers seeking to build affordable housing projects by taking advantage of state-administered 9 percent tax credits. In particular, she highlighted the amount of time consumed by the site plan process. Other cities, including Fort Worth, Dallas and San Antonio, have put in place expedited site plan processes that Austin should consider replicating, she said, acknowledging that some Council members were likely tired or skeptical of complaints from developers about a cumbersome permitting process. Another barrier that some in the community likely would not like to hear about, she said, is the stringent limits on impervious cover that exist throughout much of West Austin. “That’s not something that’s going to be popular with a lot of people,” she said, “but those are just the facts that I see.”

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