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ZAP member comments on ‘missing middle’

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 by Tyler Whitson

Zoning and Platting Commissioner Rahm McDaniel said during last night’s regular meeting that there is an increasing scarcity of median-income housing available in the city. “Median affordability is becoming a real problem, and we can’t just look at affordability as a low-median income problem in Austin,” he said. “I…and I think others, would like to see more units dedicated to those that are earning the median income.” McDaniel made the comment before the commission approved an item on consent to recommend rezoning a piece of property on West Gate Boulevard so that Songhai Development Company, LLC, can build a moderate-high density, multifamily residence. Songhai plans to comply with the city’s Safe, Mixed-income, Accessible, Reasonably-priced, Transit-oriented — or SMART — Housing Program and ensure that 14 percent of its housing, or 20 units, is available to those making 60 percent of the median family income or below, in exchange for 25 percent waivers of certain city-imposed fees. Agent John Donisi of the Drenner Group said the units are required to remain affordable for 40 years. McDaniel has made similar comments about the “missing middle” in the past.

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