Preservation, Perversion... whatever!!

Can you even find the "preserved" house in this picture?

The first version of the "Preservation Incentive" in the LDC re-write was a massive fail. How did the code team do in their second attempt? Let's take a look!

The Preservation Incentive is supposed to (in the words of staff) "preserve existing market-rate units" while increasing housing supply. Sounds good, right??

At the City Council Work Session on Wednesday, staff showed the illustrations below to show the improvements to the Preservation Incentive. They modeled 2 new units that are 1700 sf each and left the old house as it is (at 1464 sf). Their illustration isn't super flattering, and their new units would be $750k each, but it gets much worse: as it seems they left out a few tiny things.

City of Austin "Preservation" model scenario

Their version delivered a massive 4854 sf on the lot, but they forgot to count the exempted* Attic and Stairway space on the two new units (580  sf/unit), and they forgot that their rules allow developers to expand the "preserved" house up to a .4 FAR, plus exempted Attic and Stairs.

I just wrapped up a day's work modeling a Real World scenario based on the apparent dimensions of the lot used in the City's illustration. The result is two new units that are 2265 sf each, which would sell for over $900k on my street, and the massive 3980 sf front house would be worth $1.3-1.6m.

Our Real-World version of the City's Preservation Incentive slide. Can you even find the "preserved" house in this picture?

These people WROTE the rules, why didn't they follow them when creating illustrations for policy makers and the public? How is it possible that this is the result when Politicians and Bureaucrats set out to "preserve existing market-rate housing"? How has Preservation turned into Perversion?

Aerial View of Real World model

* see "Magical Math at City Hall" for more info on the missing exempt space and the City's Magical Math