- AISD has proposed putting affordable housing for teachers on two of its properties.
- It has numerous proposals for each property.
- Some of the proposals have been met with neighborhood resistance. AISD should ignore the resistance and build lots of units.
Sometimes when I write this blog I feel like I am a broken record. I am consistently writing about Central Texas and affordable housing. But then I remember that it really is the biggest (or at least one of the top 3 biggest) issue facing our great region. And then I do not feel so bad.
I was reading an article this morning that reminded me of when I lived in New York City. The year was 2005 and I was working for a big Texas law firm’s New York office. These were fun times. But I was living in midtown Manhattan on a big law firm associate salary. And I remember thinking that there was no way anyone who made less money than me could afford to live in Manhattan. I used to think, “Where do the school teachers live?”
Well, flash forward seventeen years and I reckon the folks at AISD are thinking the same thing. But they are trying to do something about it.
AISD has Plans to Build Affordable Housing
We all know Austin housing prices have been on a rapid ascent the last few years. This has made it difficult for anyone to afford to live here. AISD, therefore, apparently recognizes how difficult it is on its teachers. As a result, it has a plan to turn two of its properties into affordable housing for teachers.
Jeremy Stifler, AISD’S Director of Real Estate, told the Austin Monitor that having affordable housing can help AISD attract and retain quality teachers. AISD is not looking to just sell the land to the highest bidder but to be long-term partners and maintain ownership of the sites.
The first property is the Rosedale School up in northwest Austin. AISD has proposed four possible uses for this site:
- 10 lots with 20 single family homes constructed on those lots;
- 25 lots with 50 single family homes constructed on those lots;
- 44 2-story townhomes and an 80 unit 4-story multifamily building; or
- 30 2-story townhomes and a 140 unit 4-story multifamily building.
The second property is the Anita Ferrales Coy Facility in East Austin. AISD has proposed five possible uses for this site:
- 57 unit, 4-story multifamily building; 86 unit, 5-story building; and 100 unit, 4-story building;
- 57 unit, 4-story multifamily building; 86 unit, 5-story building; and 100 unit, 4-story building, and a 272 unit, 5-story building;
- 308 unit, 5-story building, and a 272 unit 5-story building;
- 32 single family homes, 63 2-story townhomes, a 78 unit 4-story building, and a 96 unit 5-story building; and
- 56 2-story townhomes, 308 unit 5-story building, and a 272 unit 5-story building.
AISD is currently presenting these proposals through public meetings.
AISD Should Ignore Neighborhood Objections
Apparently at the meeting last week about the Rosedale School proposals, there was heavy objection from some of the local neighbors. The people there argued that while single-family homes would match the character of the neighborhood, an apartment complex would not. Another concern was that apartments would increase traffic in the area.
I don’t really know what it means to “match the character” of a neighborhood. And I do not want to prescribe any negative intent or connotation to it. So I will just say that, when done right, apartments are very nice and can add to the character of any neighborhood.
But that’s sort of beside the point. The bottom line is we need more housing in Austin. That’s how we are going to make it more affordable. And if AISD wants to help attract and retain better teachers, it should build as many housing units as it can fit. So I applaud AISD for its plans and hopes it builds as many units as it can on the properties it owns.