“Attainable” Tiny Homes, RVs Will Be More Widely Allowed in Austin

In backyards, no less

RVs as homes are currently only allowed in commercially zoned areas, but Leslie Pool plans to change that (Photo by Getty Images)

City Council Member Leslie Pool continued her campaign to increase the supply of what she calls “attainable” housing in Austin – rather than affordable – with passage of a resolution that would allow tiny homes and recreational vehicles to serve as homes in more parts of the city.

Currently, Austin’s Land Development Code only allows tiny homes or RVs to be used as homes in places designated for their use – like mobile home parks, campgrounds, or other commercially zoned areas. But the resolution, authored by Pool and approved on consent at Council’s Sept. 14 meeting, directs staff to expand usage of these types of homes as residences in more parts of the city, by allowing owners to not just store them on their property, but to connect utilities as well.

Pool’s final Council term ends in 2025, and she has said she will not petition for a third (full) term (already one candidate, Pierre Nguyen, has filed to run for the open seat next year). The tiny home/RV resolution is in-line with what has become a central focus of Pool’s final two years on Council – expanding housing options for Austin’s middle class. The city has made progress on creating new, deeply affordable housing units, and on construction of market rate units – but Council has not served people occupying the income level in between the two as much. Now that Austin is the 10th largest city in America, Pool told us in July, the city has a “different portfolio of responsibilities,” that includes creating housing attainable to people of all income levels.

The resolution directs staff to come back with an ordinance for Council to review and adopt no later than Nov. 30.

* Editor’s note Tuesday, Sept. 19, 12:58pm: A previous version of the story mistakenly identified Austin as the 11th largest city in America; it is currently the 10th largest. We regret the error.

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