AURA Endorses Travis County Courthouse

Following a vote of our members, AURA is proud to announce our support of the Travis County Courthouse Bond Proposition.  The new Courthouse will replace aging infrastructure; the Courthouse will be centrally-located and transit accessible.     AURA member and co-founder Julio Gonzalez Altamirano says “This is a great deal. For a few bucks a month, we solve our Courtroom space needs for a century. If you want to save money, this is the time to build the basics - loan rates are unlikely to stay low forever. Building now is the fiscally sensible choice.” AURA board member Susan Somers adds  ““Everyone agrees on the need. We can either build modern, compact, and near transit...or we can build a facility that contributes to sprawl. AURA chose the former.” Continue reading

Guadalupe Corridor Is For People

AURA's Guadalupe Corridor Working Group has been following the corridor study process and has released the following report.  We call on Austin City Council and the Transportation Department to take bold steps.  We specifically encourage extending the transit priority lanes from downtown to the Drag, removing the wall on the east side of Guadalupe, and removing the on-street parking from the west side.  

Parkland Accessibility

At AURA, we're focused on building an Austin for Everyone through abundant housing and better public transportation.  Part of our platform calls for better utilizing our public parks by locating more housing near them - and make better child-friendly urban spaces.  With that in mind, we have some concerns about agenda item 58 on this week's Council agenda.   Continue reading

Should we Have a Customer-Focused CapMetro?

At the beginning of July, Capital Metro released two sets of data: one showing huge growth in revenue, and the other showing that ridership is declining in spite of that increased revenue.   Continue reading

Growing List of Organizations Join AURA’s Call to Legalize Backyard Cottages Across Austin

For Immediate Release Growing List of Organizations Join AURA’s Call to Legalize Backyard Cottages Across Austin AURA will host a press conference Tuesday, June 9th at 12 PM at City Hall June 9, 2015 Austin, Texas AURA, a grassroots non-profit that works toward an Austin for Everyone, is proud to announce the support of a broad coalition of organizations in the call for Austin City Council to allow Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)—known colloquially as granny flats, garage apartments, or backyard cottages—to be built by any homeowner in Austin. Continue reading

AURA Calls on Austin City Council to Fight Housing Crisis by Legalizing Backyard Cottages Everywhere

For Immediate Release AURA Calls on Austin City Council to Fight Housing Crisis by Legalizing Backyard Cottages EverywhereNew report released today demonstrates that new rules can create thousands of of new affordable homes June 8, 2015Austin, Texas AURA, a grassroots non-profit that works toward an Austin for Everyone, calls on City Council to adopt a comprehensive ordinance that gives all homeowners across the city the option to build a backyard cottage (also known as an Accessory Dwelling Unit, or ADUs). Simplified rules proposed by AURA will lower the cost of new small homes, allow more of them in every neighborhood, and help Austinites struggling with housing costs to get more revenue from their homes or to rent an affordable home. Continue reading

Statement on the McMansion Ordinance and the recent Planning and Development Review Memo

AURA, a grassroots group that believes in an Austin for Everyone, calls on the city council to rethink the McMansion ordinance.  As the memo from the Development and Services Department and the Planning and Zoning Department on May 1 clearly shows, the complexity of McMansion has added significantly to backlogs, and is in part responsible for the $1.6 million budget hike being proposed for the next calendar year in that department. Continue reading

AURA responds to CAMPO 2040 Regional Transportation Plan

AURA recently submitted a letter to the Capital Area Metropolitan Regional Planning Organization’s (CAMPO) Transportation Policy Board, in response to CAMPO’s 2040 Regional Transportation Plan. In the letter, which you can read below, we call on CAMPO to prioritize moving people—mobility—over  moving vehicles. We also question the funding priority given to road construction, given the plan’s own recommendations. AURA member John Laycock helped write the article and attended the April 8 meeting of the Austin City Council’s Mobility Committee, where he read the letter during Citizen Communications. Video of John speaking is below. John blogs about urban planning at The Theseus Project.

AURA Policy Paper on Accessory Dwelling Units

AURA has released a policy paper on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), better known as garage apartments, granny flats, or back houses. Allowing more ADUs to be built is a crucial piece of AURA’s advocacy for abundant housing in Austin. Our paper argues for a substitute ordinance that would be stronger than the one currently proposed  by City staff. Thank you to Cory Brown of our CodeNow working group for his work on the paper.  Want to help?  Join AURA today!

AURA suggests improvements to Housing Market Analysis

AURA welcomes the recent release of Austin’s 2014 Comprehensive Housing Market Analysis. The report provides valuable context into the state of the Austin housing market and a stark reminder of the depth of problems Austinites face in finding housing available. We particularly agree with the report’s recommendations for rapid reduction in regulatory barriers toward homeowners building accessory dwelling units (ADUs), a change we have led the push for. However, we are disappointed in both the depth of analysis offered and the scope of the recommendations. The recommendations would barely begin to address the housing crisis in Austin. We offer suggestions for the improvement of this report: Continue reading