AURA commends City Council for allowing more backyard cottages in Austin

For Immediate Release

AURA commends City Council for allowing more backyard cottages in Austin

November 19, 2015

Austin, Texas

AURA, an urbanist grassroots non-profit that works toward an Austin for Everyone, commends City Council for taking action to allow more Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) – known colloquially as granny flats, garage apartments, or backyard cottages – to be built in Austin.

These changes were originally sponsored by former Austin Councilmembers Chris Riley and Mike Martinez, in June 2014. We thank Mr. Riley, Mr. Martinez along with Mayor Steve Adler and current Councilmembers Gregorio Casar, Sheri Gallo, Delia Garza, Sabino “Pio” Renteria, Ellen Troxclair and Don Zimmerman for their leadership on this issue.

AURA supports these changes, because our platform prioritizes abundant housing of all types, from smaller apartment buildings and garage apartments in established neighborhoods to downtown skyscrapers to single-family housing. We want an Austin where everybody is welcome and everybody’s interests matter: young and old, rich and poor, renter and homeowner, healthy and sick, citizen and immigrant, lifelong resident and new arrival.

The greatest asset our city has is its people, and our city is at its best when it facilitates connections between those people: cultural, economic, and social.

“This is an important step toward allowing more abundant housing in the city of Austin,” says Cory Brown, AURA member. “I’m hopeful that by allowing more housing options within reach of people with modest incomes, we can begin the process of making Austin neighborhoods more integrated and diverse.”

In addition to the substantial public comment in favor of the changes, more than 1,000 Austinites signed AURA’s petition urging Austin’s City Council to allow granny flats and other small houses everywhere in Austin.

“This is a victory for the future of our city. It's a hard won victory over a handful of incumbent homeowners in establishment neighborhoods who are opposed to addressing our housing crisis,” adds Steven Yarak.

AURA is a grassroots urbanist organization focused on building an Austin for everyone by improving land use and transportation through policy analysis, public involvement, and political engagement.

Eric Goff, AURA Board Member,, 512-632-7013
Cory Brown, AURA Missing Middle Working Group,, 512-850-8467

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  • Paul Mullen
    commented 2016-06-02 12:24:20 -0500
    While very welcome, we still face unnecessary obstacles caused by the City development review process and utilities. Thankfully the Planning Commission stripped away a bunch of unnecessary restrictions but there remain silly but costly rules that are preventing ADUs from being built.

    Let’s get our priorities straight: Mobile Loaves and Fishes said it best: “Goodness has a building code… everyone sleeps under a roof”. What use are building codes, intended to improve housing quality, if all they do is make housing unaffordable?