C20-2023-044 Density Bonus Zoning District was approved by City Council on Feb. 29, 2024.



In 2006, City Council adopted Ordinance No. 20060331-068, creating the Vertical Mixed Use Overlay (VMU Overlay) and standards for Vertical Mixed Use Buildings (VMU Building). The standards exempted VMU Buildings from certain site development regulations and reduced minimum off-street parking requirements in exchange for community benefits, including affordable housing. In 2007, Ordinance No. 20070215-071 instituted an opt-in process that allowed areas within adopted neighborhood plans to incorporate properties into the VMU overlay. In 2013, Ordinance No. 20130606-088, made significant amendments to Subchapter E, including to the standards for VMU Buildings. This included site design standards applicable to sites adjacent to SF-5 or more restrictive zoning districts.

In 2021, amendments to the City’s vertical mixed use density bonus program, including the creation of a second-tier bonus program commonly referred to as VMU2, were initiated through City Council Resolution No. 20211118-052. The Resolution directed staff to process code amendments to allow for an additional 30’ in height beyond the base zone standards for developments participating in the new tier of the density bonus program and propose affordability requirements for such developments. In June of 2022, City Council adopted Ordinance No. 20220609-080, implementing the code amendments initiated through the 2021 Council resolution.


Summary of Proposed Amendment

The proposed code amendments will create a new combining district for an affordable housing bonus program that is similar to the City’s existing vertical mixed use program and that:  

  1. Is available city-wide; 
  2. Serves the following households and requires a minimum number of on-site affordable units: 
    1. For rental units: 
      1. 10% of units set-aside affordable to 50% Median Family Income (MFI); or 
      2. 12% of units set-aside affordable to 60% MFI; or 
    2. 12% of ownership units set-aside affordable to 80% MFI; 
      1. A fee-in-lieu of on-site ownership units may satisfy this requirement
  3. Allows a development that provides on-site affordable units to be eligible for 30 feet of additional height, up to 90 feet in total height.

By separate ordinance, procedural provisions necessary to implement the density bonus program will be added to Chapter 25-1 of the Land Development Code, including:

  1. Requirement for a pre-application conference with the Housing Department
  2. Defining a certification process by the Housing Department
  3. Provisions for simultaneous availability of units, similar unit size/location, prohibiting income source discrimination, and limitations on short-term rentals.
  4. Creating a penalty for non-compliance

Review and Adoption Timeline

  • Feb. 13, 2024: Recommended by the Planning Commission
  • Feb. 29, 2024: Approved by City Council on a 9-1-1 vote, with Council Member Alison Alter against and Council Member Mackenzie Kelly abstaining.


Approved Ordinance

Ordinance No. 20240229-073


Case Manager Contact

Paul Books, Planning Department, Paul.Books@austintexas.gov

Joi Harden, Planning Department, Joi.Harden@austintexas.gov

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