Austin Mayor Steve Adler answers questions from RECA

Austin Mayor Steve Adler addresses the Real Estate Council of Austin during Thursday's Mayoral Luncheon.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler addresses the Real Estate Council of Austin during Thursday's Mayoral Luncheon.

On Thursday, the Real Estate Council of Austin invited Austin Mayor Steve Adler for a question-and-answer session that touched on several city policies germane to the real estate community.

Council members, lobbyists, developers and real estate executives were among the 400 attendees who packed the Four Seasons ballroom on Thursday for the RECA­ Mayoral Town Hall Luncheon.

After a short speech from Adler, the mayor answered a series of questions submitted by RECA members that touched on several city policies, from economic incentives and property rights as they relate to Capitol View Corridors, to the upcoming CodeNEXT maps and managing Austin’s inevitable growth.

Here are the highlights:

On reviewing the city’s economic incentives policy and bringing companies and jobs back to Austin:


The issue of the city’s economic incentives policy has been near center stage for the last month. Last week, Austin City Council passed a resolution that will begin the process of shifting and modernizing the city’s economic incentives policy.

“We want to refocus how we do economic incentives so it could give us the tools to get middle-income jobs back in the city,” Adler said.

He went on to say there are 30,000 open positions in the city and 30,000 unemployed people looking for jobs that don’t match up. He said the city needs to do a better job of addressing that issue.

How do you balance the taking of private property and property rights that would occur with the proposed new Capitol View Corridors with the desire for equity and recognition of the minority community on the east side who have been historically left out?


City Council approved a resolution that authorized a study into the feasibility of creating Capitol View Corridors on the east side. The idea of new Capitol View Corridors, which District 1 Council Member Ora Houston proposed as a way of furthering equity on the east side, was met with pushback from some in the community who said the plan would impede on property rights and limit development.

“How do I balance this desire?” Adler said. “The law determines what that balance is.” Adler said the process is fair as long as the owner of the property being taken for public use is provided compensation equal to what is sacrificed.

Adler went on to say that the Capitol View Corridor resolution passed by council only started a conversation on the topic and no corridors were officially proposed.

Can the city council pass the best land use code without the interference of city politics?


“The call to having a community-deliberate process happen in the absence of politics is beyond unrealistic,” Adler said. “That is how a community makes choices. It’s important that at the end of the CodeNEXT process that we not only get this done, but done in a way that is supported by the community.”

The mayor said that no one in the community will get the zoning map they want but is optimistic that the map will be something everyone supports. When the first draft of the maps come in April, Adler said, they will be wrong, and it will be up to the community respond.

“I hope when the map comes out [in April], we all say, ‘These are wrong, but we didn’t expect them to be right. Let’s roll up our sleeves and figure out how we start moving the possibility of supply around this map,’” Adler said.

Would you support changing single-family zoning to allow for three-to-four smaller houses on lots for families who don’t want to live in the apartments along the major corridors?


“I do not support changing single-family zoning throughout the city,” Adler said. “If we can give ourselves the best map we can have, that will enable us to have the supply of housing we need in this city … but still preserve what is that is special about this city. Frankly, I would not support either extreme in this argument.”

As Austin continues to grow and land demand continues to rise, the central argument has been between increased density and the preservation of character in Austin’s neighborhoods. Adler said a zoning map that would heavily favor one over the other would be unsuccessful in for the city.
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following two years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Su


MOST RECENT

A graphic that reads "today's coronavirus updates"
Travis County coronavirus indicators still hovering at upper end of Stage 4 risk

Travis County saw 657 new cases and 68 new hospitalizions July 13.

The city said residents should make sure they are only watering on their scheduled days based on address. (Courtesy city of Georgetown)
Georgetown faces watering restrictions, SW Austin private school closes: News from Central Texas

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas here.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, shown here in March, announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide additional resource to help Texas combat COVID-19. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Department of Defense task forces deployed to help Texas combat COVID-19

Gov. Greg Abbott announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide more resources to Texas to combat the rise of COVID-19.

The proposed fiscal year 2020-21 budget includes an $11.3 million reduction in police spending, achieved largely by eliminating 100 vacant positions within the Austin Police Department. (Design by Shelby Savage/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin's $4.2 billion proposed budget includes 2.5% reduction to police department funding

Community groups and some Austin City Council members have called for a police department budget reduction of at least $100 million.

Thousands marched from Huston-Tillotson University to the Texas Capitol on June 7 to protest police brutality and systemic racism. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Where Austin's mayor, 9 City Council members stand on police reform, funding, leadership

With decisions coming soon on the city's fiscal year 2020-21 budget, all but one City Council member sat down for interviews on where they stand on various policing issues in Austin.

Smith Academy services will remain open until the end of day July 31. (Courtesy Pixabay)
South Austin private school to permanently close in August

Smith Academy services will remain open until the end of day July 31.

Dripping Springs ISD sign
Dripping Springs ISD parents to opt into either 100% in-person or remote learning option for 2020-21

While parents can select an online learning option, DSISD will be offering in-person classes on campuses five days a week during the 2020-21 school year.

Travis County has added 3,069 new confirmed cases over the past week from July 6-12. (Community Impact Staff)
Travis County adds 3,069 new coronavirus cases over past week

Travis County has added 3,069 new confirmed cases over the past week from July 6-12.

A sign directs voters inside Ridgetop Elementary School in North Central Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
11.8% of voters in Travis County have voted early since June 29, exceeding 2018 primary numbers

More than 97,000 Travis County residents have voted in person or by mail. The turnout far surpassed the combined early and Election Day totals in the 2018 primary run-off election.

A photo of the potential Tesla property
Travis County updates Tesla incentive package, pushing for $1 billion-plus investment from the company

Poised for a possible July 13 vote, Travis County has released a refined incentives structure proposal with electric carmaker Tesla.

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.