Density Bonus Program Stalls

For better or for worse, ROMA’s density bonus recommendations aren’t likely to be adopted anytime soon.  The Planning Commission believes that not all party’s concerns have been addressed and they are requesting a four-month review period.  My experience with the density bonus recommendations is that ROMA and the City’s Planning and Development Review Department went above and beyond what was necessary to gather input.  They’ve held town halls and sought out stake holder input, ad nauseam.  Did it feel like a seminar?  Yes, at times, because these are complicated issues with a learning curve.  As someone that’s opined at these input gathering sessions, I always felt my opinion/concerns/questions were being listened to.  Anyone that hasn’t weighed in on this yet cannot credibly claim they’ve not had the opportunity to do so.  Difficult decisions will need to be made that will not always assuage the concerns of all parties.

I’m still ambivalent on the density bonus.  But it’s easy to be frustrated with City Council and the Planning Commission because there has been a year of planning and citizen input on the recommendations put forth.  What does that say about the process of stakeholder input?  Maybe an additional four month review is warranted, but the notion that ROMA and the City’s Planning and Development Review Department have not made every effort possible to seek input is patently false, and leaves me to be skeptical that this is nothing more than junk-politics at work.

For two perspectives on the issue of warehouse district protection – a highlight of ROMA’s density bonus recommendation – check out this contribution by Mike McGill and Roger Cauvin.

Statesman link

About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR, Principal of TOWERS Realty and publisher of Downtown Austin Blog (aka. "DAB"), spends his time matching remarkable people with remarkable properties in Austin’s urban core. A resident owner in downtown Austin, Jude has served on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.


  1. I agree there has been plenty of time and opportunity for public input into the density bonus provision of the Downtown Austin Plan. However, I also believe that few downtown stakeholders are enthusiastic about the proposal.

    There are many reasons it has turned out this way, including that pro-density stakeholders did not voice their opinions early and strongly enough about the fundamentally misguided concept of “taxing” density to achieve community benefits.

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