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Special City Council/Planning and Zoning Commission Recap: January 12, 2023

For the second City Council/Planning and Zoning Commission joint workshop Thursday, the City’s Senior Planner briefed City Council, Planning and Zoning Commissioners and City Staff on the status of housing developments and growth in Lockhart and the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown MSA. The link to his presentation is included in this Recap.


  1. Housing: Housing in Lockhart has been experiencing significant growth, with several projects currently underway. 185 single-family residential permits were issued through November 2022, as compared to 2021’s 94 permits. One permit was issued for multifamily projects in 2022, compared to two in 2021. Despite the rate of growth, the housing market remains tight: very few houses are available for sale, and there are waiting lists for apartments in town.
    1. Regional Housing Trends: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2021, the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown MSA saw 50,907 total housing units permitted.
      1. 24,486 single-family (48.1%)
      2. 494 duplex (1%)
      3. 285 3-4 plex (0.6%)
      4. 26,642 multifamily (52.3%)--Housing trends tipped towards multifamily units in the Austin region due to rapid population growth, high land prices, high single-family housing prices putting homeownership out of reach for large segments of the population.
    2. Single-Family Housing: Availability of single-family housing provides opportunities for new residents to live and invest in Lockhart, creates a tangible asset to build wealth, and helps attract desired retail and larger healthcare facilities.
      1. Challenges: Single-family housing trends towards smaller lots due to increasing land prices, interest rates, and tighter land development economics lead to a lack of diversity in lot size and square footage of homes.
    3. Multifamily Housing: Multifamily housing provides opportunity for prospective residents to establish life in Lockhart, along with workforce. The addition of apartment units helps bring the population needed to attract additional retail and services (“retail follow rooftops”).
      1. Challenges: Multifamily housing new construction have been increasing due to land and construction costs and many existing apartment complexes are income restricted. Residents opting towards apartments will not build equity and these units are less suitable for families with children.
  2. Approaches to Growth and Development:
    1. Smart Growth: Development that is environmentally sensitive, economically viable, community oriented and sustainable. Smart growth focuses on the planning and layout of communities and the efficient use of land to maximize community goals and avoid wasteful sprawl.
    2. Strong Towns: Refinement of Smart Growth principles with an enhanced focus on long-term fiscal well-being of cities. It raises awareness of long-term liability of infrastructure dedicated to cities, urges compact development patterns to reduce fiscal liability per resident, warns against nonproductive uses of land (i.e. excessive free parking), urges value per acre calculation instead of gross value per project or lot, and makes streets and development people-friendly, rather than car-oriented.
  3. Comprehensive Plan UPDATE: A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) has been issued seeking qualified consultants to assist the City in developing a new Comprehensive Plan. The City’s current comprehensive plan was drafted in 2000. Once a consultant is selected, the planning process will start around April. Major land use policy changes are expected to be made upon the plan’s adoption, but urgent items can be addressed during the planning process, which could take a year to 18 months to complete.
  4. Next Steps: City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission reached a general consensus to have City Staff come back with recommendations on concerns discussed during the second joint workshop to present to the Planning and Zoning Commission for consideration.


To view the presentation, click here.

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