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‘Terribly inefficient and costly’: Council to vote on money for development site plan process improvements

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — It was one of the major affordability platforms Mayor Kirk Watson ran on during his campaign: make it easier to develop new housing.

A consulting firm review initiated by the mayor and city staff found the development site process in Austin is ineffective and city delays cost customers significant amounts of money.

For a single family home, the cost of development goes up nearly $10,000 for every month of delay, McKinsey and Company found. For multifamily developments, a month delay could cost more than $540,000.

Meanwhile, nearly 80% of applicants surveyed said it took longer than a year to get a permit from the city.

“The City of Austin’s development review process is terribly inefficient and costly and has made our affordability crisis worse,” Watson wrote in his newsletter. “But, the good news: We’re gonna fix that.”

McKinsey and city leaders presented findings to Austin City Council Tuesday alongside desired solutions, including having a more cohesive process across city departments, technology investments and more transparency for applicants.

On Thursday, the council will vote on allocating roughly $2.5 million for a 6 month contract to pursue those solutions.

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