First, I’m all for community owners investing in upgrades and tenant amenities to improve their communities as they see fit. Improving and upkeep takes financial resources, which are inevitably passed on to the residents.
So there is always a balancing of desired improvements to affordability. And these decisions should be made individually and in a manner that makes the most sense for a community.
The draft I have seen is lacking logistical details. Namely:
- how large does the vegetable garden space have to be?
- Where can it be located in a community?
- Who is responsible for the gardening?
- What happens when like many Austin communities that are 100% occupied without existing space to spare? Meaning is some tenant going to be told their lease will not be renewed, not because they didn’t pay their rent or follow the rules and not because the land owner doesn’t want them to stay, but rather because the city is demanding a vegetable garden be placed where their home currently sits.
- And even if there is vacant space, for some communities and prospective residents, the better use of available space could be to put another home there and allow another family a place to live rather than a garden.
I don’t know much about gardening, but from what I understand, it is a labor intensive and an expensive endeavor engaged by those with a passion for it. It is not a means of providing low cost, locally sourced fruit and vegetables. So what happens if they build it and no one comes? What if no one wants to garden in the community? For some communities I can see this turning into a neglected part of the community.
I’m confused by the Council Member Renteria’s quote of, “There’s huge mobile home parks now being built all along the Eastern Crescent, on the border of the city.” “This is a little urgent now because there are so many in the pipeline.”
I know Scott Roberts got a rezoning approval for the construction of a new community, but the quote gives the implication there are tons of parks under development. I’d of course love it if that were actually the case, but other than Robert’s Resorts, I’m not aware of any.
In fact, the city just turned down a request to allow for a new community to be developed after neighbors showed up to oppose it.
This just seems like yet another city overreach with an idea that has not yet been thoroughly thought out as to its practical impact. And it is once again, the singling out of manufactured home communities compared to other housing options.
Notice there is no proposal to mandate vegetable gardens in multi-family housing, or even in other single-family neighborhoods in Austin.
And as for the playground or recreation facility requirement this would impose on new construction, I again think these amenities work for some communities – but others for reasons of cost, maintenance, and liability – it doesn’t.
I might add that the City of Austin has closed in the past some city parks and pools because they city did not want to spend the money to maintain them. But somehow the idea of forcing this onto a community with the idea that they can mandate such things and they will be magically provided for free is either an attempt at political pandering or a lack of understanding of logistics and costs. ##
Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA)
(Editor’s Note – Pendleton’s reaction to another zoning/MHC case, is linked here.)