I came across this sign today in Austin providing a “public notice” regarding an application to build housing for the elderly. The absurdity of the extent to which state law in Texas requires notification of the public regarding proposed housing developments utilizing low income housing tax credits struck me as absurd.
I have pointed out previously that low income housing is one of the few activities that a private developer can undertake in the state of Texas that triggers public signage and notification processes. You can drill a gas well next door to somebody’s house and you don’t have to put up a sign to notify them in advance. And what, will somebody please tell me, is it that these notification requirements concerning affordable housing are protecting the public from?
The truth is that the signage requirements represent an official expression that the State of Texas believes that there is something for surrounding property owners and the public at large to fear from low income housing. Otherwise, what is the point of providing this extraordinary level of public notification?
Do homeowners living adjacent to this proposed elderly housing development need to live in fear that old ladies with walkers will threaten the peace of their neighborhood? Are not the protections of city ordinances and zoning powers supposed to control proposed development? If so, why is this extra level of notification necessary for affordable housing?Why are these notices required only of developments financed through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs? Why are not privately financed housing developments required to provide the public the same type of notices?
As part of the sunset review process of TDHCA these inflammatory, unnecessary and absurd public notification provisions should be repealed.