Current City-wide code allows covered or uncovered porches, open on three sides, to extend 5 feet into the front set-back line in residential lots.
About 15 years ago, Cherrywood adopted a Vision for our neighborhood, the number one goal being safe, walkable streets. This goal caused me, about 10 years ago, to propose an amendment to the Land Development Code that would enable neighborhoods to OPT IN to a tool that would allow porches to extend even closer into the front yard setback; i.e. to within 15 feet of the front property line. Following a concerted effort by several of us Cherrywooders, the Planning Commission and City Council adopted this tool, which the Cherrywood subdistrict of UBC then adopted.
As a result, today covered porches in front yards, open on three sides, can extend closer to the street, allowing a better relationship between front porches and pedestrian passers-by and facilitating “eyes on the street”, resulting in a better sense of community, and a safer pedestrian environment.
Earlier this year I became aware that neither the tool that we proposed, nor the city-wide tool, allow porches located on the side street of corner lots to extend any distance into those (generally 15 foot) setbacks. The result of this fact is that entry porches or other porches facing the side street must respect the 15 foot building setback, thus generally preventing wrap-around porches on corner lots, or covered entry porches on street side yards.
Earlier this year I proposed a very simple amendment to § 25-2-513 of the Land Development Code, which would allow covered open porches to extend into street sidyards in corner lots throughout Austin. Refer to [add Link to PDF file] to see the proposed change, as well as my letter to the Codes and Standards Subcommittee of the Planning Commission (PC) and other related material.
CNA and the Austin Pedestrian Advisory Commission have endorsed the proposal, and it has been received favorably by the PC Subcommitte and referred to City Staff for their review. We have also requested support from Austin AIA and other groups, and we anticipate that soon staff will report back to the PC Subcommittee, and it will then proceed to Planning Commission and City Council for adoption.
I appreciate the support that have received from both Cherrywood and the larger community as I have pressed for this amendment.