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Roofing insurance supplements

Why Hire a Company to Help with Roofing Insurance Claims?

Why Hire a Company to Help with Roofing Insurance Supplements in Austin, TX?

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Are you interested in reducing expenses and increasing profits for your expanding roofing business? You can achieve these goals without compromising quality. As a roofer, you understand that every project is critical to your company's financial success. Given the high level of competition in the industry, it's important to seek ways to gain an edge over your competitors continuously.

For many roofing contractors, having a team of insurance restoration consultants to handle tasks like Xactimate writing is the solution they need to gain that edge. Here are just a few of the most common reasons why roofing contractors like you trust IRC Estimates for help with roofing insurance supplements.

Roofing Insurance Claim Austin, TX

Great Xactimate Training is Hard to Find

When insurance adjusters prepare claims, they rely on a software program called Xactimate. This program allows them to input large amounts of data and corresponding codes to generate a claim. However, if an adjuster lacks knowledge about roofing, the generated claim may not be accurate. Adjusters are required to follow their company's standard policies, which means that the information generated for a claim is entirely decided by the insurer.

Unfortunately, this can be bad news for homeowners and roofing contractors who are trying to complete a job. The claim generated by an adjuster may not account for overhead and profit or other contractor expenses. But with Xactimate training from companies like IRC Estimates, you can help ensure your claims are accurate and account for the expenses you need to get your roofing job done right. Contact our office today to learn more about how our team helps roofing contractors with Xactimate training and more.

Help Ensure You're Doing Your Best Work

Without roofing insurance supplements in Austin, TX, it can be easy for an insurance adjuster to miss certain types of damage when they're assessing a roofing job. While an adjuster's job is to estimate the extent of the damage, their estimate is only an approximation. Supplementing a project can help ensure that all issues, damage, and necessary materials are properly calculated, so you can confidently have all the supplies and preparation needed to complete the job to the best of your ability.

The Process of Supplementing Takes Time You Don't Have

Insurance company desk adjusters often find themselves spending a significant amount of time completing monotonous tasks like estimating claims for homeowners who have experienced structural damage and require financial assistance for repairs. These tasks, which can include negotiating, make up the bulk of what they do for their 40-hour work week. They don't have business obligations and client needs to exceed.

Smaller roofing companies, on the other hand, may not have the financial resources to hire a team of adjusters or estimators to help counter insurance claims with supplements. As a result, they either spend time doing the supplements themselves or hire someone with less knowledge or skill to complete the task. This not only negatively impacts their bottom line, but it is also not a cost or time-efficient approach. By relying on a company that specializes in roofing insurance supplement assistance for contractors, you can potentially free up your time and focus more on serving customers.

Office Turnover Hurts

Small roofing contractors who choose to hire office staff to handle supplement preparation and multitasking may face high turnover rates. As previously mentioned, the work can be time-consuming and tedious, causing entry-level employees to tire quickly and seek better opportunities elsewhere. Furthermore, most office staff may lack the proficiency required to operate Xactimate software and may not have on-the-job experience with roofing projects.

Essentially, you may end up with an insurance adjuster on staff. Is that something you really want to consider?

Rejected Roofing Insurance Supplements are Real

One crucial point to note is that inexperienced preparers often overlook important aspects when creating roof supplements. Without adequate knowledge, they may not be able to prepare the supplement accurately and may take a longer time to submit it, which could result in a rejection from the insurance company.

Additionally, untrained office staff may not be able to fully maximize the supplement for a claim and verify its authorization, which can lead to missed opportunities for the business owner to receive the full amount they are entitled to.

Keeping It "In-House" Isn't Always Wise

Are you considering handling roof supplements on your own, or are you open to outsourcing to a skilled team of experts? While it may seem like a wise decision to keep the process in-house in the short term, that may not work for long. Without someone by your side with years of roofing supplement experience, you could be missing as much info as the inexperienced adjuster with whom you're fed up. That's why roofing contractors use companies like IRC Estimates - to ensure they get the materials and compensation they truly deserve to do the best job possible.

FAQs About Roofing Insurance Supplements in Austin, TX

As insurance restoration consultants, IRC Estimates works with a wide range of roofing contractors throughout the year. Some are brand-new at what they do and need help understanding the nuance or work involved with roofing supplements, Xactimate writing, and construction restoration in general. And that's OK - everyone has got to start somewhere.

Whether you're a new roofing contractor feeling lost or you're a seasoned expert looking to brush up on your knowledge, keep reading. Below are just a few of the most frequently asked questions that our roofing insurance supplement consultants handle daily.

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What's the point in supplementing roofing jobs? I'm busy enough as it is.

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This is one of the most asked-about topics that we hear at IRC Estimates. And the answer is simple - to get paid what you should be getting paid on roofing insurance claims jobs. What that means is you get paid the actual cost to do the job that you accepted correctly, such as:

  • Quantity of Materials
  • Installation Best Practices
  • Adhering to Building Code Mandates
  • More

The truth is that insurance companies aren't the enemy, but they sure do make mistakes. It's up to you, as the roofing contractor, to discover and remediate those mistakes - not just for you but for your roofing client. The fact is that your clients hire you because they believe you're an expert at filing and managing roof insurance claims. By supplementing those claims, you're both demonstrating your expertise while providing excellent service and results. If you don't have the time to do so, it's wise to search for professional help with your roofing insurance supplements.

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Is there a set number of roofing jobs that I should supplement?

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The quick answer is that you should review all of your roofing jobs to see if they need to be supplemented. Remember that consistency is key here. By having a clear and standardized process for thorough inspections, it will be easier to determine if your roofing project requires a supplement and easier to file one too.

The best way to achieve this is by giving your sales reps clear guidelines on how all roof inspections should be conducted. Top contractors use inspection checklists and photo checklists to ensure that all damage and necessary materials are properly documented for the job. While this may add an additional 15-30 minutes to the sales reps' current process, it will benefit your roofing business in many ways.

If you're just starting out and need some help on how to optimize this process, contact IRC Estimates today to speak with one of our consultants.

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When is the right time to think about roofing insurance supplements in Austin, TX?

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When it comes to roofing supplements, there are two opportune times to submit them: Pre-Production (before installation) and Post-Production (after installation, but before depreciation is released). The most effective method is to file both Pre-Production and Post-Production supplements for insurance roofing jobs.

For Pre-Production supplements, it's best to write or send them to a supplementing company as soon as the adjuster has provided the full scope of loss. This is because it can take the adjuster and carrier several days to settle these claims, and it's important to avoid scheduling an installation if there are expensive Xactimate line items that haven't been approved yet. Often, when a Pre-Production supplement is approved, the carrier will send an extra ACV check to the homeowner for the additional line items on the revised estimate.

Contractors with effective roof inspection processes tend to have faster turnaround times on Pre-Production supplements and encounter fewer scheduling issues. When they don't have those processes in place, they often use a trusted partner like IRC Estimates, with years of experience managing Xactimate software and roofing issues covered by insurance.

Your Trusted Choice for Roofing Insurance Supplements in Austin, TX

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IRC Estimates offers a comprehensive range of roofing insurance supplement services for roofing contractors, including Xactimate claim writing and management, claims administration, estimates, and consulting services. Our dedication to roofing contractors enables them to streamline their operations and reduce costs by either outsourcing their claims administration entirely or learning how to manage it themselves.

Whatever your goals may be, IRC Estimates is here to help you expedite your services and grow your roofing business, one roofing insurance claim at a time. Contact our office today to learn more about how we can help you maximize every roof claim that comes across your desk by using supplements.

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Latest News in Austin, TX

Blinken and Austin assure U.S. support for Israel as potential ground offensive in Gaza looms

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin assured Israel that “we have your back” as he and America’s top diplomat met Friday with Israeli and Arab leaders. There was no indication the U.S. was trying to prevent an expected Israeli ground offensive into Gaza that could worsen a humanitarian crisis for the 2.3 million Palestinians trapped in th...

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin assured Israel that “we have your back” as he and America’s top diplomat met Friday with Israeli and Arab leaders. There was no indication the U.S. was trying to prevent an expected Israeli ground offensive into Gaza that could worsen a humanitarian crisis for the 2.3 million Palestinians trapped in the blockaded territory.

The visits to the Middle East by Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken came as Israel escalated its war against Hamas militants in response to their shocking and brutal rampage last weekend.

Israel demanded Friday that some 1 million civilians evacuate northern Gaza for their own safety in anticipation of the expected invasion. Palestinians did indeed begin a mass exodus toward the southern part of the besieged territory even as Hamas dismissed the evacuation as a ploy and the U.N. warned of potentially disastrous consequences of so many people fleeing.

President Joe Biden noted the priority of aiding those trapped in Gaza.

“We can’t lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do Hamas. And they’re suffering as a result as well,” Biden said at an unrelated event in Philadelphia. He said he’d directed his administration to work with the governments of Israel, Egypt, Jordan and other Arab nations and the United Nations to send humanitarian relief urgently to those endangered by the war.

WATCH LIVE: War in the Holy Land — A PBS News Special Report

But as he has throughout the war, Biden pledged that the U.S. would stand by Israel against a Hamas threat he called “pure evil.”

Blinken voiced a similar message, saying at a news conference in Doha, Qatar, that although the U.S. continues to “discuss with Israel the importance of taking every possible precaution to avoid harming civilians,” it was also the case that any country “faced with what Israel has suffered would likely do the same.”

“No country can tolerate having a terrorist group come in, slaughter its people in the most unconscionable ways and live like that,” Blinken said. “What Israel is doing is not retaliation, it is defending the lives of its people.”

Blinken, shuttling among Saudi, Jordanian and other Arab leaders Friday after meeting with Israeli leaders in Tel Aviv the day before, also heard Arab demands for aid corridors to be opened for the Palestinians trapped in Gaza and fears that any Israeli ground offensive could push countless Gaza residents into their countries.

Besides his meeting in Doha with Qatar’s foreign minister, Blinken met with King Abdullah of Jordan, who rules over a country with a large Palestinian population and has a vested interest in their status, and also with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who runs the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank.

LIVE UPDATES: What’s happening on Day 7 of the Israel-Hamas war

King Abdullah warned Blinken of “any attempt to forcibly displace the Palestinians from all the Palestinian Territories or to cause their internal displacement, calling for preventing a spillover of the crisis into neighboring countries and the exacerbation of the refugee issue,” Jordan’s government said in a statement.

Abdullah also stressed the need to open humanitarian corridors for medical aid and relief into Gaza while protecting civilians and working to end the escalation of the conflict. He appealed for international agencies to be allowed to work unhindered.

Blinken discussed with the king the efforts to release all of the hostages the Hamas militants seized, as well as efforts to prevent the conflict from widening, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

Austin, meanwhile, saw firsthand some of the weapons and security assistance that Washington rapidly delivered to Israel after it was attacked. A senior defense official said the U.S. has already given Israel small diameter bombs as well as interceptor missiles for its Iron Dome air defense system and more will be delivered.

Asked about the likelihood of civilian casualties in Gaza, Austin said Israel has the right to defend itself. He said he respects Israeli forces because he’s worked with them over the years when he was in the military.

“They are professional, they are disciplined and they are focused on the right things,” he told reporters after meeting with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and the Israeli War Cabinet. He also spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling him, “As the president said, we have your back.”

Austin has spoken nearly daily with Gallant and has directed the rapid shift of U.S. warships, aircraft, intelligence support and other assets to Israel and elsewhere in the region. The USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier strike group is already in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and a second carrier was departing Friday from Virginia, also heading to the Mediterranean.

Austin declined to say if the U.S. is doing surveillance flights in the region, but the U.S. is providing intelligence and other planning assistance to the Israelis, including advice on the hostage situation.

Biden earlier Friday participated in a virtual meeting with families of 14 Americans who are unaccounted for after the Hamas attacks.

POLL: Most Americans fear broader conflict may arise from war between Israel and Hamas

“They have to know that the president of the United States of America cares deeply about what’s happening. Deeply,” Biden told CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Thursday. “We have to communicate to the world this is critical. This is not even human behavior. It’s pure barbarism. And we’re going to do everything in our power to get them home if we can find them.”

The White House said other participants included Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser; Roger Carstens, hostage affairs special envoy; John Bass, undersecretary of state; and Brett McGurk, National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East.

In Doha, Blinken thanked Qataris for their efforts in trying to secure the release of the hostages. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said Qatar was doing its best and that “progress will be determined in the next several days.”

Al Thani also said it was imperative to open humanitarian borders in Gaza to make sure aid can “reach our Palestinian brothers in the Gaza Strip.” He said civilians needed to be protected and that “collective punishment is unacceptable.”

Blinken expressed condolences for the loss of Palestinian civilian lives in his meeting with Abbas, Miller said, and “underscored that Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination and discussed ways to address the humanitarian needs of civilians in Gaza while Israel conducts legitimate security operations to defend itself from terrorism,” Miller said.

Blinken made a brief stop in Bahrain before ending the day in Saudi Arabia, a key player in the Arab world that has been considering normalizing ties with Israel, a U.S.-mediated process that is now on hold.

He will travel to the United Arab Emirates and Egypt over the weekend.

Lee reported from Amman, Jordan. Omar Akour in Amman, Will Weissert in Philadelphia and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.

Austin City Council approves phase one of HOME initiative after full day of public comment

AUSTIN (KXAN) — After nearly 12 hours of public comment, Austin City Council members approved phase one of the HOME initiative late Thursday night. The initiative is intended to create more housing options for Austinites.The initiative was brought forward by Austin City Council Member Leslie Pool of District 7, who thanked her colleagues on their passing of the plan shortly before midnight.“It was an extraordinary effort and I thank you all, thank you all. My thanks to all the City staff who have contributed to the ...

AUSTIN (KXAN) — After nearly 12 hours of public comment, Austin City Council members approved phase one of the HOME initiative late Thursday night. The initiative is intended to create more housing options for Austinites.

The initiative was brought forward by Austin City Council Member Leslie Pool of District 7, who thanked her colleagues on their passing of the plan shortly before midnight.

“It was an extraordinary effort and I thank you all, thank you all. My thanks to all the City staff who have contributed to the HOME effort,” she said.

But hundreds of Austinites showed up at City Hall Thursday to speak against the initiative, and expressed concerns that developers would demolish existing single-family homes and replace them with expensive townhomes.

“My decision, again, is rooted in the genuine concerns raised by constituents,” Council Member Mackenzie Kelly said. She and Council Member Alison Alter voted no.

Council members thanked the huge number of speakers who showed up Thursday and said many of those community members were respectful and cared about their city. It was a sentiment shared by those who attended.

“I’m on one side, I think this is a good proposal and we need more of these. But there are many on the other side and I respect their opinion,” said Ward Tisdale, a long-time Austinite for HOME.

Other community members were drawn to City Hall for the first time Thursday, many speaking against the HOME initiative.

“I felt really validated for my opinion and I hope that members of the council can actually take into consideration the issue at hand,” said Ludwig Costa, who showed up to speak against HOME.

HOME, an acronym for Home Options for Middle-income Empowerment, is a series of proposed changes to Austin’s land development code — and other incentives for creating or preserving housing. It has several elements to it, and there are expected to be additional phases moving forward.

The following are the proposed changes in phase one:

In phase two, additional changes could be brought forward such as lot size. Read more about HOME here.

Video reveals Michael Hsu's organic approach to interiors of Austin high-rise

Video reveals Michael Hsu's organic approach to interiors of Austin high-riseTexas studio Michael Hsu Office of Architecture has designed the common areas for a 50-storey residential high-rise...

Video reveals Michael Hsu's organic approach to interiors of Austin high-rise

Texas studio Michael Hsu Office of Architecture has designed the common areas for a 50-storey residential high-rise building in Austin, as shown in this exclusive video captured by Dezeen.

Called 44 East, the building is located east of downtown Austin in the Rainey Street Historic district. The firm designed the interiors of the building's common areas, which take cues from its natural surroundings, particularly the neighbouring Colorado River.

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Michael Hsu Office of Architecture has designed the interiors of 44 East

The practice enhanced the space using colour and texture, layering vintage and custom furnishings to create a relaxed and inviting ambience.

Curved surfaces and light colours are incorporated throughout the space, with poured concrete terrazzo floors incorporated to pay homage to the gravel of the nearby riverside trail.

The interior is characterised by the use of soft shapes and natural materials throughout the various spaces, including on the eleventh floor, where pastel hues complement subtle architectural details.

The outdoor swimming pool features a series of pebble-shaped islands, with a partially-covered patio inviting guests to relax outside and enjoy the views of the river.

On the thirty-seventh floor, a large moon-like pendant light is suspended above a plush circular sofa.

The higher vantage point offers scenic views of downtown Austin, and features jewel tones and darker materials intended to complement the Texas skyline at dusk.

44 East was developed by Intracorp, while the tower and unit interiors were designed by Page and landscapes designed by DWG.

The interior design of the common spaces is one of the latest projects by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, which is based in Austin and Houston.

The company recently completed its self-designed Austin studio, which is adorned in wood-and-fabric lined walls and industrial details, to accommodate its growing team.

The photography is by Chase Daniel.

Partnership content

This video was produced by Dezeen for Michael Hsu Office of Architecture as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.

Austin neighborhood light show organizers worry it could be event’s last year

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A neighborhood tradition of holiday lights returns Friday night for the season, but organizers said they worry it could be the event’s last year....

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A neighborhood tradition of holiday lights returns Friday night for the season, but organizers said they worry it could be the event’s last year.

37th Street Lights is an effort of residents on West 37th Street between Guadalupe Street and Home Street. Beginning at sunset, homes on the street light up with a variety of “weird” themes until 10 p.m.

Some new features on the street include a Barbie themed display and a “Purple Rain” house. The stuffed animal petting zoo returns from previous years.

The light show runs until Jan. 1, 2024.

The free event began in the 1980s as a collaboration of artists. Now, the neighborhood continues that legacy as a way to keep the “Austin DIY spirit” alive.

But with long-time residents moving out, the event may encounter difficulties in 2024.

“We’ve got some major neighbors leaving the street, so we don’t know if we can continue the tradition in the future. What we do know is this year we are going out with a BANG!” said organizers in a post on Facebook.

Neighborhood organizer Maddy Brat said that the team lost two “major” volunteers over the last year. The light show went through a similar situation in 2006, Brat explained, noting that the volunteer event has dipped at different times in the year.

“‘Keep Austin Weird,’ is a marketing slogan that really caught on and it was started for a reason,” Brat said. “Austin was affordable, and there were a lot of artists who could just do art and music in their free time, and be happy and live a good life. But now it’s much harder to do art and to do community events.”

For Brat and others on 37th Street, the tradition helps make Austin feel special.

“Community building inspires creativity and that you don’t have to fit into the ‘new’ Austin weird mold. You can really just do whatever you want. It doesn’t matter,” Brat said. “Everybody’s so appreciative of the work that we do and having the whole community come together for just some genuine, wholesome holiday fun. It’s really nice.”

As for next year? “Wait and see.”

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” Brat said. “We did talk about making next year the smallest Christmas lights ever; and we just put like the smallest displays on every house. But we’ll see.”

Street closed to cars

At just over 1,000 feet, the narrow street quickly became clogged with cars viewing the lights.

However, that won’t be a problem this year — the street will be closed to cars as part of the City of Austin’s Healthy Streets program during nights while the light show is active.

“This will make the lights safer for children and pets to explore. Additionally, it will provide more space for those with mobility difficulties,” organizers said.

“I’m super happy that the city reached out and asked us if we would be open to this,” Brat said. “Since it’s such a small area, it gets really crowded. It’s just a way better vibe if you can just walk down the entire street without cars being in the way.”

The organizers recommend parking along other side streets and said to avoid using business parking lots nearby.

Austin Barbecue Spot LeRoy & Lewis Is Closing Its Fries Truck

Austin barbecue truck LeRoy & Lewis’s spin-off truck Mama Fried is closing this month. Its last day of service at Armadillo Den at 10106 Menchaca Road in far south Austin will be on Satu...

Austin barbecue truck LeRoy & Lewis’s spin-off truck Mama Fried is closing this month. Its last day of service at Armadillo Den at 10106 Menchaca Road in far south Austin will be on Saturday, December 30.

Mama Fried is closing so that the team — co-owners pitmaster Evan LeRoy, Sawyer Lewis, and Nathan Lewis — can focus on opening LeRoy & Lewis’s forthcoming physical restaurant. That’s set to open in 2024 in the Garrison Park neighborhood

Mama Fried’s Instagram post notes that the truck will continue to serve food at events and festivals. It had been one of the food vendors at this year’s Austin City Limits Live.

The menu included loaded fries with toppings like barbacoa, cheese, and vegetables. There are also seasoned fries with flavors like barbecue and garlic-ranch-Parmesan. Non-potato options included smoked and fried chicken wings with dry rub flavors like lemon-pepper and Jamaican jerk or wet sauces like Buffalo and honey barbecue. Then there’s its foot-long corn dog.

The team opened LeRoy & Lewis as a food truck in 2017 with the goal of eventually opening a physical restaurant somewhere in Austin. It had won an Eater Award that same year. They opened Mama Fried in 2021.

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Mama Fried

10106 Menchaca Road, Austin, Texas 78748 Visit Website

AISD bridging digital divide with wireless internet ‘monopoles’

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District announced Thursday that it will begin installation of low-footprint broadband communications towers, or “monopoles,” at nine schools over its winter break.Dubbed “Project Lighthouse,” the district said it will bring internet access to students in neighborhoods that the d...

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District announced Thursday that it will begin installation of low-footprint broadband communications towers, or “monopoles,” at nine schools over its winter break.

Dubbed “Project Lighthouse,” the district said it will bring internet access to students in neighborhoods that the district said have “historically been limited” in access.

According to the district, internet access is a key part of academic success for students and communications with parents. The announcement came Thursday in AISD’s “AppitolNews” email newsletter, which would be inaccessible to families without access to the internet.

The district expects that work on the project will begin during AISD’s winter break (December 25 to January 5) and take three weeks per campus. It said that the construction “won’t interfere with daily drop off or pick up” of students.

The poles will be 120 feet tall and surrounded by a fenced-off 50-foot by 50-foot plot.

Nine schools will be “pilot campuses” for the project: Akins Early College High School, Austin High School, Liberal Arts and Science Academy, and the Blanton, Blazier, Cook, Graham, Perez and Jordan elementary schools.

The selected pilot campuses are in AISD districts 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6, and in zip codes 78703, 78721, 78724, 78723, 78744, 78748, 78753 and 78758.

According to the City of Austin’s 2018 “Digital Inclusion in Austin,” survey responses in those zip codes reported a lack of internet access at the following rates:

Blanton Elementary, located in zip code 78723, has proximity to 78752, a zip code where 12% of respondents reported no internet access. Similarly, Jordan Elementary sits just north of 78725 (25% lacking access).

The district also claims that the project will be cost-neutral for AISD — the towers will be built in partnership with telecom company Branch Communications, who will be allowed to install equipment for cell phone carriers.

The district hopes to make a profit from the endeavor, saying it would receive rent from Branch Communications, who would themselves charge rent from participating cell carriers.

It is not yet known which, or if any, cell carriers will seek space on the monopoles.

If it does make a profit, AISD promises to spend those funds to purchase and install “additional Austin ISD network access to students.”

New Pizza Truck Slings Up Thin-Crust and Grandma Pies in North Loop

A new food truck serving up pizzas and sweets opened in the North Loop neighborhood earlier this fall. Feral Pizza has been parked at the Duval Market store in the North Loop neighborhood at 500 East 51st Street since September 30.Feral’s pizzas are made with sourdough crusts, available in round thin-crust and thicker, rectangular grandma pie styles, using a brick deck pizza oven. A few of the pies are named after pop culture references, including the Elai...

A new food truck serving up pizzas and sweets opened in the North Loop neighborhood earlier this fall. Feral Pizza has been parked at the Duval Market store in the North Loop neighborhood at 500 East 51st Street since September 30.

Feral’s pizzas are made with sourdough crusts, available in round thin-crust and thicker, rectangular grandma pie styles, using a brick deck pizza oven. A few of the pies are named after pop culture references, including the Elaine, a veggie pie inspired by Seinfield’s “The Big Salad” episode; and the Ankle Biter (named after an East Coast hardcore band) with jalapenos, pepperoni, and garlic. Sides of ranch, red sauce, and hot honey are available. There are also rotating house-made desserts, such as Rice Krispie treats and cookies (Oreo chunk chocolate chip, M&M chocolate chip).

Co-owners and couple Amy and Finley Hunt, who are from Arizona and upstate New York respectively, met in Prescott, AZ, where they found a street cat that they adopted, Lil’ Man, who is featured in the truck’s logo. They have been making pizza together since 2010, an moved to Austin in 2012. They realized they wanted to open their own pizzeria. Originally, they set out to try to open a casual counter-service physical space, but a food truck was the more affordable path. The couple also wanted to note that they are not related to the Hunt brothers behind Via 313.

Feral’s hours are from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Whole round pies are available via online orders, and grandma pies and round slices are available for walk-up services. There are outdoor dine-in tables.

(h/t Austin Food Adventures)

Feral Pizza

500 East 51st Street, Austin, Texas 78751 Visit Website

Austin to allow more homes on one plot of land in the pursuit of cheaper housing

In an attempt to encourage the construction of middle-class housing, Austin voted Thursday to amend land use rules to let property owners build more homes in neighborhoods restricted to one family living in one house on one plot of land.City Council members voted 9-2 in favor of the changes, which will allow developers to construct up to three homes...

In an attempt to encourage the construction of middle-class housing, Austin voted Thursday to amend land use rules to let property owners build more homes in neighborhoods restricted to one family living in one house on one plot of land.

City Council members voted 9-2 in favor of the changes, which will allow developers to construct up to three homes where previously only one or two were permitted. Council members also nixed limits on unrelated adults living together and loosened restrictions against tiny homes – all part of a slew of changes coined HOME, or Home Options for Middle-Income Empowerment.

“I think we can celebrate this moment and the achievement tonight as we create more housing opportunities across the city,” said Council Member Leslie Pool, who represents parts of North Austin and whose office brought the measure forward.

Council Members Alison Alter and Mackenzie Kelly voted against.

Thursday’s vote is part of an increasingly common strategy in Austin by politicians, builders and affordable housing advocates to target zoning rules, which restrict what can be built and where, as a way to lower the cost of housing.

Since 2020, monthly rents and the price of for-sale homes in Austin have increased 25 percent. A family would need to earn about $180,000 a year, tens of thousands of dollars more than the typical family of four earns in Austin, to qualify for a mortgage to buy a median-priced home. While rents have started declining, the average rent in the region is a little over $1,500 a month.

Since 2020, the sales price of a home in the city has risen 23%. That takes into account recent drops in sales prices.

Chart: Audrey McGlinchySource: Austin Board of RealtorsGet the dataCreated with Datawrapper

By loosening zoning restrictions, supporters reason, builders are able to erect more homes, thereby increasing the supply and lowering the price of housing. The phenomenon has been backed by numerous studies.

The changes Council members approved Thursday are aimed less at building a ton of new housing and more toward encouraging building different and smaller kinds of housing. Instead of the single-family homes and large apartment complexes that characterize Austin, the measure encourages developers to build duplexes, triplexes and townhouses.

“A duplex is a home, a triplex is a home,” Alim Virani said during public comment Thursday. He said his parents lived in a duplex when they first immigrated to the U.S. “In that duplex they made a home for themselves. … I am wondering if my family instead came in 2023 to Austin as refugees, if they could find a home for themselves here.”

At a press conference Tuesday, numerous groups expressed support for these land use changes, including AARP Texas, affordable housing nonprofits, public transit advocates and the union representing emergency medical responders. Supporters have cited not only the potential to build housing middle-class families can afford, but also the chance to build homes closer together and to stave off the pattern of sprawl that has defined the Austin region.

But these supporters were drowned out at Thursday’s meeting, where hundreds of residents testified for more than 11 hours. Most spoke against the land use changes – yelling, cheering, booing and holding signs that read “No density without affordability,” referring to the idea that simply building homes closer to each other does not make those homes cheaper.

Intense opposition to revising zoning rules is nothing new in Austin. In 2020, a group of homeowners successfully halted a decadeslong rewrite of the land code. Those same homeowners have since protested other zoning changes in court, including a program that makes it easier to build income-restricted housing.

Many residents at the meeting Thursday said they worried about additional traffic caused by people living in more homes, the potential strain on the city’s utilities and the potential for builders to tear down trees during construction.

“Our current infrastructure – water, fire, electric, gas and trash collection – cannot support our current homes, development and businesses,” said Paula Brown, who was among dozens who testified by phone.

Yet others spoke about the lack of affordability requirements. Council can require a portion of new housing to be reserved for people earning less than roughly $85,000 a year, the typical income in Austin. But proponents emphasized that this housing is intended for people earning middle incomes, who don’t typically qualify for subsidized housing.

Others warned that allowing developers to build more could encourage landlords and homeowners to sell their homes for a high profit, potentially displacing current residents.

“Don’t ruin or displace your constituents,” Cindi Reid, a realtor who grew up in East Austin, told Council members. She urged them to expand subsidized housing programs, such as community land trusts.

Research on the impact of new housing on displacement is mixed. Some studies have found that new housing decreases nearby rents and prevents low-income families from moving out, while others have found that new housing coincides with outside interest in a neighborhood, bringing in wealthier residents and increasing the pressure of low-income families to move out.

In an attempt to avoid extensive teardown of older homes, Council approved a rule allowing developers to build more if they preserve at least half of an existing home built before 1960. They also, on recommendations from the city’s Planning Commission, tweaked zoning rules in the hope of limiting the size of homes built.

As homes in Austin have grown in price, they’ve also grown in size, mimicking a trend across the country. According to data analyzed by an organization of Austin architects, homes built before 1990 averaged roughly 1,500 square feet But homes built in the past three decades have averaged about 2,300 square feet. In mock-ups of what could be built, city staff has imagined three townhomes, each about 1,700 square feet.

Other cities have looked to zoning as a means to lower housing prices. In 2020, Portland, Ore., made it possible to build up to six attached homes on land that had been historically reserved for one home.

In the year after zoning rules were changed, Portland builders erected 336 new homes that otherwise would have been difficult to build – a number that represents just 0.1 percent of the total housing units in the city. On average, these homes sold for roughly $117,000 less than homes built without the size restrictions enacted by the new rules.

The changes Austin Council members passed won’t go into effect until February. And while policy is one thing, action is another. Homebuilders KUT spoke with this week said they weren’t sure these changes would incentivize building duplexes and triplexes and may instead continue to encourage building one new large home.

Council members say what they passed Thursday is just the start. Next year, elected officials will consider reducing the amount of land required to build a home. The result could be that a property owner could cut their plot in half, building three homes on each piece of land to get six in total. The intent is the same: to build more in the hopes of lowering housing prices.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT.

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