During his grandmother’s funeral, local pro-housing advocate Austin Steward struggled to deliver the eulogy without pointing out the number of new housing units that could be built on the cemetery property.
“Grandma was a great person, but what’s also great is providing dense housing for families right here,” said Steward, known as a Yes in My Backyard supporter, or YIMBY. “Why take up all this precious land for dead people when we can bring life to this area with some mixed-use retail buildings?”
After mentioning how his grandmother was the foundation of the family, Steward noted the graveyard’s ideal soil conditions for a 5 or 6 story structure. He then calculated the maximum floor area ratio for the 17 acre site to determine the total number of units and the impact to the surrounding neighborhood. Unfortunately, many members of his family weren’t happy.
“Look, we get it. He’s passionate about housing policy and really cares about solving homelessness in America,” said his sister Kathy. “But, come on, lecturing the hearse driver on how he should have delivered grandma’s casket using public transportation was totally uncalled for.”
At the post-funeral reception at his grandmother’s house, Steward continued pressing his YIMBY policies, including how converting her historic single-family home into a fourplex would help reduce housing costs by increasing supply, until they ultimately became fed up and kicked him out of her backyard.