CodeNEXT is the controversial first major rewrite of Austin’s land development code in 30 years. In seeking to address pretty much every major problem Austin faces–affordability, traffic, gentrification, climate change, and density–it has stirred a public debate the likes of which the city has never seen. Here are the latest developments:
The third draft of CodeNext is unveiled at City Hall, rekindling the fight over development and neighborhood integrity. (Check out the zoning map here.) Virtually every City department had a hand in the rewrite, and proponents and opponents are quick to weigh in. But unfortunately for CodeNext the complaints come from all angles. Disparate groups such as Community Not Commodity and Evolve Austin criticize the new draft.
Austin City Council votes against an ordinance that would have put CodeNext on November’s ballot. The Austin city clerk previously certified a petition with 31,000 signatures that seeks to put the code rewrite up for a public vote. Due to the current unpopularity of the measure this vote would most likely kill CodeNext in the most public way possible. This decision by the Council is not final however and they still have until August 20th to make a final decision. If they don’t end up putting it on the ballot, they may have a lawsuit waiting for them.
Due to lack of community support, the Austin Zoning and Platting Commission calls on Austin City Council to “immediately terminate” the CodeNext process. According to a draft resolution the Zoning and Platting Commission more or less throws up their hands and refuses to provide “further recommendations for CodeNext.”
Soldiering on, the Planning Commission continues to debate CodeNext amendments for parking requirements and specific development regulations for different neighborhoods. They have even scheduled and additional public hearing May 22.
But, the Planning Commission itself has been under fire for its members’ alleged ties to developers. City Council approved a resolution to review and potentially remove planning commissioners with developer ties. This could in theory include architects and real estate lawyers.
Lastly, the Council agreed to review “The People’s Plan,” an alternative set of recommendations put forth by CodeNext opponents. This plan focuses on gentrification and affordable housing.
Where We’re at Now
CodeNext is still alive but is facing greater headwinds than it ever has before. With City departments throwing in the towel and opponents angling for a fall ballot deathblow, it’s getting harder to see an outcome in which CodeNext becomes reality. Will it go back for a fourth rewrite? Will Council kill it by letting it go to a public vote? Will the Planning Commission be purged? We’ll keep our eyes on the latest developments and keep you up to speed.
At Little City Investments we pride ourselves on being Austin, Texas experts. We’ve been providing hard money loans for real estate projects since 2006 and have seen Austin’s growing pains first-hand. Keeping up with local regulations is just part of what we do to help you win at Austin real estate. We’ll get your deal done!