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Citywatch: Austin hosting “CodeNEXT” open houses for citizens

Synopsis

Austin plans public open houses to get input on revised land development code.


Key takeaways

  • Austin is holding a series of open houses to get public input on its proposed land development code, “CodeNEXT.” Final approval of the proposal is not expected until next year.
  • The proposed code focuses on the forms of development rather than uses.
  • The city’s next step will be to release a map showing how the proposed code will apply to current zoning.
  • The Austin Apartment Association will be engaged in the public comment and approval process.

The City of Austin is holding a series of open houses to help the public learn more about its proposed land development code, “CodeNEXT,” an 1,100+ page overhaul released as an initial draft in January.

Open houses are scheduled March 25, April 1 and April 8 in various locations around the city. Details can be found here: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/codenext.

CodeNEXT will replace the current code that was written in the 1980s. In keeping with recent urban planning trends, is a “form-based” code document which intends to codify and regulate the forms of development rather than the uses. As such, building height rules and zoning designations are intended to keep incompatible land uses like housing and factories separate.

The next step will be a map that displays how and where the document will be applied to current zoning. A final vote on the code is expected in early 2018. It is likely that Austin’s successful implementation of CodeNEXT will become a model to follow for cities experiencing similar growth around Texas and the United States.

The Austin Apartment Association will be fully engaged in the CodeNEXT public comment and approval process to ensure that whatever gains to be made are paired with effective planning tools and programs such as public infrastructure participation, tax abatements and low-income housing tax credits. The goal is to be sure the demand for housing, and especially rental housing, can be effectively met in a coordinated manner.

All Texas Apartment Association members are encouraged to monitor land development code change efforts in Austin and in your respective areas. Please contact Kyle Jackson, TAA Director of Government Affairs (governmentaffairs@taa.org) or Paul Cauduro, AAA Government Relations Director (paul@austinaptassoc.com) if you have any questions or to provide feedback from your local cities on similar issues.

Current text of CodeNEXT can be found here: https://codenext.civicomment.org/.

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