June 15, 2016

Coalition Calls for City to Complete Land Development Code

CodeNEXT Must Produce a Smart, Clear and Comprehensive Land Development Code

(AUSTIN – June 15, 2016) — Exactly four years after the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan was unanimously adopted by Austin City Council, a broad coalition of eight local organizations is calling for the City to hold firm on its planned release of a draft land development code in January 2017. At a press conference at City Hall Wednesday morning, the coalition also made recommendations that would help produce the smart, comprehensive code that’s needed to house Austin’s rapidly growing population.

The coalition includes AURA, Austin Apartment Association, Austin Board of Realtors, Austin Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Austin Alliance, Evolve Austin, Home Builders Association of Austin and Real Estate Council of Austin.

“It’s been four years since the roadmap for CodeNEXT was laid out in Imagine Austin, and we’re still without a draft of the code,” said RECA President Ward Tisdale. “Today, the project is two years behind schedule, hundreds of thousands of dollars over budget and in jeopardy of collapsing under its own weight.”

“Now is not the time to re-litigate Imagine Austin. It is time to allow staff to do their job and start moving the needle on household affordability and traffic congestion by approving a robust CodeNEXT that is true to Imagine Austin values and metrics,” said Cid Galindo, President of Evolve Austin Partners.

In addition to expecting a January 2017 release date of the draft code, the coalition has made the following recommendations:

The code should include programs that incentivize the construction of below-market housing. Those programs need to be clear, effective, easily implemented and uniform throughout the city.

The code should provide options for missing middle and other more affordable housing options throughout the city, with limited or no specific regulations as to quantity, density or lot and unit sizes.

The code should revise current concepts of compatibility to support denser options throughout the city.
The real life impacts from major code proposals should be measured using the Envision Tomorrow tool and other metrics-based planning tools. The impact of the proposed code must be analyzed before it is finalized.