So, What Did the Council Actually Say About Rewriting the Land Code?
City Hall releases "policy guidance" memo for the land code revision
By Mike Clark-Madison,
2:30PM, Thu. May 9, 2019
Even as the Austin City Council concluded its laborious efforts to provide "policy guidance" on Land Development Code revision – The Process Formerly Known as CodeNEXT – the actual document remained unfinished. Now, we can share with you the "as adopted 5/2/19" version of this 18-page memo.
To recap: CodeNEXT ground to a halt in August 2018 after months of increasing ill feeling over its direction, and Council asked City Manager Spencer Cronk to "develop and propose a new process leading to a Land Development Code that achieves the stated goals of the City," as expressed in the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan and its progeny.
On March 15 of this year, Cronk asked Council for "policy guidance" in the form of five questions regarding the scope of the code revision (and its accompanying zoning map); the desired housing capacity enabled by the new code; and how NextCodeNEXT should address "missing middle" housing types (larger than duplexes, smaller than apartment complexes), "compatibility standards" (height and setback limits on new development near single-family housing), and parking requirements.
Since then, Council has, at meetings and worksessions and on its message board, deliberated over language that effectively sets the guiding principles that will inform the drafting of the new land development code, the first fruits of which will return to the dais for consideration this fall. Late in the evening of May 2, they reached a stopping point; the document you'll find here is the cleaned-up version of Council's real-time wordsmithing. As we continue our years-long journey to a new land code, this document will be referred to time and time again, we're sure.