Public Notice: CodeNEXT Wrecks Austin?
Only if we let it continue to fester in darkness
By now you've no doubt heard that the next draft of the CodeNEXT land development code rewrite has been delayed some three months. I reported here last week that this was imminent and much-needed ("Do You Feel a Draft?," Nov. 17), though official denials were continuing right up until the announcement came out last Thursday. That's typical of the lack of openness and candor that has marked this entire years-long process, but there's no doubt that this delay was a good move – bowing to the inevitable, really.
So where does it leave us now? Well, that depends. Not much better off, if the pattern holds, and the process now moves back behind the curtain, and staff and consultants retreat into their black box to whip up yet another draft without showing their work, addressing repeated questions and concerns from various quarters, and generally, producing shoddy work that they hope they can get away with because it's too complicated for most folks to actually understand.
But hey, that's only how things have gone for the last few years, and the last $8 million in consultants' fees. Perhaps it'll all turn around this time. The first signs of that will come soon enough: While the recent change in plans has put previous meeting schedules on hold, there are plenty of blank spots and unanswered questions that still need to be addressed before serious work on a real final draft can commence. Will that happen this time around, as it has not happened up until now? Stay tuned. The first clues will come at city commission meetings starting the next few weeks.
Austin's public pool system has been in slow-burning crisis mode for years now. In response, Austin PARD has completed a draft Swim 512 Aquatic Master Plan, to be delivered to City Council in December. The Aquatic Master Plan Task Force has one final public meeting next week before they finalize their recommendations. For best results, see the project webpage at www.austintexas.gov/swim512 before attending: Wed., Nov. 29, 5pm, at the Lamar Senior Activity Center, 2874 Shoal Crest.
Planet Texas 2050, presented by Hot Science – Cool Talks and the Paramount Theatre, will be an evening of discussion on the demographic and climatic challenges Texas will face over the next few decades of drought and population growth. Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith will moderate a discussion with Majora Carter, award-winning broadcaster, and developer of numerous green-infrastructure projects; Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University; and Dr. Michael Webber, deputy director of the UT Energy Institute. Also music from the incomparable Guy Forsyth! It's Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the Paramount, 713 Congress; VIP reception begins at 6:30pm; doors open at 7pm; show starts at 8pm. Tickets are $10-75; see more info at www.austintheatre.org.