The Austin Chronicle

Public Notice: Iced Out

ZAP postponement tightens CodeNEXT timeline

By Nick Barbaro, January 19, 2018, News

Tuesday's ice storm was kind of a bust as storms go, but it did shut down all non-essential government and education operations, including – last in the alphabetical line – that evening's Zoning and Platting Com­mission meeting, where City Demographer Ryan Rob­inson was scheduled to give a presentation related to the Strategic Housing Blueprint, and presumably its impact on the CodeNEXT land development code rewrite. That presentation is now scheduled for a Jan. 30 joint meeting of ZAP and the Planning Commission, which will be far too late to have any bearing on the third draft release. (Indeed, it's hard to see anything getting traction at that meeting, as 26 commissioners try to get in their last words in the last meeting before the 3.0 release – which will have to be substantially finalized by then anyway, since the third and "final" draft has to be finished, printed and bound, and sitting on commissioners' desks 12 days later.)

That third draft release on Monday, Feb. 12, will have two components: the code text, and a map showing where the various zonings are applied. The text is the most important and difficult part, because there are broad and deep questions about whether the basic structure works, and a long litany of comments and suggestions from various parties, of an extremely detailed and technical nature (see "Public Notice: The Devil's in the Details," Jan. 12). But it's the mapping everyone will want to look at and argue about – naturally enough – even though that map will likely be a mere placeholder for work that is only now getting underway.

That's because, even as staff prepares their Map 3.0, there's a parallel mapping effort going on: A mapping workgroup of the Planning Commission is working with consultants – primarily John Fregonese – to design a round of scenario-testing based on the idea that different policy decisions create levers that can be pulled, and the results then modeled, to judge their long-range effects on the city. That effort began in just the last couple of weeks, and will be going on well past the 3.0 release. As Chair Stephen Oliver put it at the last PC meeting: "Right now they're just numbers on a page. And they're numbers on a page connected to 14 different policies … interconnected in three scenarios – turn one policy on, turn one policy off. So very much what we've been talking about … the impact of a policy decision. And right now, we don't know what that impact is. We have a name and a number; we don't know if it's good or bad. Give us a few more weeks to have a couple more meetings, to kind of really prod the consultants on what is this stuff, and make sure they're helping us understand that we know what we're looking at. And that they have put it together correctly."

Fregonese promised perhaps three scenarios to start with, including an "equivalency map" that tries to translate each parcel's current zoning into its closest counterpart in the new code. But the tweaking of 14 different policy levers, each with major implications and presumably minor side-effects, will likely produce a final draft map that doesn't look like any of the scenarios we see Feb. 12.

"Hi, How Are You?" Day is a night of music and art celebrating mental wellness on Monday, Jan. 22, at Mohawk, 912 Red River – a partnership of the SIMS Foundation and the "Hi, How Are You?" Founda­tion, which is named for Daniel Johnston's "Jeremiah the Innocent" frog mural, and dedicated, like SIMS, to providing mental health resources to Austin's music community. The lineup includes Moving Panoramas (with Laurie Gallardo), Kathy McCarty, and many more, playing songs written by Johnston, as well as their own. VIP art sale and cocktail hour start at 6:30pm; music at 8pm. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door, $50 for a VIP ticket; see

The Power of Local is a one-day retreat for local business owners, presented by the Austin Independent Business Alliance, which champions and supports local businesses in a lot of different venues. The event includes two panel discussions, two workshops, a luncheon keynote, and a closing "Community Camp­fire" mixer with drinks and appetizers, for only $49 for AIBA members, $149 for nonmembers. Wed., Jan. 24, 9am-3:30pm. at Saengerrunde Hall, 1607 San Jacinto. See for more info.

Special event permits: The Austin Center for Events (ACE) is accepting applications, and urging venues and event planners to submit as soon as possible, for special events planned for the March 9-18 "Spring Festival [SXSW] Season." Deadlines to apply for a Change of Use, Sound, or Temporary Use permit range from 10-30 days out, but there will be a limited number available, and it's largely first-come, first-served; the city warns that "limited City resources may prevent later submissions from being reviewed or approved." Find the online application form in the Event Planning section on the ACE website,

Celebrating the Life of Patrick Keel: The influential New Wave musician, producer, and "early denizen of ambient electronic music," as a 1998 Chronicle review put it, passed away recently. This Sun­day, Jan. 22, friends are "encouraging the musicians to bring their guitars, horns and stuff so that we can jam and play as we eat, drink and tell stories about Patrick." Noon-4pm at the Texas Musicians Museum in Irving, 222 E. Irving Blvd.

Copyright © 2022 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.