Warming to CodeNEXT?

Chamber of Commerce’s poll reflects improving views of zoning rewrite

Warming to CodeNEXT?

Although strong partisans on both sides of the land use code revision debate may be convinced that most Austinites hate CodeNEXT – perhaps for opposing reasons ("Public Notice: CodeNextYear?" May 4) – the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce says it's not that simple. Recently, the GACC released the latest iteration of its annual voter survey, covering topics including Austin's overall direction, growth, affordability, environment and economy, and indeed CodeNEXT.

On that specific subject, the survey reflects: 1) moderate existing approval (about 45-36%) for a code revision to support more diverse housing and greater density; 2) an increase in support for CodeNEXT (56% overall) when respondents are given positive information about the specific goals of the revision. In general, Democrats (63%) and independents (57%) were more supportive; Republicans opposed the revision, 52-39%.

The survey, performed for the chamber in December by Baselice & Assoc., surveyed 501 Austin voters from all areas of the city, weighted for area-representative political perspectives. December might seem a little dated, but the annual results have been fairly consistent over the last few years, with respondents also fairly evenly split over whether the city is on the "right track" or the "wrong track" (2017: 47-41%).

Another visible trend: Over the last four years, residents have increasingly said, "We need to plan for more growth" and also to pay for the infrastructure necessary to address that growth. That response grew from 61% to 65% from 2014 to 2017; a sentiment to "stop" or "slow" growth remained just above 30%. Unsurprisingly, 85% of respondents said Austin has an affordability problem (up 10% since 2014).

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