CodeNEXT at Work (While It Still Can)
Staff continues to toil on doomed rewrite
Despite the mayor's call to end CodeNEXT, and expectations that City Council could vote on such a proposal as soon as Aug. 9, the work for now continues. City staff overseeing the land use rewrite continue forging ahead on CodeNEXT testing, as directed by Council on June 28.
The city manager's office is charged with organizing a working group of design, development, and technical experts to review, model, and test the latest CodeNEXT draft, with attention placed on the impacts of non-zoning sections (such as housing capacity, Imagine Austin goals, and financial feasibility). A report on the findings is due Aug. 31, but a memo sent last week by interim Assistant City Manager Joe Pantalion alerted the mayor and Council to a lengthy list of challenges, including difficulty finding a diverse group of volunteers on short notice; logistical challenges; limited availability of technical staff and consultants; and locating space capable of recording to conform with the Texas Open Meetings Act. Once participants and meeting dates are set, staff will update Council with an expected completion date.
David Carroll, the CodeNEXT lead at the local chapter of American Institute of Architects, confirmed that AIA will "definitely" be involved in the testing. He said participants are working with staff to identify dates in August and early September to get the highest attendance. He expects two days for residential testing and two days for commercial and corridor testing.
Though Council returns for meetings this week, it remains uncertain when, or whether, the dais will resume CodeNEXT deliberations. However, Council will discuss the November election at its first regular meeting on Aug. 9, including the addition of the land use petition, and a City Charter amendment to include a removal process for Planning commissioners. Are we having fun yet?