Mapping the Land Development Code Madness

Trying to make sense of the proposed changes

This map, derived from the city's Proposed Zoning Viewer tool, highlights the proposed new transition zones in red.

Transition Areas, Transition Zones

One of the most controversial components of the LDC revision involves the upzoning of properties along corridors, centers, and transit priority networks, as defined in Imagine Austin and the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan. Compared to the first draft, the new zoning map reduces the width of the transition areas by one lot's depth along corridors that are "primarily residential in character and use," reduces or eliminates upzonings in areas most vulnerable to gentrification, and adds transition zoning in a lot of places, spread more widely across town. This addresses some of the rather heated complaints about how much of the upzoning in the first draft was concentrated in central neighborhoods, but results are mixed, and it clearly isn't going to satisfy everyone.

Transition areas are the parts of town – generally within one to three blocks of a corridor, center, or transit priority network – that are proposed to be rezoned for more "missing middle" and multifamily uses.

Transition zones are the new zoning categories to be applied to tracts in the transition areas that are currently zoned for single-family homes and duplexes, plus a scattering of other current zonings. There are two such zones: RM1 and R4, with one providing more height, more units, and more impervious cover nearer to a major corridor, and the other slightly less on lots farther away.

RM1: (DARK BLUE) A residential multi-unit zone, allowing narrow lot widths for townhomes, duplexes, and live/work spaces; and up to six units on a lot (or 10 with participation in an Afford­able Housing Bonus Pro­gram). Regs for impervious cover and FAR were tweaked in this draft to allow increases only for projects providing extra units.

R4: (LIGHT BLUE) A residential house-scale zone, allowing four units (eight with the AHBP bonus), slightly less height and impervious cover, and standards intended to "maintain a house-scale aesthetic."

Single-Family/Duplex: (YELLOW) Properties outside the transition areas that are currently zoned SF will generally be rezoned to R2A or R2B, allowing two units per lot or, in some cases, left with their current zoning.

Other Zones: (OTHER COLORS) Properties other than single-family/duplex residential were generally either left with their current zoning or given roughly similar new zoning.

The Duval Street Corridor

Running north from the UT campus through Hancock, Hyde Park, and Ridgetop, this corridor remains the only transition area that's currently zoned for single-family/duplex housing along almost its entire length. Staff backed off the most intense zoning – the RM1 zones are greatly reduced – but didn't reduce the overall width by the full, one-lot depth throughout, which still leaves neighborhoods considerably squeezed, especially at the south end (North University and Hancock) and the north end (North Loop and 51st, which actually gained some transition area). One other thing of note: The blocks on Avenue A next to Guadalupe and on Duval around 46th are prime examples of staff responding to local flooding concerns.

Enfield Road and Exposition Boulevard

Along with Duval, Enfield was the other main corridor that was cited as being "primarily residential in character and use." It got the promised one-lot reduction on the north side of the street; that's a little less reliable on the south side. The strange Enfield/Exposition transition areas (transition from what?) remains largely unchanged.


In October I noted that Hancock "(where the Chronicle office sits) may be the city's most heavily upzoned neighborhood." That remains true, as the one-lot reduction only applied in some spots. Compare the amount of single-family (yellow) before and after.


This area saw the most change in the revised mapping, due to Council's direction to eliminate transition areas in the parts of town identified as most vulnerable to gentrification in UT's Uprooted study. The only transition areas left here – around the close-in parts of Manor, MLK, 12th, and Rosewood – are in areas the study categorized as already substantially gentrified..

South Central

Not much change here, as neither South First nor South Congress are "primarily residential."


The big change here is the complete removal of West 45th Street as a transition area. Someone on staff must have driven out there and seen the narrow, winding pedestrian menace of a "corridor."

Far South

Here's an example of where staff has expanded the transition areas outside of the central core. We didn't map this area in the first round, but much of this transition zoning is new in this second draft.

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