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Details of proposed CodeNEXT timeline revealed

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

City Council has a new road map charting the path toward the completion of CodeNEXT, the long and arduous re-engineering of the city’s Land Development Code.

The new timeline separates the process into four phases and provides more clarity on the specific roles of Council, the Planning Commission, the Zoning and Platting Commission and the CodeNEXT Citizens Advisory Group (known as CAG).

City staff unveiled the new timeline last Wednesday during a special Council meeting held jointly with the CAG, the group tasked with channeling public feedback into the CodeNEXT process, which began in 2013.

As revealed in October, Council and the general public are set to get their first look at the CodeNEXT draft this January. The new timeline calls for the text of the draft to drop on Jan. 30; the proposed map of the revised zoning overlays will be published on April 18.

The release of the draft’s text in January is in accordance with the request made earlier this year by several stakeholder groups that urged city staff to stick to the deadline it had set for itself. It also represents a slight delay relative to public claims made about the process. Last year, city staff estimated the draft would be made public by fall 2016.

For the first half of 2017, the CAG will still continue to collect feedback and prepare a final report on the draft. After the report’s publication on June 10, the body will cease operations as a group, and individual members will act as CodeNEXT “ambassadors,” according to the timeline.

The details of the proposed schedule are still subject to change. On Wednesday, CAG member Lauren Ice suggested extending the group’s work by several months in order to overlap its feedback collection with the land development commissions’ first public hearings on the draft.

Two of Ice’s fellow CAG members, Eleanor McKinney and Roger Borgelt, endorsed the idea, but Peter Park of Opticos Design, the consulting firm hired by the city to help with the rewrite, pushed back on it.

“In terms of your collective comments, our hope was that that would be available to the staff and the consultants to inform the draft that will be going to the Planning Commission and ZAP,” Park said.

The public hearings for both of those commissions are set to begin in September 2017, and deliberations will wrap up by the end of October. After that, the individual commissioners will also become “ambassadors,” and the CodeNEXT draft will proceed to Council, which will take a first reading vote on the draft on Dec. 14, 2017. Final approval is planned for March or April of the following year.

This story has been corrected. The draft code is scheduled to be released Jan. 30, not Jan. 10.

Photo by Fgrammen made available through a Creative Commons license.

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