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Second draft of CodeNEXT allows more housing in more places, city says

Friday, September 15, 2017 by Audrey McGlinchy, KUT

Austin is releasing a second draft of CodeNEXT, the city’s rewrite of its Land Development Code, today.

“We are really excited about the new draft coming out,” Peter Park of Opticos Design, a consultant hired by the city, told City Council members during a preview of the new draft last week.

Park said the second draft attempts to further simplify the convoluted code – another consultant found that the city has at least 400 different categories for defining what can be built where. One of the more notable changes is the removal of “transect zones.”

The second draft also creates more opportunities for new housing, consultants say.

“You can see there’s about a two-to-one difference in terms of capacity between existing zoning,” said John Fregonese of Fregonese Associates, another consultant hired by the city. “The bulk of it comes out of what we would call ‘missing middle’ and multifamily housing.”

Earlier this year, Council approved a set of housing goals, including building 135,000 new housing units over the next decade.

CodeNEXT has garnered plenty of controversy, with local nonprofits and political action committees butting heads over how the city should grow. IndyAustin, a new political action committee, is calling for a public vote on CodeNEXT.

Fregonese said the majority of new housing will be built on vacant land, as opposed to redeveloping plots.

The second draft will also offer more chances to build housing close to stores.

“The draft two proposes to actually allow residential in the vast majority of the commercial districts,” Park said, “so that there is the ability to provide more housing.”

Staff will released the second draft of CodeNEXT this morning, along with maps detailing how city neighborhoods will be zoned. The draft code is embedded below, or available online here. The new draft maps are also online, here.

Download (PDF, 2.01MB)

Curious about how we got here? Check out the Austin Monitor’s CodeNEXT Timeline.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Martin do Nascimento/KUT.

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