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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Thursday, July 25, 2019 by Jo Clifton
Cronk announces new timeline for code rewrite
City Manager Spencer Cronk announced this week that Council should expect to first vote on the new Land Development Code in early December – not October, as proposed by Council in May. According to the newly released timeline, Cronk has set Oct. 4 for public release of the new code draft and zoning map.
Although the timeline is not as ambitious as Council was hoping for this spring, Mayor Steve Adler, at least, is not concerned about the timing. He told the Austin Monitor via text: “The LDC rewrite process needs to move forward only as quickly as allows the process to be done well. The city manager is delivering on that schedule.”
According to the schedule posted online, there will be an open house with community input in mid-October and staff will release a revised report in late October. If all goes as planned, the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the new code on Oct. 26 and will vote on it in early November. Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing in mid-November before taking a vote on first reading in December.
Assistant City Manager Rodney Gonzales has been in charge of the entire effort since last March, about the same time as Cronk asked Council five big policy questions starting with whether the code should include a new zoning map. Council, of course, voted for the code and the map to move forward together.
Cronk has added Annick Beaudet, who currently serves as assistant director in the Austin Transportation Department, as an overall leader of the team. Beaudet was initially only involved with the transportation portion of the code, but Cronk decided that she should have a bigger role based on her expertise, according to Jessica King, who is handling communications for the effort.
Beaudet joins attorney Brent Lloyd, who currently serves as development officer in the Development Services Department, in leading the team. His overall job is master editor of the code rewrite.
In his memo, Cronk says he asked Beaudet to co-lead the effort and to help “guide content development related to the intersection of land use, transportation, and equity. Annick is also engaging in dialogue with community members and synthesizing feedback for code development consideration.”
Deborah Thomas, an attorney with 25 years of experience, much of it with the city, has also joined the team. Cronk reported that he has contracted with Peter J. Park, LLC to serve as a technical adviser and guide the testing processes.
According to the new timeline, the Council Housing & Planning Committee will discuss the Land Development Code at its Aug. 13 meeting and the Council Mobility Committee will discuss it at its Aug. 21 meeting. It was not clear Wednesday exactly what either committee would be discussing, but city spokesman Andy Tate told the Monitor via email, “Staff will be working with the Chairs of the committees next week to see if there’s anything in particular they would like us to cover. They will be prepared to provide a general overview related to the status of code development specific to the policy areas listed in the May 2 policy directive to staff.”
This story has been corrected, Photo by John Flynn.
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
Austin City Council: The Austin City Council is the body with legislative purview over the City of Austin. It offers policy direction, while the office of the City Manager implements administrative actions based on those policies. Until 2012, the body contained seven members, including the city's Mayor, all elected at-large. In 2012, City of Austin residents voted to change that system and now 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.
CodeNEXT: CodeNEXT is the name given to the land development code rewrite process undertaken in the early 2010s by the City of Austin.