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Citizen group calls for land code equity

Friday, December 6, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

The local citizen organization Planning Our Communities sent out recommendations for how the Land Development Code draft can consider opportunities to invest in the economically disadvantaged and historically marginalized residents of Austin. The draft code is up for a City Council vote on Dec. 9. Awais Azhar, a member of the Planning Commission, is on the group’s steering committee and sent a full explanation of POC’s recommendations to the Austin Monitor. The recommendations are broken down into four categories: maximizing affordable housing; minimizing gentrification and displacement; equitably distributing development within the city; and providing amenities for healthy and connected communities. “In our attempt to rectify historic injustices, we must remember that equal zoning allowances do not lead to equitable outcomes,” the group stated in a release. To help reduce inequities in the LDC draft, Planning Our Communities supports implementing an “Equity Overlay” that disincentivizes the redevelopment of existing multifamily housing and increases opportunities for income-restricted affordable housing with increased rights and protections for tenants. “Corridors in gentrifying areas that have only recently seen infrastructure investment after years of neglect should not have to bear the undue burden of increased density,” the group notes. “The Land Development Code must increase housing capacity in high opportunity areas and West Austin.”

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