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Code rewrite: Don’t hold your breath

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 by Jo Clifton

For all of those who are anxiously awaiting the rewrite of the Land Development Code, it might be a while. At Tuesday’s work session, City Manager Spencer Cronk told Council that staffers would produce a memo on the code rewrite before the next work session, probably within the next two weeks. The next work session is not until March 26 because of SXSW and spring break. Cronk warned Council members that they would not receive a detailed map of how staff, Council and the public will work together to craft the new code. But they will have to do some work before he can give them the road map they’re looking for. “I can’t put forward a broader process until I have some policy guidance from this Council,” Cronk said. He wants Council to make decisions about various key policy areas such as parking, compatibility, density, “and even the scope of the revisions, so I will tee up some of those key questions. They should be relatively straightforward so both the Council and the community can understand them and then really be asking for the policy guidance before anything further is released to the public.” Council Member Kathie Tovo told Cronk she thought a simple up-or-down vote on the items he listed would be difficult. She said she hoped the process would give Council, boards and commissions a chance to explore those issues before they launch into another code revision. However, Council Member Jimmy Flannigan is not looking forward to spending a lot of time on the details. “We’ve got to not throw away all the work that we’ve done,” with all the meetings held in various parts of the city. “I don’t know that repeating all the same conversations, where the meetings are the same and the comments are the same,” would be helpful, he said. “We can say up front without having to dive so deep into a specific property or a specific policy or one page out of a 1,000-page document,” this is what Council wants “and these are the types of policies that we are ready to move forward on. So I’m incredibly excited and grateful, city manager, to hear that this memo is going to be coming out and I’m excited to dive into this and get things moving.”

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