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Council members sound off on CodeNEXT

Friday, February 9, 2018 by Elizabeth Pagano

The final draft of CodeNEXT will be released Monday. And, in preparation for that release, four City Council members have taken the unorthodox step of creating a blog about the Land Development Code rewrite. Council members Jimmy Flannigan, Delia Garza, Pio Renteria and Greg Casar, who comprise the “For All Austinites” coalition, released their first post on Thursday. The “joint op-ed” stresses the need to update the outdated code, which they say is only working to increase inequality in the city. It reads, in part, “Encouraging a diverse mix of housing across the city, not only in undeveloped parts of town, begins to bridge the gaps  –  not just between haves and have-nots but between homes and grocery stores and museums and bus lines and jobs. Making a fair and just code also begins to address the disparity of opportunity. Decades of operating under a broken code have created an environment where larger developers and affluent landowners and homeowners (who can afford the best lobbyists and contractors) may “game the system” and enjoy opportunities – in home buying, home renovation, and rental properties  – that the average homeowner and renter cannot. … Now is the time to fix the failed status-quo policies of the past and to create a land-development code for all Austinites. Now is the time for us to put aside community divisions, look at the big picture, and focus on our shared future.” City Council is currently expected to take up CodeNEXT in April, though that timeline could be delayed by discussion at the city’s land use commissions.

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