In May, the Austin City Council sent City Manager Spencer Cronk a controversial set of instructions for his rewrite of our community’s land development code, a project the local media has nicknamed “Son of CodeNEXT.” Those instructions called for the creation of “transition” zones, large areas of Austin’s single-family neighborhoods where the city council wants new, multi-unit buildings.
Inside those transition zones, the city council plans to forcibly rezone tens of thousands of residential properties, allow multi-unit developments on individual lots, and incentivize the demolition of existing homes.
If that sounds bad to you, things may be about to get worse. That’s because city staffers released an update on the status of the Son of CodeNEXT just before the Labor Day weekend, with a long list of changes that Austin’s land developers will love. Here are a handful of the most significant:
The Son of CodeNEXT impacts more properties than CodeNEXT did last year.
Most of the city council’s transition zones are centered on designated roadways and streets, and they extend into neighborhoods on either side. Also affected are neighborhoods adjacent to the “activity centers” in the city’s comprehensive plan. The city staff says the those transition zones will stretch as far as 850 feet in some areas. Check this updated map to see if your property is at risk.
The Son of CodeNEXT encourages even taller buildings than anticipated.
On August 28th, city staff revealed that its plan will allow buildings in a transition zone to be 45 feet in height—that’s four stories tall.
The Son of CodeNEXT allows 10 new housing units on individual lots.
Under the city council’s May guidelines, land developers would only be allowed to replace single-family homes in transition zones with a minimum of four housing units. According to the staff briefing on August 28th, the Son of CodeNEXT will allow developers to develop up to 10 units on a single lot.
The Son of CodeNEXT is moving on an incredibly fast track.
Mayor Adler has set December 12th as the date for the city council to vote on first reading of an ordinance to adopt the code and map. Yet the public won’t even see a draft until October 4th, and the Planning Commission won’t hold a hearing until October 26th.
Do you live or own property in a transition zone? Check this map to find out. If you do, contact Mayor Steve Adler and your city council member and tell them to withdraw the Son of CodeNEXT. (Click here if you aren’t sure which council member represents you.) Then sign our petition and share this post with your friends and neighborhood listserv.
Together we can build an Austin for everyone!