Here’s What the Next CodeNEXT Could Do to Neighborhoods Outside Austin’s Transition Zones

Community Not Commodity

By now, you’re probably aware of the drastic changes that could be coming to neighborhoods inside Austin’s so-called “transition zones,” where City Hall’s controversial rezoning plan calls for multi-unit structures as tall as 45 feet, with up to 20 dwelling units in each.

But the next CodeNEXT doesn’t stop there. It also allows land developers to add a pair of large residences on any lot in the city that is 5,000 square feet or larger and has a home 30 years or older already on it.

That would apply to the vast majority of residential properties in Austin, effectively abolishing single-family neighborhoods throughout the city.

Here’s an illustration showing what these new developments could look like:

The white house on the left side of the illustration shows what a single-family property looks like under current zoning rules. The lot to the right shows what City Hall’s rezoning plan would allow under its “preservation incentive” program, with the new residences depicted in orange. Up to six unrelated adults would be allowed to live in each of the lot’s three homes, and in many cases land developers will not be required to provide space for any additional parking.

Click here to see renderings of other building types allowed by the next CodeNEXT. They were produced along with the above illustration by Rosedale-based architect Chris Allen, a member of both the City of Austin’s Land Development Code Advisory Group and McMansion Task Force. Allen and his wife, Gina, have spent the last few weeks blogging about the rezoning plan, which they explain will make Austin’s affordability crisis worse:

The only “solution” being offered by the City right now is GIANT housing that will accelerate displacement and gentrification and drive housing costs higher at an even faster rate than we see today. This isn’t a PLANNING process—it’s simply a large-scale entitlement handout to the real estate development industry.

The City of Austin’s rezoning plan threatens to completely reshape neighborhoods in transition zones, but it will also have a deep and lasting impact in areas of the city far beyond them. As residential lots are redeveloped to accommodate three large homes apiece, the surrounding property-tax assessments are sure to rise—and surging tax bills and rents will displace residents and in many cases may lead to the demolition of the homes they now occupy.

The Austin City Council could take its first vote on the next CodeNEXT as early as December 9, 2019. Austinites who oppose the plan are urged to take the following steps:

If you own property in Austin, file an official protest against the plan at FileYourProtest.com as soon as possible (no later than December 5, 2019). The process is quick, safe, and easy. Once you file a protest in connection with a piece of property, our legal team believes local officials should be unable to legally rezone it without approval by three-fourths of the City Council (9 of 11 votes), rather than a simple majority.

You are also encouraged to join us at City Hall at 10:00 AM on Saturday, December 7, 2019, for the only public hearing on the next CodeNEXT. This could be your last chance to take action before council members take their vote. Register your opposition to the plan using the electronic kiosks in the building’s lobby and sign up to speak before council members if you wish. Let them know you are opposed to the City’s plan.

Together we can build an Austin for everyone!