It looks like the City of Austin may be ready to restart its revision of our community’s land development code—a process that started with the doomed CodeNEXT initiative and continued with the city’s controversial “transition zone” plan, which was put on hold by a local court.
In an exclusive interview in early June, Mayor Steve Adler told the Austin Business Journal that his goal was to make individual changes to the land development code that the city council is in agreement on. He proposed more density on the corridors, and went on to say:
“That was something that pretty much Council across the board was in agreement we should do.”
He also brought forward the concept of removing or reducing existing compatibility standards that now limit the height of very tall buildings where commercial lots abut homes.
While he feels he has agreement on the council, those discussion have not been shared with the public, and people are left wondering when they will be asked for their opinion. While the doors always seem to be open at City Hall for real estate development’s interests, genuine public involvement has always been fraught, with even more limited opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Around the same time Adler gave his interview to the Austin Business Journal, the council passed a resolution calling for the creation of transit-oriented districts along train and even bus corridors. Resolution No. 20210610-093 contained a grab bag of justifications for land use changes throughout the city and called on the city manager to get on this task.
We, the public, don’t know if the resolution was passed to justify coming land use changes, but we do know that we have not been part of the conversation.
Community Not Commodity will update our readers as soon as we know more. At this point, all we know for certain is that City Hall seems more interested in keeping land developers and the local business community informed, rather than the public at large.