Today Austinites saw the first official draft of CodeNEXT, Austin’s rewrite of its land development code.
The rewrite, which has been years in the making, is meant to simplify Austin’s infamously complicated land development code – last updated in 1984. The patchwork system of rules and overlays that comprise the current code have been derided by everyone from developers to business owners. City officials hope that the CodeNEXT rewrite, which will hew to the Imagine Austin vision, will fix all that.
CodeNEXT was identified as one of the top priorities in the Imagine Austin plan when it was adopted in 2012. But the fact that the process of getting to a first draft has taken so long has irked many in the real estate community.
“The project is two years behind schedule, hundreds of thousands of dollars over budget and in jeopardy of collapsing under its own weight,” wrote Ward Tisdale, president of the Real Estate Council of Austin, in a RECA blog last summer. “The voices have been heard; the data has been collected; and the reports have been written. Now, it’s time to get to work and ensure a draft of the new code is released in January 2017, the latest date promised by the city.”
The new rewrite will certainly have an eager, and perhaps critical, audience. A 327-page draft of the code that was anonymously leaked earlier this month drew criticism from some Austin groups who noted that the draft language still seemed byzantine, and added more zoning types, the Austin Business Journal reported. The city said that the draft didn’t include significant revisions.
Today’s text version of the draft will be followed by a visual map draft in April. That should show how the new code applies to neighborhoods throughout the city. City staff have said there will be multiple opportunities for public engagement, including meetings, staff office hours, and a website. The CodeNEXT draft will spend much of 2017 going through revisions and reviews, and will be adopted in 2018.
Stay tuned to BuildingATX for all the newest developments on CodeNEXT!