AUSTIN, Texas -- Austin leaders are weighing in on the final draft of new rules to guide the city’s future growth.
Titled by city staff as CodeNEXT, it will regulate exactly what gets built and where. Tuesday, the City Council gave the third draft high marks for settling many of the previous drafts' controversial parts.
It reduces infill opportunities in established central city neighborhoods, while focusing development of high density housing along current commercial corridors. Several neighborhood groups had been adamantly opposed to mixing multi-family housing with single-family neighborhoods, worried the increased units per lot would push up the values of their single-family properties.
However, a study of development capacity with Draft 3 concerns some City Council members that the new zoning rules will move the development pressure east of I-35.
"Currently, looking at the housing capacity map, it still doesn't look fully balanced between gentrifying areas, and those high opportunity areas that could handle it with less potential impact," said District 4 Council Member Greg Casar.
The map showed the highest development intensity centered around Cesar Chavez; heavy redevelopment is also anticipated near East 12th St. and Airport Blvd., per an analysis by Fregonese Associates.
Only minor to moderate redevelopment was anticipated in Central and West Austin. District 10 Council Member Alison Alter described the map as showing red to indicate West Austin is not able to be redeveloped at the same rate under CodeNEXT.
"It looks like there is this big giant red in West Austin, but you have a lot of these preserves and other things, and they take up huge swaths," she said.
Several city commissions will make their recommendations over the next couple months. Some city leaders hope to have the new rules adopted by mid-June. Opponents, led by a woman from Bastrop County and funded largely by the owner of a billboard company, have been gathering signatures to force a citywide vote on CodeNEXT.
The group has stated it hopes to have the petitions ready to file for a November 2018 election.