AUSTIN, Texas -- Austin home builders say the final rewrite of Austin's land development code isn't much of a rewrite at all.
Dubbed CodeNEXT, it will guide land development decisions for the coming decades.
"Our current code is cumbersome and complicated, and it doesn't need to be," said Felicia Foster of Barron Custom Design.
The Home Builders Association of Austin said the biggest shortfalls with this draft are that it doesn't do enough to grow the city's housing supply.
"We need 17 units or jobs per acre versus the 5.4 we have today," said Scott Turner of Riverside Homes, an infill homebuilder.
Turner said land values are driving up home prices within the city's urban core: defined by US-183 to the north and east, SH-71 to the south and Loop 360 to the west. He said allowing property owners to subdivide their lots could ease pressure on people seeking to live closer to where they work.
"If you can get two properties out of one large lot instead of one house on one big lot, that is one more home that somebody can live in to meet our housing shortage," Turner said.
He added, just because a property owner is allowed to build greater density does not mean the vast majority of them will opt to do so. Mike Lavigne, who's with a group opposed to CodeNEXT known as Community Not Commodity, said he doesn't buy Turner's supply-side argument.
"We lead the nation in housing starts," he said. "We have since the mayor became mayor. We have also seen an increase in unaffordability."
Lavigne, who lives in North Austin's Crestview neighborhood, said redevelopment under the existing code already surrounds him.
"When you tear down one of those $350,000 houses, what are they going to put up," he asked. "They are going to put up two $700,000 or $800,000 houses."
The Home Builders Association has previously stated that their research shows homes are still selling for about the same price per square foot regardless of age.
Another group, IndyAustin, said it is continuing to gather signatures from Austin voters to force a referrendum election in November. Led by Bastrop County reisdent Linda Curtis and funded largely by billboard company owner Billy Reagan, Curtis said she plans to submit the petitions to the Austin City Clerk by the end of the month.