April 21, 2017
CodeNEXT is the city of Austin’s effort to revise the Land Development Code, especially in light of Austin’s massive growth. The initiative to revise the code came out of Imagine Austin, and is a process that is requiring collaboration between Austin’s residents, business community and others to ensure that land use regulations align with what’s important to the community.
“This is the biggest change to the code in my generation,” said Trammell Crow’s Brad Maples, at the recent “CodeNEXT: The Legislative Impact” panel at Connect Austin. “Residential changes in the city’s code have a massive impact on our ability to build and develop in this market.”
Maples and other panelists were not shy about airing their concerns about CodeNEXT to group moderator David Knoll with Ryan Cos., including costs and fees, housing affordability and zoning density. Melissa Neslund with Arbrust & Brown PLLC expressed frank alarm about more complicated zoning districts under CodeNEXT. “They are more complex than before,” she noted. “For me, it’s not just looking at where the new districts are proposed, but also, what are the outputs?”
Meanwhile, Terry Mitchell with Momark Development affirmed that more density would be beefed up along the corridors, while leaving the central locations and neighborhoods alone, with the goal of creating “enough additional development space to handle the growth.”
HPI’s Sam Houston also expressed concern about the multiple zoning categories, as well as Austin’s affordability issue. He pointed out that, with the median price of housing at $340,000, one needed to have at least an income of $112,000 a year to afford it. “One of the challenges is it takes a long time to get permits; it’s a four-year process to build a building,” he said. As a result, the current stock will increase in price, as will property taxes. “We have to increase density to fix the affordable housing issue,” he added.
For advertising information, please contact Joni Margotta