Austin officials backing away from controversial rewrite of land-use regulations

Construction in downtown Austin's warehouse district on Tuesday, May 2, 2017.
Construction in downtown Austin’s warehouse district on Tuesday, May 2, 2017.
Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

Austin Mayor Steve Adler on Wednesday asked his fellow City Council members to consider scrapping a years-long, multimillion-dollar effort to rewrite the city’s land-use regulations and start again. And it quickly appeared that he had enough votes to do so, according to KUT.

The massive initiative to rewrite existing land-use rules, called CodeNext, has divided residents, officials and developers in the state’s capitol for several months. In comments posted on a City Council message board, Adler indicated he still wants to overhaul how land is developed in the city but didn’t detail what new process might replace CodeNext.

“We had been hoping for a process that would bring Austin together and result in a code that would help us solve many of our biggest challenges, however CodeNEXT and the community discussion surrounding it have largely been contentious and marked with misinformation,” he said. “Preying on the worst fears of Austinites is a near surefire way to kill anything, but we know that that our city’s challenges and the need to re-write our land development code remain.”

City leaders for years have grappled with how to combat increased housing unaffordability, socioeconomic segregation and traffic-choked roads — problems Adler said can be traced to the city’s development code.

“We must improve on what’s happening now,” he said. “We can’t keep losing long-time residents because they can’t afford to stay in their neighborhoods.”

Council members Greg Casar, Jimmy Flannigan, Delia Garza and Pio Renteria co-authored a resolution that calls on the city manager to develop a different process for changing land-use rules, KUT reported.



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