It’s finally here. After years of research, reports, and work the first draft of CodeNEXT has been released and will officially be revealed to the public on Wednesday.
What is CodeNEXT?
CodeNEXT is the city’s effort to rewrite its land development code.
And what’s a land development code?
It’s basically a rule book for the city, explaining what can be built where. It dictates which neighborhoods can have high-rise apartment complexes and which can’t, how many parking spaces businesses are required to have, and basically determines how a city looks.
Why does this matter?
CodeNEXT will determine how Austin looks 10, 15, and even 50 years from now. It will influence where density will be directed, and ultimately, how much density we will actually have. It will affect affordability because it will determine the type and availability of housing we have in Austin. It will also affect the environment, our transportation infrastructure, and social justice issues right here in our local community.
That’s why several environmental organizations (Clean Water Action, PODER, Sustainable Food Center, Save Barton Creek Association, Save Our Springs Alliance, Sierra Club – Austin Regional Group) joined together last week to release a list of priorities or standards that they would like to see come out of the new CodeNEXT draft. More info>>
Those priorities include a desire for CodeNEXT to:
- Increase transparency, consistency, fairness, and meaningful public participation
- Reduce climate change, increase resilience, reduce the urban heat island effect, and preserve and restore our natural environment
- Require that new- and re-development mitigate and reduce flooding, runoff pollution, and downstream erosion
- Protect and respect neighborhoods
- Promote affordable housing for all Austin residents, especially for low income residents
- Support healthy and complete communities with adequate access to healthy food, physically active lifestyles and jobs that pay a living wage
Last week, many other voices shared their hopes for the new draft code as well. Evolve Austin, a coalition of several local organizations (including Austin Habitat for Humanity, Bike Austin, and Ecology Action) also released a statement calling on the CodeNEXT process to produce a new code that “aggressively supports the goals of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan.”
But the conversation doesn’t end here. Now that the draft code has officially been released many more organizations and individuals are bound to offer up their opinions as well, with varying ideas on how best to balance environmental protections, affordable housing needs, and the desires of both newcomers and longtime residents alike.
So what happens next?
The draft of the new land development code will be officially shared with the public at an event on Wednesday, February 1st from 4pm to 6pm at the Palmer Events Center. At the event, you’ll be able to take a self-guided tour through previous code products, learn more about the new code, and receive information about opportunities for feedback. If you’re interested in CodeNEXT and the future of this city, this is one event you don’t want to miss. More info>>
The release of the draft code will be followed by several months of community engagement and opportunities for public input. We’ll keep you up-to-date on ways to get involved.