Community input helps planners refine CodeNEXT Draft 2 mapping

Sep 11, 2017 - 10:31 am

Zoning defines what kinds of uses are permitted and prohibited on properties and sets parameters on where a building can be placed, how it sits on a lot or parcel, and how tall it can be constructed. As part of the proposed revision to Austin’s Land Development Code, the CodeNEXT team is recommending changing the zoning that applies to many properties in the city.

The new Draft 2 map benefits from an additional invaluable resource: The expertise of Austinites who provided feedback on the Draft 1 map.

The thousands of comments received during the public comment period for the Draft 1 map helped the CodeNEXT team identify areas for improvement, including places where:

  • the proposed map didn’t reflect the ideals described by existing visioning documents;

  • on-the-ground conditions were incompatible with the proposed zoning;

  • mistakes were made in the mapping process; and

  • the mapping was inconsistent or spotty.

The CodeNEXT team also received additional feedback on which zones were most desirable in neighborhoods and Imagine Austin Centers and Corridors. The Draft 2 map addresses many of these instances by mapping different zones, including new, more refined zones that were not available in Draft 1 of the code.

Draft 2 provides a broader palette of zones that are organized across a single spectrum and that make it easier for people to understand zones with varying degrees of form control. Zones from Draft 1 have been renamed according to the new organizational approach, and new zones have been created to respond to conditions revealed through the public’s input on the Draft 1 map and text.

New zones provide a broader range of standards for use and form, so the degree of control in a zone better matches the needs on the ground.

For example, new Main Street zones provide consistent form standards, but allow different land uses. This gives main street environments near residential neighborhoods the option to allow a set of uses that are different than what may be allowed in main street environments along large corridors or in entertainment districts.

Draft 2 of the map provides additional locations for housing along corridors throughout the city on parcels that previously allowed only commercial uses. These new Mixed-Use zones were former commercial zones that allowed residential only through a mixed-use overlay.  The change will help support transit throughout the city and create housing in close proximity to the places people go to meet their daily needs.

The community was helpful in pointing out inconsistencies in the Draft 1 text and map, including elements that were unclear or could use additional refinement. This input helped us improve the Draft 2 text by refining the standards and by renaming, reformatting, and reorganizing the zones to more easily allow people to understand and compare zones with different degrees of intensity and form control. These refinements provide more zones and help improve the clarity of the Draft 2 map.

Draft 2 of the code will be published Sept. 15.