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Second Draft Of CodeNEXT Allows More Housing In More Places, City Says

Martin do Nascimento
The second draft of CodeNEXT is an attempt to simplify the convoluted development code.

Austin released a second draft of CodeNEXT, the city’s rewrite of its land development code, on Friday.

"The CodeNEXT code and the maps are getting better and all of the community needs to stay engaged,"  Mayor Steve Adler said.

“We are really excited about the new draft coming out,” Peter Park of Opticos, a consultant hired by the city, told council members during a preview of the new draft last week.

Park said the second draft attempts to further simplify the convoluted code – another consultant found that the city has at least 400 different categories for defining what can be built where. One of the more notable changes is the removal of "transect zones."

The second draft also creates more opportunities for new housing, consultants say.

“You can see there’s about a two-to-one difference in terms of capacity between existing zoning,” said John Fregonese of Fregonese Associates, another consultant hired by the city. “The bulk of it comes out of what we would call ‘missing middle’ and multifamily” housing.

Earlier this year, the City Council approved a set of housing goals, including building 135,000 new housing units over the next decade.

CodeNEXT has garnered plenty of controversy, with local nonprofits and political action committees butting heads over how the city should grow. IndyAustin, a new political action committee, is calling for a public vote on CodeNEXT.

"Spending time trying to kill the process is only going to result in a continuation of the evils of the status quo," Adler said.

Fregonese said the majority of new housing will be built on vacant land, as opposed to redeveloping plots.

The second draft will also offer more chances to build housing close to stores.

“The draft two proposes to actually allow residential in the vast majority of the commercial districts," Park said, "so that there is the ability to provide more housing."

Scroll down to check out the updated maps from the city. 

Audrey McGlinchy is KUT's housing reporter. She focuses on affordable housing solutions, renters’ rights and the battles over zoning. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
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