During the month of October 2017, the CodeNEXT Team held six community open houses to educate the public about changes to CodeNEXT Draft 2, provide an opportunity to ask questions, and share next steps. Each meeting included a staff presentation followed by a question and answer session, opportunities to review maps and other visuals, and opportunities to interact one-on-one with CodeNEXT staff to learn more about how individual parcels or neighborhoods would be affected by CodeNEXT revisions. The six open houses brought out nearly 400 attendees, with representation from all 10 council districts. Three of the six meetings offered language access services in Spanish, including one meeting that also offered language access services in Chinese, Vietnamese, and Arabic.
Staff received a total of 193 questions from the community open houses. Due to time constraints, we could not answer all questions at the meetings. However, questions were documented with the goal of identifying recurring themes and providing responses to those theme concerns. Of the 193 questions submitted, the top five (5) theme inquiries related to affordable housing, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), parking, neighborhood plans, and flooding. Below, we’ve provided a response to each theme concern:
How does CodeNEXT address affordable housing in Austin? What affordable housing incentives can CodeNEXT provide to developers?
CodeNEXT alone will not solve the City’s affordability challenges. Working in tandem with other initiatives such as the Strategic Housing Blueprint and Affordable Housing Program, CodeNEXT is a critical tool that moves us the right direction. CodeNEXT allows more types of housing to be built for Austinites, at all stages of their lives. It increases the city’s capacity for housing in comparison to the current code and enables more housing to be located near amenities and transit, which can help reduce transportation costs (a typical household’s second largest expense). For more on affordability and CodeNEXT, see our blog on addressing affordable housing.
Are accessory dwelling units (ADUs) considered affordable housing? Why or why not?
ADUs are one of many options in the toolbox to help promote housing at all income levels and for all types of people. ADUs can help with affordability by helping a homeowner offset increases in property taxes by renting out the ADU for additional income and providing a more affordable housing choice than what is typically available in the neighborhood, due to their size relative to a single family home.
Why is parking being reduced to one space per residence?
Parking requirements included in CodeNEXT are minimum requirements. More parking spaces can be added to a property as long as other requirements of the code are being met. As we develop the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan, the CodeNEXT minimum parking requirements reflect future opportunities to choose other modes of transportation and acknowledges that all Austinites may not rely solely on single-occupancy vehicles for their day-to-day needs. Click here if you would like to read more on mobility and CodeNEXT.
How is CodeNEXT taking into account Neighborhood Plans?
As Neighborhood Plans are Council-adopted policy, CodeNEXT is including them, along with Imagine Austin, existing conditions, and other Council policies when considering the appropriate zoning to apply to a property. In neighborhoods with adopted Neighborhood Plans and/or future land use maps, new zones have been mapped to match the intent of these programs as closely as possible. New zones have also been mapped in order to capture the intent of Conditional Overlays resulting from Neighborhood Plans as best as possible.
How does CodeNEXT address flooding issues related to impervious coverage?
By managing the amount of impervious cover on lots, encouraging or requiring the beneficial use of stormwater, and requiring or encouraging other flood mitigation efforts, CodeNEXT is seeking to improve how we manage localized flooding in Austin. Please see the Watershed Protection Department’s CodeNEXT Impervious Cover Analysis for more information on how CodeNEXT is addressing flood mitigation.
Given the multitude of questions received, staff will publish final responses to all theme concerns by Nov. 17.