When developing the zoning map for Draft 1, the CodeNEXT team consulted multiple elements and documents, including the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, neighborhood plans, future land use maps, existing land uses, existing patterns of development, and the Community Character Manual, which was developed with intensive community input. We analyzed neighborhood and property character, and considered how properties relate to the street and to other buildings nearby. Our current code does not provide us adequate zoning tools to map all of these important characteristics of our city, and attempting to replicate the character without the proper tools has led to hundreds of individual patches to the code and map.
In Draft 1, we made a first pass at mapping brand-new zones at a citywide scale. The zones applied were a mix of form- and use-based districts, which were divided into separate sections of the code. You can read more about the feedback we received on the zoning and how we are updating the zones for Draft 2 in this blog post. In addition to input on the draft zones, the Austin community also provided extensive feedback on the zoning map – finding inconsistencies, errors, and unclear applications of the new zones. These comments have helped the CodeNEXT mapping team shape the Draft 2 map.
We’re looking at the factors that informed the existing mapping and that of Draft 1, and revising the map where we didn’t apply the tools effectively. The team is working to use the new, standardized spectrum of zones, along with the community input we received, to make an improved zoning map for Draft 2. The CodeNEXT team will continue to calibrate the zones to promote community character, walkability, and other Imagine Austin goals, and we invite the community to tell us how the draft map can be further improved beginning September 15.
To understand why the zoning map looks the way it does, it helps to remember that CodeNEXT is not a planning exercise – it’s an implementation tool. The code seeks to implement adopted Council policies, including Imagine Austin and neighborhood plans. The code can’t, in and of itself, solve many of our pressing problems, like our housing affordability crisis or traffic congestion. It can, however, help create a greater variety of housing types, increase connectivity, and help people meet more of their daily needs without using a car for every trip.
CodeNEXT will help Austin take a step in the right direction and have the tools to plan for its future. That is our goal, and we look forward to working with you to reach it.