WATCH: CodeTALK on Community Character (April 19, 2017)
Challenge: Development is unpredictable for neighbors and challenging for property owners due to multiple rounds of review and various layers of regulation that were created to bolster inadequate base zones.
Solution: More refined zoning districts that better reflect the variety of conditions found in Austin neighborhoods and the integration of existing tools, such as Residential Design Standards, make development more compatible and predictable.
Enable Small Enterprises
Challenge: Small businesses face hurdles to build or expand due to land use conflicts and zones that disincentivize spaces suitable for small-scale enterprises in locations convenient to residents.
Solution: Small businesses are allowed by-right or with staff review in more zones in the new code, and standards have been adjusted to remove conflicts and encourage the provision of spaces suitable for small-scale enterprises.
Challenge: Base zones lack adequate regulations to ensure that development is compatible with its context, resulting in the application of complex overlays and ad-hoc rezoning that add to the complexity of the code.
Solution: Regulations to ensure compatibility with the existing context and character have been embedded into base zones, including finer-grain regulations for building form, size, and placement, which also help minimize the need for additional overlays.
Diverse Places for People
Challenge: Existing code incentivizes low-density suburban neighborhoods and high-density urban corridors, but discourages the types of places that could exist between these two extremes.
Solution: By refining existing zones and adding a suite of place-based transect zones, the new code allows for the creation of more diverse places with a variety of housing types in a range of suburban and urban settings.
Anticipate Future Growth
Challenge: Over the last 30 years Austin has faced increasing population growth, much of which has been accommodated through sprawl that strains infrastructure and exacerbates traffic and mobility challenges.
Solution: The new code encourages compact growth along corridors and centers, allows neighborhoods to grow intentionally while maintaining their distinct character, and creates walkable places where new development occurs.