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Frequently Asked Questions

About CodeNEXT

How is CodeNEXT better than what we have today?

The new code applies best practices and contemporary tools to help maintain the aspects of Austin we love, while positioning Austin to better address our challenges. The new code provides an alternative to issues brought up in the Code Diagnosis, such as: complicated and inefficient processes and procedures, affordable housing challenges, and regulations that increase car dependency; while carrying forward parts of the old code that work, such as: standards that maintain neighborhood character as well as nationally recognized environmental protections.

How will I be able to determine regulations that apply to my property under the new code?

Property owners can find and research the new code online, or visit staff in the Development Assistance Center (DAC) at One Texas Center for help regarding specific development questions. However, regulations under the new code will not be effective until after the adoption process.

I’ve heard we are getting a hybrid code. What does that mean?

The new hybrid Land Development Code integrates two types of zoning: Euclidean or use-based zoning, and Transect Zones, which implement form-based standards.

What is CodeNEXT, and how does it impact me?

CodeNEXT is the City of Austin initiative to rewrite our outdated and complicated Land Development Code. The Land Development Code sets requirements for what, where, and how much can be built in Austin.

What is the difference between use-based and transect zones?

Use-based zones control the intensity of uses across different zones and keep certain uses clustered and separated. For example, residential zones restrict uses that commercial zones allow to keep a clear definition of where certain residential and commercial uses can go. Transect zones prioritize the regulation of the scale and form of buildings rather than relying only on the land use of a property. While transect zones still regulate land use, they are better tools to address the preservation of a particular character within established neighborhoods and thus maintain a sense of place.

When will CodeNEXT be adopted, and do I have an opportunity to request a change before then?

Public hearings before the Planning Commission (PC) and the Zoning and Platting Commission (ZAP) are anticipated to begin in September 2017. Before the draft map and text make their way to Planning Commission in September, the public is able to provide feedback and recommendations on the draft map and text. All comments received on the text before June 7, 2017 and on the map before July 7, 2017, will be considered for incorporation into the final staff recommendation provided to PC and ZAP. The Commissions will make their own recommendations to City Council by November 2017. City Council will then have the opportunity to consider the draft text and map commencing in December with the opportunity to complete public hearings by April 2018. Comments received after the June or July cutoff date will be provided directly to the PC, ZAP, and Council for their consideration in the final adoption draft.

Who is working on CodeNEXT, and where can I ask specific questions?

The CodeNEXT project team consists of several City Departments, an Advisory Group made up of community members (CAG), and a consultant team selected by City Council. Visit "Meet the Team." For those with specific questions during the mapping phase, CodeNEXT staff will be hosting weekly office hours. The office hours will allow individuals to sit down with staff members and ask questions or provide comments on the map. In addition, questions can be emailed to codenext@austintexas.gov.

Environment: Challenges/Solutions

How will environmental standards be improved in the new code?

For over 30 years, Austin has protected its natural resources through a number of regulatory measures including stream setbacks, sensitive feature protection, tree protection, stormwater controls, and impervious cover limits. The new code will build upon this solid foundation with measures to enhance the environmental function and resiliency of sites. Current provisions do a good job of cleaning up polluted runoff, but they do not significantly address other important goals such as enhancing creek baseflow and promoting water conservation. The new code will request for sites to reuse their stormwater, which is a big opportunity to do more with rainfall, create more sustainable developments, and take pressure off our water supply lakes. In addition, the new code will require sites performing grading to either protect soils from compaction during construction or restore compacted soils post-construction.

How will the new code address flooding?

The new code will ask all developments to contribute their fair share to solutions that address threats to public safety and property. This could be achieved through a variety of options including on-site detention, off-site conveyance improvements, and payment-in lieu of drainage improvements. While this will not solve all of Austin’s flooding problems, requiring existing development to provide flood mitigation for redevelopment will reduce flood hazards associated with large storm events and address longstanding problems due to development built without sufficient flood controls and/or drainage conveyance.

How will the new code promote green infrastructure elements?

Austin’s green infrastructure network includes our parks, the urban forest, urban trails, greenways, rivers, creeks, lakes, gardens, urban agriculture, open spaces, wildlife habitat, and stormwater features that mimic natural hydrology. In addition to protecting this existing network, the new code will work to promote additional green infrastructure and further integrate nature into the city. The new code will distribute landscape elements throughout a site, enhance ecosystem service benefits, foster the beneficial use of stormwater, and capitalize on existing vegetation, trees, soils, and other natural features. In addition, the new Functional Green tool will offer highly urbanized sites a weighted menu of landscape elements that address issues such as urban heat island, stormwater management, habitat loss, and potable water use.

Is there a Deficient Park Area map available?
Will parkland dedication still be required for residential developments and how will the new code improve the quality of parkland and open spaces?

Parkland dedication will continue to be required under the ordinance adopted by Council in February of 2016 for areas within the City limits and Limited Purpose areas as well as under Title 30 for areas in the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). The Code seeks to improve open spaces in development by requiring larger sites to make the spaces more prominent and user-friendly. These spaces may count toward parkland dedication if they meet the new parkland dedication ordinance standards.

Will the new code make any changes to the Save Our Springs Ordinance?

CodeNEXT will maintain Austin’s historic watershed regulations, such as the Save Our Springs Ordinance, as well as the improvements of the Watershed Protection Ordinance adopted by City Council on August 8, 1992.

Imagine Austin

How will the code address Austin’s obstacles to becoming a “beacon of . . . social equity”?

To find out more about how CodeNEXT addresses equity, visit austintexas.gov/codenext/housing, austintexas.gov/codenext/permitting , and austintexas.gov/codenext/mobility.

How will the code foster a “diversity of housing types throughout the city [emphasis added]”?

To find out more about how CodeNEXT fosters a diversity of housing types, visit austintexas.gov/codenext/housing.

How will the code promote a compact and connected city, as required by Imagine Austin Priority Program 8?

To find out more about how CodeNEXT addresses mobility challenges and promotes a compact and connected city, visit austintexas.gov/codenext/mobility.

How will the code support “complete streets as well as standards to encourage public transit, walking and bicycling”?

To find out more about how CodeNEXT supports complete streets, visit austintexas.gov/codenext/mobility.

Land Development Code: Administration

Does the LDR zone–the nearest equivalent zone to the current SF-2– allow ADUs?

There was an error in the initial draft of the LDR zone that permitted ADUs. This is not the intent for the zone. A minor use permit (MUP) is required for ADUs in this zone, which carries forward the existing allowance for "caretaker units" in SF-2 on lots 10,000 SF or greater.

How does the Land Use Commission request text amendments?

The Planning Commission is responsible for reviewing and making recommendations on all plan amendments, including amendments to the text of the code. The Planning Commission may also initiate amendments to the text of the code.

How will rezonings happen after CodeNEXT is adopted?

Rezonings will continue to occur with a similar process under the new land development code. To dig further into the process, check out Section 23-4B-3: Zoning Map Designations and Amendments.

I run a mobile food truck. Will the new code allow me to continue use it?

There are no changes proposed to the mobile food vending regulations under the new code.

Is there a regular meeting schedule for the Board of Adjustment?

Board of Adjustment meetings aren't set in the land development code so that the schedule is able to change without a code amendment, but they are currently the second Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers. More on the BoA: https://www.austintexas.gov/boa.

I’ve heard the criteria manuals are not being updated through CodeNEXT. When will those be updated?

The criteria manuals are tools that help implement the code and will need to be updated after adoption outside of the CodeNEXT process.

My property is zoned historic. Will the historic designation be removed under the new code?

Historic designation will remain under the new code.

What are the maximum entitlements without including the Affordable Housing Incentive Program entitlements?

Staff and consultants are currently evaluating base entitlements and density bonus entitlements based on calibrations by EcoNW and Fregonese Associates.

What did you do with Conditional Overlays (COs)?

Properties designated as T5 Main Street, T4 Main Street, T3 Main Street, and Regional Commercial incorporate any conditions applied previously by conditional overlays. However, other conditional overlays are carried forward in the new map with zoning from the current code as the conditions are very specific and cannot be integrated into a new draft zone.

What has been done to simplify the code as compared to the existing code?

Information in the draft code has been updated, consolidated and refined to minimize any unnecessary or out of date information, and to make it easier to find related standards without having to reference multiple sections and documents.

What is happening to neighborhood plans in the new code?

In neighborhoods with adopted Neighborhood Plans and/or FLUMs, new zones will be mapped in such a way to match as closely as possible the intent of the Neighborhood Plans and FLUMs, Imagine Austin, existing entitlements, and existing development. New zones will be mapped in order to capture the intent of Conditional Overlays resulting from Neighborhood Plans as best as possible.

What is the Land Use Commission?

The Land Use Commission is comprised of the Planning Commission and the Zoning and Platting Commission.

What will happen to the Neighborhood Conservation Combining District (NCCD) overlay?

Areas that are already zoned with the NCCD overlay will keep their overlay designation. However, the process of creating new NCCDs will not be carried forward or applied to new zoning districts.

Where can I find the Neighborhood Character studies?

The Community Character Manual details the specific physical elements of community character studied to generate the form-based zones for CodeNEXT. The document is available for download and review on the City's website. ftp://ftp.ci.austin.tx.us/GIS-Data/planning/CodeNext/Community_Character_Manual/

Which zoning code applies to NCCDs?

Title 25 (the existing land development code) will apply to NCCDs.

Why are certain organizations represented on the Planning Commission while others are not?

Planning Commission representation is determined by City Charter.

Why does CodeNEXT allow more entitlements in neighborhoods with smaller lots than in neighborhoods with larger lots?

CodeNEXT is about right-sizing zoning classifications in areas as reflected in the Community Character Manual, recommendations in neighborhood plans and future land use maps (FLUMS), existing land use pattern and zoning, and other Council policy directives. Neighborhoods with smaller lot sizes tend to be those with the highest degree of block connectivity and closest proximity to Imagine Austin Activity Corridors. These neighborhoods also tend to experience the greatest market demand. Some of the new tools included in the code, such as T4 Neighborhood Zones, allow house-scale buildings that are compatible with existing neighborhood character to include multiple units.

Will City Council be able to designate a historic landmark or historic area?

See Subsection 23-4D-7070(D) Historic Designation Criteria, which states the requirements for Council designation of a historic landmark or historic area.

Will T4 Neighborhood zones allow commercial uses?

T4 Neighborhood zones are residential zones. T4 Neighborhood-Open zones allow limited non-residential uses. Note that those limited non-residential uses only apply to zones with "-Open" or "-O" in their name or zone string. These zones are intended to be mapped where existing zoning allows non-residential uses, but where existing buildings are house-form. Examples of this include West 6th Street in the Old West Austin neighborhood and East Cesar Chavez Street in the Holly neighborhood.

Will T4 Neighborhood zones allow fourplexes and small apartments?

T4 Neighborhood zones are most similar to existing MF-2 and MF-3 zones, but require that any multi-unit buildings are in house form in order to match the character of neighboring house-form buildings. The T4 Neighborhood zones are generally mapped in areas where MF-2 and MF-3 zones were applied, however, in some instances T4 Neighborhood zones were mapped in other areas to provide a greater range of housing options while maintaining neighborhood character.

Will the 50-year rule continue to apply to Historic Districts in the new code?

The 50-year rule as applied to Historic Districts will remain in the new Land Development Code.

Will the new code eliminate the need for PUDs?

The draft code does not eliminate existing PUDs. PUDs existing at the time of adoption will continue to remain in effect, and PUDs will remain as an option in the new code.

Will the statutory review times stay the same and will the be in the Code or in future manuals?

Statutory review times will remain the same, however, they have been taken out of the land development code itself so that a code amendment will not be required to change them.

With respect to length and complexity, how does our code compare to peer cities? How long is the San Antonio development code?

It's hard to compare different cities' codes; Austin has a Land Development Code which combines the vast majority or regulations needed for the development of land into one title, while other cities often break these regulations into multiple different titles. Additionally, each city includes different parts. For example, San Antonio does not include signage or transportation in their Unified Development Code. Denver's Zoning Code is 1204 pages and that only includes zones and administration and procedures for zoning.

Land Development Code: Form

1) How will eave heights be measured for gable roof ends? 2) How will heights be measured for sites with a slope?

Gable ends are measured in the same way regardless of whether they face the front or the side. Austin's current residential zoning regulations use a different method of height regulation to achieve a similar end. Those regulations have been simplified and restructured to produce the regulatory strategy proposed in this draft of the code.

Are artistic wall murals regulated by signage standards for Wall Murals?

These are signage standards for sign murals for advertising purposes and do not cover art murals.

Are compatibility standards included in the new Land Development Code?

Article 10 Compatibility standards and setbacks are incorporated into the individual zoning regulations. Other standards, such as screening, have been incorporated into the overall code. This increases ease of use and predictability by putting all of a particular zone district’s regulations into one place.

Are the values for the rear wing (8X24) inverted? This seems too narrow.

Yes, this is an error that will be corrected in future drafts of the code.

Do Gross Floor Area (GFA) and Floor Area Ratio (FAR) standards not apply to the Rural Residential zone?

The Rural Residential Zone does not have a maximum FAR in the current code. This standard was carried forward.

Do standards for "Two-Family Residential" apply in both Transect zones and non-Transect zones?

Please see Table 23-4E-6020.A Applicability to Transect or Non-Transect Zones, which provides applicability of specific to use regulations.

Does the 75% minimum standard for "Primary Building Facade within Facade Zone" refer to 75% of the width of the lot or the building?

The facade zone is the area bounded by buildable width and the depth of allowable setbacks, where (in this zone) 75% of a building facade must meet the min/max setback requirements. The remaining 25% of the facade may recess beyond the maximum setback. See Measurements section.

Does the Multiplex: Medium building type allow for multi-bedroom units?

This building type allows for a range of unit sizes to accomodate a variety of housing needs. For example, four unit Multiplex: Medium buildings can accomodate family-friendly multi-bedroom units, and provide front and rear yards.

How did you get 9400 sf as the min size for T3NE.WL?

Lot dimensions are based on observed patterns in Austin neighborhoods. Transect zones regulate lot size through minimum dimenions for lot depth and width, rather than lot area. These regulations will be reviewed and revised as necessary.

How is a Cottage Corner, which is allowed on a 50' lot in T3N.DS, different from a three-unit Multiplex: Medium which requires a 60' lot in T4N.IS? What building form is required for the three units included in the Cottage Corner?

Cottage Corner building types are a series of detached houses, while a Multiplex: Medium is several units contained within a single house-form building. T3 Neighborhood (T3N.__) zones allow up to three detached cottages on a corner lot. This pattern is found in East Austin and Old West Austin as two small detached houses and as three small detached houses. Each small house shall comply with the building envelope standards. (In this case each house shall not exceed a 24'x32' main body with side extension of no greater than 4'x16', and is limited to one and a half stories in height)

I am concerned that the maximum face length established for T3 zones is too large, especially when blocks in historic neighborhoods such as Hyde Park are closer to 450' in length.

The maximums were set for flexibility in the layout of streets and blocks. A face length of 600 feet when combined with the maximum perimeter would result in a 600 x 200 foot block. Alternatively, if the block length was more similar to Hyde Park, the maximum perimeter would result in a block size of 450 x 350 feet.

I am concerned that there are no standards for minimum number of bedrooms in multi-family buildings in more intense zones, and that without such a standard the market will deliver more studio and one bedroom units and not enough two-plus bedroom units.

The City and consultant team will examine options for bedroom requirements in multi-family buildings.

In neighborhoods with variable lot widths and setbacks, how will Transect zones that differ primarily by the allowed lot dimensions and setbacks be mapped? Will the same block be mapped with multiple different zones?

Transect zones are based on existing conditions around Austin. Some neighborhoods have highly regular lot sizes and setbacks, while other neighborhoods have variable lot sizes and setbacks. In order to reflect the existing conditions in each neighborhood, some blocks in neighborhoods with highly variable lot sizes and setbacks may be mapped using different zones in order to match existing conditions.

Is the 25' setback for parking in the front yard referring to structures or for surface parking?

The 25' front parking setback is the minimum parking setback for structured and surface parking.

Now that compatibility requirements are integrated into Transect zones, what will happen if a T5 Urban or Main Street zone is mapped adjacent to or behind a lower-intensity transect zone, such as a T3 Neighborhood zone?

The compatibility features built into T5 Urban and T5 Main Street zones include height stepbacks that progressively reduce the allowed height based on proximity to the parcel line that is shared with the lower-intensity zone. These height stepback requirements apply when T5U and T5MS zones are located adjacent to T3 and T4 Neighborhood zones. The CodeNEXT team will continue to examine adding additional compatibility strategies to these zones.

T5MS requires large block form buildings longer than 150’ to be broken up into separate buildings of 100’. What is required between the buildings?

The "breaking up" of the building is referring to a way of articulating the facade so that it is not perceived as overwhelmingly massive or monotonous. This articulation can be accomplished in a number of ways, including a change of materials or stepping back or forward within the setback zone. It does not mean that the building needs to become multiple smaller buildings with setbacks between the buildings.

The Building Height Diagram in Neighborhood transect zones appears to show a third story, but these zones only allow 2 stories. Is this an attic space being shown in the diagram?

The diagram shows an attic space–not a third story–to illustrate the limiting conditions of the regulations: a 22' maximum eave height, and 9'/8' minimum floor-to-ceiling heights.

The proposed code does not address trash storage for residential uses, but I am concerned that with the possible proliferation of small lots and flag lots, trash placement and permanent storage location will impact residential streetscapes.

The CodeNEXT team will look into addressing trash storage for residential uses.

The T5N.SS zone allows a height to eave of 55' and an overall height of 65', but lack the integrated height stepback compatibility requirements found in T5 Urban and T5 Main Street zones. How is this zone be compatible with lower-intensity zones?

All "Neighborhood" Transect zones require house-form buildings and generally include larger front, rear and side setbacks than "Urban" and "Main Street" Transect zones. T5N.SS has deeper rear setback requirements than T5U.SS (20' rather than 5') and requires that buildings be separated by side setbacks (10' rather than 0'). These setbacks, and the scale of the house-form buildings allowed in T5N.SS, make the zone more compatible with other "Neighborhood" transect zones, thus reducing the need for the type of integrated height stepback requirements found in "Urban" and "Main Street" zones where larger block-form buildings are allowed.

What will happen to the McMansion and Commercial Design Standards?

Subchapter F (McMansion) design standards are incorporated into the individual zoning regulations. This increases ease of use and predictability by putting all zoning regulations into one place. Subchapter E (Commercial Design Standards) are incorporated throughout the code. For example, sidewalk standards are moving to the Transportation chapter, while building placement is incorporated into zoning regulations.

When measuring depth for a lot adjacent to an alley, do you measure to the midpoint of the alley or to the edge of the alley? Some alleys are platted as separate lots and some are included with the residential lot.

The measurement is taken from the edge of the Right of Way (alley) where the property begins. See Lot Diagram in code.

Why are Cottage Courts and Cottage Corners limited to 1.5 stories?

Half stories are those where at least two exterior walls do not exceed 4 feet in height. Buildings with an upper level underneath the slope of the gabled roof would qualify as a half story if two of the four sides of the upper level–those not defined by the gable ends–are defined by walls less than 4 feet in height The height limit was based on observed patterns in Austin as well as courtyard massing studies for the intended cottage court scale.

Why are there higher minimum lot sizes in two of the transect zones (9400SF in T3NE.WL and 8200SF in T3NE) than the minimum lot size in the existing code (5750SF)?

Standards for Transect zones have been crafted to reflect patterns and conditions found in neighborhoods throughout Austin. T3 Neighborhood Edge zones were based on neighborhoods with lot dimensions that are larger than many other neighborhoods and which are consistently larger than the minimum lot size prescribed by SF-3.

Why are there minimum lot widths in T6 Urban Core?

CodeNEXT will consider recalibration of the standards for T6 zones.

Why are there no zones with 0' front and side setbacks?

Public Works has identified the need for a 5' setback for all zones to accomodate utilities. For Urban and Main Street transect zones, the sidewalk shall be extended to meet the building in instances where setback is 5'. T5U.SS and higher transect zones, in addition to the Downtown Core Non-Transect zone, allow a 0' side setback. Transect zones that allow rowhouses do not require a side setback between attached units.

Why are there stepbacks in the T6 zones? It seems like they will make smaller lots less valuable, and thus encourage lot aggregation.

CodeNEXT will review setback standards in T6 zones.

Why does the draft code limit a building's width and depth, rather than relying on floor area ratio, impervious cover, and the McMansion ordinance like the existing code? Will width and depth standards result in neighborhoods where buildings look same?

In Transect Zones, McMansion standards have been integrated into the form standards in the zones. FAR–floor area ratio–is not used as a regulatory tool in Transect Zones because it does not precisely affect the form of a building. Limits on the width and depth of a building envelope, in addition to any allowed envelope extensions, are maximum values which may not be attainable on all lots. Additional regulations such as setbacks, impervious cover limits, and landscape requirements may also impact the ultimate footprint of any building. Additionally, the range of frontage types and building types allowed within each transect zone will add to the aesthetic diversity of a neighborhood. Limits on the maximum width and depth of buildings helps to ensure that future development and redevelopment is compatible with existing neighboring structures.

Why does the draft code regulate the number of units allowed in each building type in transect zones?

The unit cap in Transect zones allows for a density bonus that would allow additional units in return for affordable housing.

Why is the allowed height lower beyond 80' of front property line than within 80' of front property line?

The intent of the regulation is to preserve backyard privacy and open space in the middle of the block by keeping the two-story portion of primary structures within 80' of the front lot line.

Why is the Main Street building type excluded from T6 zones? What about existing Main Street building types in Downtown?

CodeNEXT will evaluate all Transect Zones for further calibration, including the consideration of additional building forms that may be compatible in scale and proportion to existing Austin places.

Why is the maximum building envelope for a Multiplex: Medium in T4N.SS smaller than in T4N.IS?

CodeNEXT will reexamine the Multiplex: Medium building type in T4N.SS and T4N.IS to determine if the building envelopes for this type should be adjusted.

Why is the minimum lot depth standards reduced by 25' if the property abuts an alley?

This reduction addresses two items: Newer developments like Mueller have shallower lots with alleys, and the reduction in minimum lot depth reflects this pattern. Additionally, when parking is accessed from an alley in historic neighborhoods, there is less lot area needed to accomodate a house and a garage since a driveway at the front of the lot is not necessary.

Why is the rear setback for the T3N.IS zone 25' in the draft code when the required rear setback in SF-3—the nearest equivalent zone to T3N.IS—is 10' in the existing code?

The intent of the regulation is to preserve backyard privacy and open space in the middle of the block by keeping the two-story portion of primary structures within 80' of the front lot line.

Why is there a 9' minimum height requirement for ground floors in Neighborhood transect zones?

CodeNEXT will reconsider the 9' ground floor minimum height.

Why is there a maximum area for upper floors in more intense zones?

CodeNEXT is reviewing floorplate standards in T6 zones.

Will building a sixth floor on a T5 property require steel construction that adds to building cost, thus disincentivizing the affordability bonus that allows the sixth floor in the first place?

Under the current building code, five stories of wood frame construction can be built on top of one story of concrete.

Land Development Code: Missing Middle

1) Why do ADUs have to have a smaller and narrower footprint than the primary building? 2) Why must ADUs be located to the side or behind the primary building?

Large homes in the rear of a lot pose visual privacy issues for neighboring lots. Smaller ADUs in the rear of lots make it easier to maintain privacy for neighboring buildings. For older homes, there is the option of relocating the original house structure to the rear of the lot and building a new house structure in the front of the lot. This occurs in other communities where the foundation of the original home needs to be upgraded.

Are missing middle tools included in every transect zone?

All transect zones include building types that allow for 2 or more units per building. The least intense transect zones (T3 Neighborhood Edge zones) allow Duplexes and ADUs. T3N.DS zones and higher transect zones include buildings types that allow for 6 or more units. 5 of the 7 Neighborhood transect zones—not including Main Street and Urban transect zones—include building types that allow for 6 or more units.

Are there standards for how units in a Duplex: Side-by-side Building Type attach to each other?

Building form is regulated only by the categories in the transect pages (setbacks, height, etc.). All duplex building types allowed in Transect zones must be attached in such a way so that the massing of the building is visually similar to that of a detached house.

How might transect zones be applied in areas that were developed with more suburban street networks but which are now part of the urban core?

The application of transect zones and non-transect zones was determined during the mapping process. Neighborhoods with highly-connected street networks that increase walkability were prioritized for transect consideration.

How will ADUs be regulated in places with deed restrictions that permit specifically permit ADUs?

For Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) as a primary use- ADUs should be allowed in LDR (former SF-2) with an MUP (not a P, there is a typo in the draft), and allowed in LMDR, LMDR-SL, and MDR. Note: ADU and Two-Family are not the same thing. ADUs were added to LDR because secondary dwellings are allowed as accessory to residential in the existing code (given certain lot requirements). The updated code needs to incorporate existing lot size restrictions. Deed restrictions would supersede any Code standards. Note that the recently adopted ADU standards (November 2015) were carried forward into the new draft Code.

For accessory uses- We carried forward the existing regulations of 25-2-893 (E) which allows accessory dwelling units in any residential zone, with a minimum lot size of 15,000 sf. We reference 23-4E-6030 for development standards of the accessory unit, however it looks like the requirements, specifically "An accessory dwelling may be occupied only by a family that has at least one member employed on-site for security, maintenance, management, supervision, or personal service" were not carried forward. We can correct this in future code drafts. To help avoid confusion we can rename as "worker housing", "caretaker housing" or something similar. Accessory employee/caretaker housing is intended to be different than ADUs.

How will the new code accommodate cooperative housing arrangements where many bedrooms share a kitchen?

The Staff and Consultant Team are doing additional research into best practices for cooperative housing, including a more inclusive definition.

Why are Duplex building types required to face the front of the lot and provide entries along the front?

Entries that face the street can visually contribute to the public realm, display an inviting presence to the neighborhood, and activate the streetscape. Street-facing entries contribute to the pedestrian-friendly environment that is a goal of Transect zones.

Why are front-back duplexes not allowed in as many places as side-by-side or stacked duplexes?

CodeNEXT will examine the Duplex: Front-to-back building type and consider if this type is appropriate to allow in additional zones.

Why are property owners prohibited from leasing a house and its accompanying ADU to two different parties?

This is the existing ADU regulation, and it was carried forward. The consultant team is working with City legal department to review and discuss this regulation. Please also see City policy regarding short-term rentals which prohibit renting of ADUs or non-owner occupied short-term rentals.

Why aren't 'T1' and 'T2' included among the Transect zones in the draft code?

Transect zones are used in Austin for areas that may benefit from finer-grain regulations that support pedestrian-focused environments. Because natural and agriculatural areas do not require those types of standards, and because use-based zones already accomodate natural and agricultural areas, new T1 and T2 zones were not created for CodeNEXT.
T1 is instead mapped as Open Space Zone
T2 is instead mapped as Agricultural Zone

Why do we have both transect and non-transect zones? Why are low to medium density residential zones not zoned as transects?

Transect Zones (form-based zones) and Non-Transect Zones (use-based zones) provide different degrees of control over the form and scale of buildings. These two strategies expand the zoning toolkit available to Austin so that the most effective tool may be used relative to the context where the zone is being applied. The Code Diagnosis identified the "one-size-fits-all" approach of the existing code as ineffective in handling the diversity of places that are found around the city. To this end, these two zoning strategies have been developed as a means to more effectively respond to the types of places identified in the Community Character Manual. Further refinement of the format and organization of the various zones included in the draft code can help to streamline and better integrate the two zoning strategies.

Why is an ADU not allowed in T4 Neighborhood, which is more intense than T3 Neighborhood where ADUs are allowed?

ADUs are allowed in all T4 Neighborhood zones.

Why is garage space not eligible for conversion to accessory apartments?

The Consultant Team is working with City legal department to review and discuss this regulation, which is carried forward from the existing accessory apartment regulations.

Why is there an age restriction on accessory apartment dwelling?

The Consultant Team is working with City legal department to review and discuss this regulation, which is carried forward from the existing accessory apartment regulations.

Will properties along corridors and centers be upzoned and receive additional entitlements?

The intent of CodeNEXT is not to upzone properties, but to right-size zoning entitlements based on context and existing policies.

Will there be a mix of transect and non-transect zones in the urban core?

Yes. Zones will be mapped according to existing community character, policy direction from Imagine Austin and Neighborhood Plans, and existing entitlements. In certain cases, this may result in non-transect zones being mapped within the urban core.

Land Development Code: Uses and Definitions

"Walkability" has been mentioned as a consideration in the mapping process. Is "walkable" defined in the code?

The Community Character Manual, which is available for review on the CodeNEXT website, details various criteria used to identify different types of walkable places in Austin.

Are "bulkheads" a type of retaining wall, or do they only refer to a shoreline?

Bulkheads are currently defined as "BULKHEAD means a revetment or wall constructed for the purpose of stabilizing or modifying the shoreline".

Are "large" and "medium" defined in quantitative terms as they relate to building form?

"Medium House Form" refers to a category of building types. Examples of the Building Types that comprise each building type category are provided in "Table 23-4D-2060.A Austin Building Types Overview." Specific quantitative standards for each particular building type is provided in Table D in each Transect zone.

Are retail, restaurant and bar, or entertainment uses allowed in Residential zones?

This states that retail, restaurant, bar, entertainment, or industrial uses that are prohibited are allowed as an accessory use to a primary commercial use. This does not allow these as accessory uses in all residential zones, as many residential zones do not allow commercial uses.

City ordinances prohibit the sale of alcohol within 300 feet of a public school, church or public hospital. For clarity, could the CodeNEXT team consider adding this rule to the rules for Alcohol Sales proposed by the draft code?

Staff and Consultant Team can look into adding additional language to this section.

Do the additional minimum distance requirements and additional operational requirements for Mobile Food Sales apply in both Transect and non-Transect zones?

Yes. See Table 23-4E-6020.A Applicability to Transect or Non-Transect Zones.

Does "Plant Production" mean urban farming? If not, what use does that fall under?

Plant Production is distinct from 'urban farming'. See "Community Agriculture" for individual or group agriculture.

How can "maintaining" a property be a violation of the code?

If a property is in violation of the requirements of the Title, maintaining the property in a manner that does not bring it into compliance with the requirements of the TItle- is a violation of the Title.

This does not apply to legal non-conforming uses/structures, for which a permit was legally issued prior to the adoption to the new Code. These legal non-conforming may be maintained to an extent allowed in the Title, and as such- comply with the Title.

Is it possible to resort to the current terminology, “Historic Landmark” and “Historic District” instead of the new terminology, “Historic Landmark Overlay Zone and Historic Area Overlay Zone”? The two new phrases are too similar.

The existing Code identifies these as Combining Districts, and they function similarly to an overlay zone in the proposed code. We can review and determine how these should best be referred to. Currently the proposal is to continue to use H and HD (rather than HOZ and HDOZ). Open to working with the City to modify as needed for clarity.

The citation specific to use does not lead anywhere (no section 23-3E-6350 found). Does "two-family residential" allow for two detached units on a lot that are equal size? Does this allow for duplexes?

This is a typo, the cross reference should be 23-4E- 6350 Two Family Residential. Two-Family Residential allows for two units that share a common wall or a common floor/ceiling. This does not allow detached units.

The height definitions in the draft are unclear to me. Can you consider adding diagrams?

Definition texts will be clarified and diagrams may be added where appropriate in future drafts.

What is a "front street" and what is a "side street" in the downtown context?

In urban contexts, the "front street" provides direct access to the building's primary entrance. "Side streets" do not provide direct access to the building's primary entrance.

What is an example of a "Residential Convenience Service"?

See Subsection 23-4E-6040(D)(4)(m) for description of residential convenience service.

What is the definition of “interested party”? Does this include Neighborhood Associations?

This section was revised by the City Attorney's office to ensure consistency with state law. Section 23-2C-2020.B defines interested parties. It includes the applicant for a development, the record owner of property subject to development, and property owners/occupants/utility account holders and neighborhood associations within 500 feet of the proposed development.

What is the difference between "small" and "compact" in the code?

Each Transect zone has specific dimensional regulations for each building type allowed within that zone, including Cottage House and Small House. The descriptions in this section are qualitiative and non-regulatory. Quantitative regulatory standards are found on the pages that follow, and are specific to each Transect zone.

What is the difference between a Communications use and a Telecommunications Use?

See 23-2M-2030 Land Uses. COMMUNICATIONS. A site for the transmission, transfer, or distribution of telephone service and related activities. TELECOMMUNICATIONS. A structure built exclusively to support one or more antennae for receiving or transmitting electronic data or telephone communications. Communications have a maximum height of 12ft as compared to telecommunications which are 75+ ft, and subject to federal regulations.

What qualifies as a half story versus a full story?

A space is considered a full story if the dimension of at least two opposite exterior walls exceeds four feet. Note that this applies to exterior walls and that the heights of interior walls are not subject to this standard, so long as they are contained within the volume formed by the exterior walls and the slope of the roof.

Why aren't retail, restaurants or bars permitted uses in T5N.SS-Open when they are permitted uses in the -Open zones for less-intensive transect zones?

CodeNEXT will review the allowed uses in T5N.SS-O. The retail, restaurant and bar uses permitted in T4 Open zones likely should also be allowed in T5N.SS-Open.

Why do residential uses require an 18" minimum height above sidewalk and while the minimum height above sidewalk for commercial uses is 0-6" in the same zone?

The standard is meant to apply to any residential uses, not just single-family. A building will fall under one or the other standard, not both at once. The 18" min. height above curb is typical of residential uses and contributes to visual privacy for first-floor units. The 6" max. for service or retail uses, on the other hand, contributes to accessibility and visibility for businesses.

Why do some service sections have medical services and others don't?

Uses are only listed when they are allowed. If a use does not appear, it is because it is not allowed in that zone.

Will the draft code allow outdoor seating for restaurants in the T6 zones?

This was an error, outdoor seating for a restaurant should be a MUP in T6U and T6UC. Allowed uses for T6 zones will be revised.

Mapping

Are you upzoning the entire city?

CodeNEXT aims to right-size development standards through improved zoning districts. This will help all property owners know and understand what development standards apply not only to their property, but also surrounding properties.

How can I comment on the map?

By visiting codenext.engagingplans.org, you are able to make comments on specific properties or on zoning districts generally.

How did you apply the new zones?

When assigning a new zone to a parcel, a variety of factors were considered, including: existing entitlements, development patterns, corridor or center designation in Imagine Austin, neighborhood plans, and conditional overlays.

How do I find out my proposed zone, and what is the difference from my current zoning?

CodeNEXT is making it easy to see your current zoning and compare to the new proposed zone for your area or anywhere in Austin! Visit codenext.engagingplans.org to learn more about the project, find what new zone is being proposed for a piece of property, and compare side-by-side with current zoning.

How do the LMDR and T3 Neighborhood residential zones compare to current SF-3 zoning?

Low-Medium Density Residential (LMDR), a non-transect zone is similar in entitlements and regulations as the current Single Family Residence (SF-3) zoning. T3 Neighborhood is also similar in entitlements as it is a residential zone that allows for single family homes, duplexes, and accessory dwelling units. Where T3 Neighborhood differs from LMDR or SF-3 is the control of form and building placement on the lot. 

What is rezoning?

Rezoning is the change from one zone to another. Typically, it is requested on a case-by-case basis. However, CodeNEXT is changing zoning for the entire city as part of the land development code update, which was called for in the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan.

What is the purpose of the map released on April 18th?

The draft map shows where and how new zones from the January draft text are applied across the city.

What is zoning?

Zoning is a tool used by a local government that defines what you are allowed to build, and where. This can include designations such as commercial, residential, or industrial uses. Zoning also sets parameters on how properties can be developed and controls factors such as height, size, and placement of structures.

Who can I ask specific questions regarding the map or zones?

The CodeNEXT Team is offering a variety of opportunities to speak with staff and comment on the draft map and zones. Map Open Houses offer a broad overview of how zoning was applied across the city and in each particular Council District, and staff will be present to answer questions. For detailed inquiries that relate to specific properties, City staff is hosting a series of one-on-one office hours across the city. An event schedule can be found here: tiny.cc/ codenextofficehours.

Will "Open" Transect sub-zones, which allow for a mix of uses in house-form buildings be mapped in places that currently do not allow for restaurant uses? Will there be opportunities for public comment when this zone is applied in future rezoning cases?

Open zones, which allow for some commercial uses in house-form buildings, will be mapped only where existing zoning permits commercial uses. It is not the intent of CodeNEXT to map any Open zones on parcels currently zoned exclusively for residential use. If this has occured, please let the CodeNEXT team know by commenting via the mapping comment tool on the CodeNEXT website.

Mobility: Challenges/Solutions

How will percentage parking reductions be handled for residential transect zones that are otherwise required to provide one parking space per dwelling unit for single family homes and ADUs?

Under the draft code, any fraction 0.5 or greater will be rounded up to the nearest whole number.

If parking standards for restaurants require 1 space/100SF for under 2500 SF and 1 space/50SF for 2500-10,000SF does this mean that the first 2500SF is parked at 1 space/100SF or that the entire restaurant, if over 2500 SF, is parked at 1 space/50SF?

The first 2,500 sf would be at 1 parking space per 100 square feet, and the remainder (up to 10,000sf) would be at 1 parking space per 50 square feet.

What is the basis for your parking requirement of only one onsite space per dwelling unit?

The 1 space per unit parking requirement takes into account that the places mapped with transect zones are those places with highly-connected street patterns that are intrinsically walkable and not as car-dependent as parts of the city with street networks that do not support walkability. The lower parking requirements reflects that residents in these places have the option of less car reliance. Most transect zones are also of sufficient density to be transit-supportive, providing even more mobility alternatives. Still, the 1 per unit parking requirement is only a minimum; more can be provided if it is necessary.

What parking standard applies for offices?

Parking requirements for office use is 1 space /500 square feet for non-transect zones, and 1 space per 500 SF for buildings over 2,500 SF in transect zones. For zones where office is not a permitted use, no parking requirement is provided in order to minimize the inclusion of information that is not relevant for the zone.

Why do bars require more parking per square foot than restaurants? Can CodeNEXT use parking requirements to disincentivize driving to bars?

Bars do not generally provide tables for patrons and thus require a smaller space to serve an equivalent number of patrons as restaurants. CodeNEXT can incentivize the use of alternative modes of transportation to access bars by encouraging patterns of development that promote walkability, bikability and support transit.

Why does the "indoor recreation" use seem to require a different amount of parking in T4 Main Street than other uses?

The parking standards for Recreation in T4 Main Street are intentional and are consistent with the approach used in other Main Street Transect zones.

Why is public transit emphasized more in transect zones than in non-transect zones?

The proposed zoning districts provide a range of use and form controls. The transect zones provide the greatest amount of control on form. The non-transect zones also incorporate the form controls from the commercial design standards of existing Title 25 Land Development Code. The proposed Land Development Code requires additional connectivity standards and requires sidewaks and trails that support transit.

Why is the parking requirement 1.5 spaces per staff member?

The intent of the 1.5 space per staff member is to estimate the number of visitor spaces required.

Why isn't structured parking allowed in the Low-rise building type?

The Low-rise Building is intended as the lowest-intensity building on the Low-rise/Mid-rise/High-rise spectrum. A mid-rise building can be thought of as a low-rise building with structured parking.

Will there be an appeal process or other consideration for adjusting minimum parking requirements for areas where on-street parking is already scarce?

Parking requirements for areas with parking congestion can be explored further.