CodeNEXT

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  • Thanks for the great video!

  • Thank you for posting this. A few comments: the pro-density folks argue that if you vastly increase density, the effect is to increase (1) the need for mass transit so it finally gets built (and used); (2) ridership of existing mass transit, thereby making mass transit more cost effective and paying back its building costs through increased revenue; or (3) both.  I'm NOT saying I agree with these arguments, but simply failing to mention them could be less helpful. Another thing: homeowners do gain in the sense that generally speaking their property values rise when entitlements (uses) are increased. Would that happen in Eanes? Maybe not. Our values are already very high because of our schools, and, many argue, our "way of life." (Yes, I fully appreciate the racist and economic snobbery arguments perceived to be embedded in that phrase. I decry those sentiments but know they exist.)  Increasing entitlements may actually decrease our values in Eanes, and will certainly change our way of life. We can argue about whether the changes would be for good or ill. For example, some like mixed use and would love a neighborhood pub or restaurant in walking distance. Others, such as many in ANC, are more bent on preserving neighborhood character. I'm not taking sides at this time, but  this video should have mentioned that rising home values are seen as a plus by many, especially if you're ready to sell or you see your home as a long term investment. Finally, I'm not convinced that density automatically leads to a decline in schools. I'd like to see back-up for that statement. In sum, my beef with this video is you cannot optimally argue with someone (the pro-density folks) unless you recognize, state, and fairly evaluate their arguments. Thank you for posting this video. 

    • Also, while I appreciate how fed up this speaker this, my reaction as one quite involved in this process, , is to say of course the powers behind CodeNEXT want density. But it's a bit late in the game to object to the entire purpose of CodeNEXT, because friends, it is going to pass. I'd like us to focus instead on changes we need made for the good of Lost Creek. We had identified several changes we wanted made--at least two were corrected between Drafts One and Two. The Community Building zoning was changed to allow us to meet there--maybe we'll still need a permit but Mixed Use is more appropriate than Low Density Residential. The big greenbelt (Y-Canyon as Mr. Schumann calls it) is now designated as Park/Conservation. And the new zoning for our homes, R1B as I predicted, is somewhat correct in that it applies to lots 5750 square feet and up, which all the lots in Lost Creek are. We're basically being zoned as a group to reflect our smallest lots. (But we all had the same zoning in the Interim Zoning, SF-2, which for several years had also been only 5750 and above.) This still isn't perfect--why is Woods of Westlake R1A? Are all their lots really 10K or more? I don't know. And R1A is described as "meant for use on land with sloping terrain or other environmental limitations,or to maintain areas with an existing pattern of large lots."  Is their topography really that unique as compared to us? NO. And why do we care? Because R1A allows one fewer use than R1B.  And RR would allow a lot fewer uses.  I think the key is "to maintain areas with an existing pattern of large lots." In other words, Woods of Westlake has nice big lots and the COA intends to respect and preserve that. Lost Creek has tons of large lots, most over 10K I believe, some over an acre. Does the COA intend to respect and preserve OUR large lots? Nope--not so much. Because c'mon, we have plenty of "sloping terrain" and "environmental limitations." I submit we have more than Woods of Westlake. I also submit that perhaps our dollar per square foot is lower? Again, not sure, but money talks. Remember this is not a new problem--Woods of Westlake was zoned SF-1 under the old Code. We still need the Limited District green spaces zoned correctly--they're still zoned Rural Residential. That was a fail, and goes against what was promised recently. Did our Firewise efforts and Dark Skies Status get accounted for? Not sure. What's happening with the all important existing Conditional Overlays if you're not Chapter 25'ed? So these and other issues remain, but we have two more drafts. Let's focus on getting the changes made that Lost Creek needs, instead of trashing the entire purpose and process (which I too can do upon request. At length.) 

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CodeNEXT

CodeNEXT is the new City of Austin initiative to revise the Land Development Code, which determines how land can be used throughout the city – including what can be built, where it can be built, and how much can (and cannot) be built.

The process is a collaboration between Austin’s residents, business community, and civic institutions to align our land use standards and regulations with what is important to the community.

This initiative to revise the Land Development Codeis a priority program out of Imagine Austin, our plan for the future adopted by City Council in 2012.

To see the road map of the CodeNEXT process, go to CodeNEXT Journey: Creating the Austin We Imagined.

Ann McCormick and I have been involved in this process representing the neighborhood almost from its beginnings. And, several more of your neighbors worked with us on developing our Community Character in a Box.

We created several reports, documents and photos as part of this process, and these are listed below:

Please help us by getting involved in this forum asking questions and discussing issues.

Paul Schumann

CodeNEXT Project

Community Not Commodity

Austin Contrarian