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With Council’s decision to end CodeNEXT, how do you envision moving forward to update Austin’s land development code?

Rich DePalma

City Council, District 8

We need an updated land development code that provides allows the city to enact the vision of Imagine Austin, provide diverse housing options, improve our environment, activate transit corridors and address affordability. The city has the work already completed and should be use as we move forward. One way I envision we can move forward is through working through the code in sections. It was the process I always thought that they should do and hoped that they would implement under a Draft 4 (Draft 1 should have never counted since it was so bad.) The maps should not be addressed until after the entire code is finalized or at least until the zoning section is finalized. After, the community as a whole should agree on very specific goals relating to housing, transit, healthcare, schools, senior development, commercial districts, and environmental solutions/opportunities. I don’t believe that any one stakeholder group should dictate what should be done. When looking at the maps, we should look at how we implement at a regional level. At the regional level, specific existing neighborhood plans can be reviewed and the FLUMS can be updated based on the new land development code options and community needs.

Also critical to make future plans materialize is a better functioning and more efficient development services department.

The opportunities of the new land development code are important to all of us because of the real housing, transit, water quality, open space and other infrastructure challenges we are facing as a city. We continue to push out our most vulnerable populations, struggle to make public transportation robust, and are not providing enough housing options to meet internal and external population growth. We must acknowledge that Austin, like the rest of the United States, is growing and our city’s administration has a duty to make sure Austin can sustain itself. Too often we hear questions like: Didn’t they think of that? Why doesn’t Austin do a better job at planning? Why isn’t our public transit system better? Or Why do they call Austin the Live Music Capitol when all the musicians have moved away? Together with stakeholders such as the Austin Tech Alliance, I hope that our city’s leadership remains focused on solutions for our problems, and now exclusionary policies.