Austin City Council holds special public hearing on proposed changes to Land Development Code

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) —Hundreds showed up at City hall during a public hearing to discuss a comprehensive revision to the City’s land development code.

The land development code dictates what can be built where throughout Austin. This current process is the city’s latest attempt to overhaul the code.

The land development code dictates what can be built where throughout Austin. This current process is the city’s latest attempt to overhaul the code.

In November, Austin’s Planning Commission voted to approve its recommendations aimed to guide Austin City Council as they weigh a proposed overhaul of the code.

The commission voted 9-3 in favor of the recommendations, bringing the city closer to a vote on whether to adopt the revised land code.

During Saturday’s meeting, city staff will look over the recommendations and share reactions with the council. One of the main focuses of the recommendations the commission approved is to curb gentrification in East Austin and add more housing density near transit in central and West Austin. 

An image of the proposed Land Development Code timeline (updated). (Courtesy/ City of Austin).

Over 9 hours of public testimony Saturday revealed that many Austinites feel like the written code doesn’t take their community into consideration, and that there has been a lack of public involvement in creating the solutions.

  • “3,200 vacant dwelling units in the city of Austin. It’s not about supply”
  • “Is the Austin that we are becoming what the City truly wants to be.”
  • “When I go to HEB, I see people that look like me there.”
  • “They’re moving here to Austin, and pushing people out. It’s not fair.”
  • ” You’ll never be able to produce units as affordably as you have right now.”
  • “Austin takes pride in its students, its musicians and its weird. These are not rich people.”

Council members say they’re looking at the whole picture, not just certain communities.

“We’re undertaking something that happens every couple of decades,” said Council Member Kathie Tovo. “We have a lot of people upset about the current draft of the code.”

Kathie Tovo, District 9 council member says she certainly hopes Saturday’s public testimony changes something. The outcome may not effect Monday’s development code vote, but it could change future drafts.

Austin City Council will reconvene Monday, Dec. 9 with the goal of approving an ordinance to adopt a comprehensive revision to the Land Development Code.

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