Planning Advocacy- Code Next meeting 3-17

Code Next Meeting 3-17-2014  -  AIA Austin - Planning Advocacy Roundtable

AIA Austin had a well-attended Planning Advocacy Roundtable on 3-17-14 to continue discussion on Code Next, the implementation of Austin’s comprehensive plan. The discussion focused on compatibility and transition zones between commercial and residential land uses.

Jorge Rousselin and Francis Reilly, both with the City, presented how transition zones were handled in the Airport Blvd Initiative and in the South Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan. Martha Koock Ward, an Airport Blvd area resident was on hand to offer her viewpoints on the specifics of compatibility and growth in her neighborhood.

Current compatibility regulations focus on use and height and are a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Airport and the South Austin Neighborhood Plan have considered the importance of building form and design in compatibility. Denser single family or townhomes could help in a transition that preserves residential use, while providing a buffer between traditional single family and larger buildings on commercial corridors. Townhomes, that are not very prevalent in Austin, are part of the “missing middle” in housing options. Airport Blvd between 45th and 53rd has some shallow commercial backing to single family, which is particularly challenging to plan a transition zone. Planners have discussed the potential for townhomes on a couple of the residential lots backing to the commercial as a way to ensure a transition. North of Koenig on Airport, where Highland Mall is, commercial properties are large enough to design in transition entirely on the commercial property.

AIA members can get involved and make a difference in the Code Next process by both participating in their neighborhood discussions and participating in the current “Community Character” phase of Code Next. Code Next offers residents a way to give input on community character via: . Members are encouraged to discuss the importance of design and context with their neighbors, as the city looks at ways to add density in appropriate areas and preserve quality portions of the existing urban fabric.

Code Next has gone through a listening phase, and is now in the community character definition phase. A code diagnostic will be underway this summer, which will lead to a preliminary draft of a new Land Development Code. The process is expected to continue over a couple of years.


Links of interest:

Links to the South Austin Combined NP website and draft document:

Plan: (will be updated soon)