By now you have probably heard: The Austin City Council voted last week to end the years-long effort to reform and rewrite Austin’s land development code on the grounds that it had become too contentious and divisive. The Austin Board of REALTORS® was committed to the overall goals of CodeNEXT – including a simpler and more streamlined code – and will continue to strive for an affordable Austin.
For several years, ABOR was deeply involved in the CodeNEXT process. We served as key stakeholders and took a leadership role in bringing in other groups and constituencies into these important community discussions. This was an opportunity to address long-standing issues that directly impact our members and those they serve.
ABoR and our members have long known Austin’s current code contains layers of conflicts and inconsistencies that together make it unfriendly to homeowners and small business while driving up the cost of housing.
While it is unfortunate that such a great investment in taxpayer funds and volunteer time has not led to much in the way of material action for our community quite yet, ABoR understands the need to take a break and reassess the process. As conversations progress over the next six months, ABoR will remain at the table with our sleeves rolled up. Our staff and dedicated members are continuing to work with city leaders and community stakeholders to advocate for changes to our code that would:
- Make it easier and less expensive for homeowners to navigate the City’s permitting process;
- Increase transparency and simplicity so Austinites can have a clear understanding of what can be built on residential property;
- Allow a greater variety of housing to be built in and around transit corridors, giving Austinites better choices for their lifestyles as well as their budgets; and
- Provide better tools like those adopted in other growing cities that help address issues of traffic congestion, affordability, flooding and drainage, and access to parks.
We will continue to work with City Council and the City Manager to press for needed changes and will support a new process that achieves our goals while bringing Austin together as a community.
Have questions or suggestions on this issue? Email Taylor Smith at email@example.com.