Process

Posted by kevin.mclaughlin70 Oct 14th 10:09 PM

unless the general provision was adopted more recently and the manifest intent of the city council was for the general provision to apply.

This resolves the NCCD issue that the ADU ordinance had.


Posted by kevin.mclaughlin70 Oct 14th 10:11 PM

Page 47 - 1

Just a note that we could do a better job as a city on this

Posted by pete.gilcrease Oct 06th 10:06 PM

(A) The Planning Director shall initiate the formation of a Neighborhood Plan Contact Team.

The recent Audit of Neighborhood Plans and Contact Teams finds that our current neighborhood planning processes are “inequitable and have lacked robust and representative participation,” that neighborhood planning contact teams (NPCTs) “create barriers to public engagement and representative decision-making,” that neighborhood “plans are not consistent with some elements of Imagine Austin,” and that “fair housing choice has not been specifically considered in most neighborhood planning efforts.” While the Audit acknowledges these flaws, it does not provide adequate recommendations to remedy them.

The Audit’s conclusions show that the current neighborhood planning process undermines the vision of inclusive neighborhoods with an abundance and full diversity of people. Our neighborhoods should not be exclusive enclaves for incumbents, and the interests of any particular neighborhood should never trump the interests of the citywide community.

City officials should expand the neighborhood planning process to include all neighborhood stakeholders, and to remove the special status it currently bestows on NPCTs. Furthermore, city planners should embrace as important stakeholders renters and the families who aspire to live in our neighborhoods.

Remove the Special Status Bestowed Upon NPCTs

It’s recommends that city officials no longer give NPCTs special privileges in the neighborhood planning process, and that city officials should empower planning staff to exercise their professional experience and expertise as they consider input from all members of the community and ultimately make recommendations to boards, commissions, and the City Council. The existing notification process enables stakeholders within a given neighborhood or nearby area to provide input, support, or opposition to variances or other development. City staff can employ this same notification process to solicit input for neighborhood planning decisions. City staff could expand the notification mechanism to enable stakeholders outside these proximity-based zones to register for notifications, ensuring everyone is heard and the process is professional, inclusive, and fair.

The 10-1 representation on the City Council, having brought the geographic representation the city once lacked, has rendered the special status of NPCTs unnecessary. NPCTs have become harmful to the goals of an inclusive city that strives to represent all stakeholders, especially the renters who compose a majority of our city and are sometimes excluded from these groups entirely.

Suspend and Reform NPCTs

If the City Council decides to not eliminate NPCTs’ special status, then it’s recommended to suspend the NPCTs’ special status until they have taken steps to ensure they are more representative of the full diversity of neighborhood stakeholders. City officials can then reinstate NPCTs as they demonstrate they have implemented these steps.

1) City staff should be assigned to oversee each NPCT. The assigned staff member shall attend and facilitate all meetings, functions, oversee eligible voter rosters, and take the place and function of current officer positions on NPCTs. 2) NPCTs should be required to have representation from all stakeholder groups for a quorum, including renters, homeowners, and business owners. 3) NPCTs should have a minimum participation from stakeholders in the planning area. 4) NPCTs should be required to use online voting to allow easy participation for all stakeholders. 5) NPCTs should eliminate mandatory attendance requirements and other barriers to participation that disenfranchise stakeholders. 6) For neighborhood plans to remain valid, they should be required to go through a review and updating process. If a complete review is not done within one year, then the plans should be considered invalid and removed from the land development code. 7) Neighborhood plans should be required to align with Imagine Austin when going through the review process before they are reinstated and after reinstatement. 8) Neighborhood plans should be required to meet fair housing requirements when going through the review process before they are reinstated and after reinstatement. 9) NPCTs should be required to determine where more density should be allowed by right in their planning areas based on projected future growth of the city and improvement in Imagine Austin’s complete communities indicators. Opportunity for Affordability, Equity, and Diversity

Austin’s continuing growth, and its transformation into a fully realized urban environment, requires its citizens to reconsider how Austin can best deliver on goals of equity, diversity, and opportunity for all of its residents. Decades of land use policies that were originally based on segregation have calcified Austin’s neighborhood development, leading to its current status as the most segregated city in the country.

As the recent audit completed by the City of Austin confirms, it is imperative that we as a city fix this broken component of the land development process. Removing NPCTs’ special status, and enacting more complete ways for stakeholders to be heard, provide opportunities for Austin to show it is serious in addressing its long history of social inequities and injustices.


Posted by josiahstevenson Oct 05th 10:40 PM

Page 76 - 1

Does this mean that some Affordability Unlocked projects might qualify for site plan lite even if above eight units?


Posted by kevin.mclaughlin70 Oct 06th 10:49 PM

500 feet

Instead of 500 feet, can we just say “no more than state law requires”?


Posted by kevin.mclaughlin70 Oct 06th 10:50 PM

Page 106 - 1

Yay!


Posted by pete.gilcrease Oct 05th 10:01 PM

If the applicant is a neighborhood plan contact team, the City is responsible for the cost of notice.

This seems unfair to allow contact teams make changes for free, but other groups are responsible for the cost. Other stakeholders in the neighborhood or planning area should also be able to initiate changes without the barriers that are currently placed on them, which makes changes and improvements less likely if they can only come from exclusionary groups.


Posted by pete.gilcrease Oct 05th 10:11 PM

(c) An application may be filed only during the month established by the responsible director under Subsection (K) unless: (i) The application is submitted by a neighborhood plan contact team for the planning area in which the property is located; or (ii) A neighborhood plan contact team for the planning area in which the property is located has given written approval of the application.

This is very limiting. If a contact team can amend at any time during the year, then it should allow other groups and individuals the same ability. There’s no reason to limit the time period for some and not others.


Posted by pete.gilcrease Oct 05th 10:17 PM

(K) Map and Filing Date. The responsible director shall establish a map designating the area of the City for which a neighborhood plan amendment must be submitted in February and the area for which an application must be submitted in July.

Amendments should not be so limited to specific times of the year.


Posted by benjaminsteele Oct 05th 10:13 PM

To initiate an appeal under this article, a notice of appeal must be filed on a form prescribed by the director and must include

This is probably useful in process to challenge spurious appeals


Posted by benjaminsteele Oct 05th 10:18 PM

(A) A timely filed appeal tolls the expiration period for the application or approval associated with the decision under appeal.

The appeal deadline opens (we’ll say 14 days). An appeal is filed on day 1. The appeal process goes through over such-and-such time period and is now closed in favor of the approved project. There are now 13 more days in which another appeal may be filed?

Posted by benjaminsteele Oct 05th 10:16 PM

(E) If an appeal challenges the director’s interpretation or application of multiple codes falling within the jurisdiction of more than one body, the director may divide the appeal into separate cases and assign each case to the appropriate board.

Breaking this into multiple cases is going to tie things up even longer. A joint committee could be formed with members of the interested boards that would allow for things to be sped along a little bit more, rather than waiting on committee meetings for god-knows-how-many boards to meet.


Posted by benjaminsteele Oct 05th 10:22 PM

If an appeal concerns issues with potential to affect individuals or groups who are not parties to the appeal or otherwise entitled to notification, the director may provide additional notice to those individuals or groups.

The level of discretion here is unclear as to which interested parties will be informed.


Posted by benjaminsteele Oct 05th 10:24 PM

Page 173 - 1

Are “other individuals” members of the general public or do they have to have the standing to be involved in the administrative process?


Posted by elliottbucknall Oct 05th 10:27 PM

(C) Contents of Determination. The director shall provide a written determination to the applicant, which must state: (1) Whether the petition is approved or denied, wholly or partly, and the basis for the decision; (2) Findings of fact in support of the determination and information sufficient to identify the permit or fair notice application on which the petition is based; and (3) If the petition is approved: (a) A description of the project for which vested rights are recognized; and (b) A vesting date.

If the determination is partially or fully approved, there should be listed descriptions of the significant changes in the land use regulations due to the vesting. Ex. “The property is exempt from the exterior route visitability”. This may or may not be doable to other rules such as chapter 245 which is a state provision, ect.


Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:46 PM

MU5A Mixed-Use 5A 23-3C-5100 MU5B Mixed-Use 5B 23-3C-5110

Difference between MU5A and MU5B? And is there no way to use COs or some other mechanism to enforce difference?

Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:45 PM

Table 23-3A-2020(B) Residential Multi-Unit Zones

Was there ever an attempt/desire to simplify RM and MU to allow mixed use and have only one shared category, since they are generally the same size/scale buildings?


Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:59 PM

(A) If a site is divided by a zone boundary, the regulation of each zone applies to the portion of the site located in that zone

Is this normal? Is this how we do it currently, or a change?


Posted by josiahstevenson Oct 05th 10:46 PM

Limitations on building size, including floor area ratio (FAR), height, or gross floor area

Does it make sense to suggest that Land Use Commission should impose conditions on FAR and Height for a CUP? A CUP is for potential variation on uses – if you want to regulate height and massing, would seem like it makes more sense to just do that in the zoning?


Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:08 PM

Posting of Interpretations. The director shall post code interpretations on the City’s website.

Where on the website will the interpretations be?


Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:11 PM

(iii) a petition of the owners of at least 51 percent of the land, measured by land area, in the proposed zone or at least 51 percent of the owners of individual properties in the proposed zone.

Is this a change to the petition process? Why both options to trigger? To make it easier/harder? Which is normally used?


Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:12 PM

If the amendment is part of an area-wide or district-level planning process

Difference between area-wide or district-level planning process?


Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:15 PM

An interested party or registered party may request one postponement for a period of no more than 60 days from the date of the scheduled public hearing

Is this process (7 day notice, an interested or registered party may request one postponement for no more than 60 days from scheduled public hearing) the same as it is currently?

Do any changes address the constant postponement culture?


Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:17 PM

Development in compliance with the variance does not result in parking or loading on public thoroughfares that interferes with the free flow of traffic on thoroughfares; and (3) Development in compliance with the variance does not create a safety hazard or any other condition that is inconsistent with the objectives of the Code.

Free flow of traffic encourages, exacerbates safety hazards to cars, pedestrians and cyclists

Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:16 PM

In determining whether the findings required under Subsection (B) have been met, the Board may consider limitations on developable area resulting from the presence of heritage trees, protected trees, or other environmental features.

Is the same process for allowing variances related to trees?


Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:20 PM

Zones require a vertical mix of uses along corridors and in nodes with increased walkability

What defines “nodes with increased walkability? Wouldn’t allowing/requiring pedestrian use on ground floor create increased walkability?


Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:21 PM

additional discretionary approval or licensure including a license agreement or encroachment agreement.

What are these and where do they apply?


Posted by tannerblair Oct 05th 10:58 PM

These requirements are intended to ensure that proposed development is compatible with existing development, and to produce an environment of desirable character that is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and any other applicable area plan.

I like that the two goals are both acknowledged and given equal weight.


Posted by pete.gilcrease Oct 05th 10:34 PM

(b) Notwithstanding any provision of the ordinances listed in Paragraph (3)(a), development within an NCCD is subject to: (i) Section 23-3D-1030 (Accessory Dwelling Unit - Residential); and (ii) Section 23-3D-2050 (Off-Street Motor Vehicle Parking Reductions).

How do ADU and parking regulations override the NCCDs since NCCDs are still in the old code? Without amending the NCCDs it’s not clear if simply mentioning these things in the new code will have any impact since the two codes are completely separate from each other. The NCCDs themselves most likely need to be amended for these changes to actually take place. This same thing happened with the city wide ADU ordinance a few years ago. The city passed the “city wide” changes, but because the NCCDs were mistakenly not amended these changes didn’t apply to NCCDs.

Posted by robert.sotolar Oct 05th 10:59 PM

(C) F25 Rezoning Policy. In order to achieve consistency with the current regulations of this Title and minimize reliance on prior regulations, the City’s preferred policy is to: (1) Rezone properties within the F25 Zone to current zones established in this Title.

What will be the process for rezoning areas currently zoned “F25” (think Neighborhood Conservation Combining Districts) to align with the Land Development Code re-write?


Posted by ewise23 Oct 05th 10:18 PM

ECM Appendix N

What is the ECM and Appendix N is not included in this draft.


Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:35 PM

d. Pruning more than 25% of the live canopy.

Helpful definition, details provide useful clarity and improvement on current “excessive pruning.”

Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:34 PM

c. Damaging the critical root zone; and

Any part of the CRZ? On referring to same impacts as current code (ie, no lower than 4-inches in 12 CRZ, no more than half of CRZ outside of 12 radius)

Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:33 PM

Small Public Tree. A public tree that has a DBH of at least 4 inches or a planted public tree of any diameter.

Invasive trees and scrub trees that are in the public right of way, sidewalk easement, are now given protected status and add time, cost and complexity of full arborist review?

Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:31 PM

Public Tree. A tree that has at least two thirds of its trunk diameter located on real property owned or controlled by the city.

Another new term and type of regulated tree?

Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:29 PM

Keystone Tree. A tree that has a DBH of at least 8 inches, but less than 19 inches.

This is a new category. Was it necessary to add another category of tree? Were the old regulations not resulting in desired results?


Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:37 PM

The director shall adopt administrative rules to implement this article. In consultation with the Transportation and Public Works directors, the director shall adopt administrative rules to implement the street tree regulations in Article 23-8E (Street Tree Requirements).

Draft administrative rules? Timeline? Effects? Any different than what we have now administratively, and if so what are the added goals?


Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:41 PM

(B) The review and inspection fees may be waived if the application is for:

“MAY” be waived—meaning staff has discretion, or it will be waived if below conditions are met?

Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:39 PM

The city arborist shall review all applications to remove or impact a regulated tree for compliance with this article.

Based on the above definition of “regulated tree” the process scope is being enlarged significantly. Do we know or have any idea on how many additional trees/decision/inspection points we are talking about adding the small public trees and “keystone” trees to this process?


Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:36 PM

(1) Remove or impact a regulated tree without obtaining the city arborist’s review and approval under this article; or

Regulated tree by this definition now includes “keystone trees” which are any trees over 8-inch diameter, so now to remove any tree over 8-inches in diameter I have to go through arborist application/review? How much would this process cost to remove an invasive chinaberry or scrub hackberry tree that happens to be over 8 inches in diameter?

Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:32 PM

(A) The city arborist may request that a city department administratively modify a policy, rule, or design standard to the extent necessary to preserve a regulated tree if enforcement will otherwise result in removal or removal by impact. (B) At the city arborist’s request, a responsible director may administratively modify the applicable policy, rule, or design standard if the director determines that a waiver or modification will not pose a threat to public safety.

The applicant/owner can’t request a modification to preserve a tree? What would be an example of allowing a modification that would be a threat to public safety? Would allowing a building to start before the front setback line, or extend into a side street setback (for example) to fit in the units and save a tree/trees be something that was considered safe enough to be allowed. Would there be criteria/standard modification options to attempt to save trees (ie, additional height, FAR, encroaching into setbacks, waiving of compatibility) that could make the process far less opaque and give property owners visibility and flexibility of knowing what options might ever be allowed, and what wouldn’t.


Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:03 PM

) A development application on property zoned R2A, R2B, R2C, or R3 may count keystone trees towards tree planting or mitigation requirements.

We need to be working to maximize the value, effectiveness of our new transition zones to help deliver as many missing middle units as we can to address affordability, sustainability and equity issues, so prioritizing or helping smaller scaled zones, which have much more flexibility to squeeze in the lower units over the transition-zoned categories undercuts the stated AHBP and council direction goals.

Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:59 PM

(4) The tree prevents reasonable use of the property; or

In regards to protected trees, how to we balance our desire to get more affordable and market affordable missing middle units in the new R4/RM1 zones vs. preserving a tree that negatively impacts building placement/unit yield on a lot?

Is it reasonable for a protected tree to keep a transit accesible, high opportunity lot from delivering 10 units, when say it could only fit 4?

Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:55 PM

(4) Removal of the tree cannot be avoided through minor changes to a development, such as grading, access, parking, or landscape island configuration, that would not change building layout or number of units; or

Does this mean that “keystone trees” will be approved for removal/impact if their placement is on the site where a building will be going?

Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:53 PM

(B) An application proposing to remove or impact a keystone tree associated with a development application is not required if the property is zoned R2A, R2B, R2C, or R3. (C) A development application on property zoned R2A, R2B, R2C, or R3 may count keystone trees towards tree planting or mitigation requirements.

Why carve out residential house scaled zones up to R3 from enforcement of new smaller tree regs and not exempt small-scaled missing middle which we want to help get built in R4 and RM1? By adding this new regulation on the small residential lots in transition zones where we want to see missing middle units built, this increases the complexity, cost and feasibility, making the units harder to fit into these old established lots and, even where they can be, will result in more expensive, more complex to design and build structures that directly increase the rent/price of those units.

Posted by atalbert Oct 05th 10:48 PM

23-4C-2030 Keystone Trees

The creation of another protected tree category further complicates development process, and by adding trees 8-inches or larger to have to go through the arborist review process and not just requiring mitigation for removing one during planning process, adds another layer of complexity and cost for both city and owners.


Posted by mike_nahas Oct 05th 10:58 PM

However, the city manager may from time to time delegate particular functions to one or more other city departments, which shall control over the general delegation in this subsection.

This statement could use clarity/specificity. Do “function” and “subsection” refer to the same thing? Can a single function be delegated to more than one city department? Is the city manager delegating the ability of general delegation?

Posted by mike_nahas Oct 05th 10:54 PM

Title, from building permits for single structures to more complex approvals that affect larger areas or implicate specialized development regulations

“implicate” is probably not the best word here.


Posted by mike_nahas Oct 05th 10:12 PM

A plan review determination under this section does not authorize construction, but constitutes a final determination as to the type of review process required for a proposed development.

Does “final” here mean that staff cannot change their mind or that applicants cannot appeal the decision? Or both? If staff later determines that a limited site plan is no longer appropriate and they want to see a full site plan, how do they do that?


Posted by mike_nahas Oct 05th 10:32 PM

For a demolition, the foundation or structure does not cover more than 10,000 square feet

This sentence covers when a demolition can use the limited site plan application. It says if the foundation is more than 10,000 sq. ft. then the applicant must apply for a full site plan. A 10,000 sq. ft. foundation seems like a strange cut-off. I would expect aspect that pose a danger to workers, like the height of the structure being demolished. I’d also expect aspect that pose a danger to nearby structures or people: like the nearness of other structures, the nearness of property boundaries, and the demolition methods being used. While the director has discretion of the decision, this seems like a strange reason for overruling the discretion.


Posted by mike_nahas Oct 05th 10:57 PM

Single-Family Construction. Construction or alteration of a single-family residential land use structure, single-family attached land use or duplex residential land use structure, an accessory dwelling unit, or an accessory structure

I’d suggest changing the bold text for 23-6B-1030.D.1 from “Single-Family Construction” to “Residential Construction of One to Two Units”. On the previous page, 23-6B-1030.C.2.l mentions “Residential Construction of Three to Eight Units.”. As the bold text reads now, it’s unclear where duplexes are covered.


Posted by mike_nahas Oct 05th 10:37 PM

Require the applicant to obtain approval of a building permit under Article 23-6C (Building and Demolition Permits), in addition to review under this division.

23-6B-3020.B.2 says that some applications will require a Building and Demolition Permit, in addition to the Limited Site Plan. It seems strange to mention it in that location and to not mention it in 23-6B-1020.B, which says one or the other is required.


Posted by ewise23 Oct 05th 10:54 AM

Draft 3 Februrary 2018

This is the wrong code, we don’t want to confuse this with CodeNEXT, and it applies to every page, not just this page.


Posted by nsguko Oct 05th 10:35 PM

(C) If the property owner decreases the number of service units for a development under an unexpired site plan, the property owner is entitled to a credit of the impact fee at that property for the amounts represented by the decrease in service units based on the fee to be collected for each service unit and credits or discounts in effect at the time the fee was paid.

The current code states a refund is due the developer if service units decrease. The draft now states a credit to the developer instead. Does this mean a refund would be issued or is does the city keep the balance and apply it to future developments with this developer?