For more than a year we have joined the community in sounding the alarm that CodeNEXT was broken. Those efforts included our proposed plan for a more equitable, sustainable, accessible, vibrant, and community-driven process.
We appreciate that our colleagues have joined us in recognizing that CodeNEXT is flawed and that the public has lost all confidence in the process. The community has been sending warning signals for a long time that the process is off track, culminating in a citizen-led referendum with more than 32,000 signatures to put this issue to a public vote.
We see this as a full stop and support departing from the flawed process that CodeNEXT has become. We look forward to the opportunity to adopt a new community-driven path.
We thank the community groups and individuals as well as our city board and commission members who put in thousands of volunteer hours throughout this process.
Additionally, we look forward to the community voting on any future land development code revision and trust that, regardless of where the City Council lands on this rewrite effort, the public will have their voices heard at City Hall.
Signed – Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, Council Member Ora Houston, District 1, Council Member Leslie Pool, District 7, Council Member Alison Alter, District 10.
The above joint statement, released August 1, comes after a June call to action by the coalition of City Council members to introduce a path forward for a Land Development Code that would create a livable Austin for everyone.
At the time earlier this summer, Council Member Houston addressed the equity component of the coalition’s objectives, stating she was “hopeful, with the adoption of the land development code, that individuals who call our fair city home, regardless of when they arrive or how long they have lived here, will be treated with respect and will have an acute sense of belonging to a community regardless of age, abilities, and income status.”
Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo acknowledged that for many, CodeNEXT has been an overwhelming and often divisive process for our community. “We want the community to know that we hear your concerns, we recognize the effort embodied in your recommendations, and we are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work to craft a land development code that we as a community can support.”
“We need a code that will solve problems rather than create new ones,” Council Member Alter stated regarding sustainability. “Austin is defined by the quality of our environment and civic spaces and so we seek a sustainable code that strengthens environmental protections, affirms our parkland dedication requirements and creates spaces for our community to come together.”
On accessibility, Council Member Pool noted that while the term itself is fairly broad, at its core it’s about being within reach. “We want to calibrate our land use requirements to support our public transit and make sure that the ability to move around our community freely is in reach for all residents,” she said.