Land Development Code (LDC) Update From NSCNA’s Development Committee

Land Development Code (LDC) Update From NSCNA’s Development Committee

• Wed., Dec. 11, 2019 — Austin City Council votes 7-4 to approve the LDC on first reading, with Alter, Kitchen, Pool, and Tovo voting no. Council Member Pool offers an amendment to recognize the right of property owners to protest LDC zoning changes. Her amendment fails 4-7, with Alter, Kitchen, Pool, and Tovo voting in favor.

• Thurs., Dec. 12, 2019 — A group of 19 homeowners sue the city, asking that Council’s approval of the rewrite be invalidated and that the city be forced to recognize the right of individual property owners to protest rezoning. The City of Austin maintains that the state-mandated right of a property owner to protest the rezoning of his/her property does not apply to the broader rewrite of the land code. The case is scheduled to be heard February 18 in Travis County District Court.

Why does this lawsuit matter? If the homeowners prevail, then a three-fourths majority – the vote of eight council members — will be required to approve zoning changes. This means the four council members who voted against adoption of the LDC revision as currently written will be able to block zoning changes on properties whose owners have filed protests of the zoning change.

The current LDC revision rezones 26 houses on Rockwood to R4 (the least intense transition zone). All other single-family homes in North Shoal Creek are zoned R2A, which allows up to 2 housing units on a single lot – e.g., a single-family home, a single-family home with an ADU, or a duplex. If a home is more than 30 years old and the homeowner chooses to remodel rather than replace it, then 3 housing units are allowed. R4 allows a duplex up to a 4-plex, with 4 additional units allowable as an Affordable Housing Bonus. While existing single-family homes are grandfathered in, new single-family homes cannot be constructed in an R4 transition zone. The Development Committee believes the properties zoned R4 should be changed to R2A to match all the other single-family homes in North Shoal Creek.

Our Future Land Use Map (FLUM) calls for Buell to emphasize missing-middle housing and local businesses and to serve as a live/work zone. The current LDC revision rezones more than half of Buell to MU5B-A (mid-rise mixed use). The Development Committee wants the Buell properties zoned MU5B-A changed to Flex Industrial (FI) to match our FLUM.

Council Member Pool is aware of our position and supports it, but she might not be able to get our two problem areas changed to match our FLUM. So, the Development Committee suggests this back-up plan: property owners on Rockwood and Buell whose properties were changed to R4 and MU5B-A zoning, along with their neighbors within 200’ of their properties, file protests of the R4 and MU5B-A zoning. If the court rules in favor of the homeowners, a zoning change for the properties whose owners filed protests would have to be passed by an eight vote supermajority of the Austin City Council.

To file your protest
• online, go to https://fileyourprotest.com/. Then fill in the form and click the Submit Form button
• by mail, go to https://fileyourprotest.com/file-by-mail/. Then select the format you want to print (PDF or Word), print the form, complete it, sign and date it and mail it to:
Communications and Public Information Department, City of Austin
P.O. Box 1088, Austin, Texas 78767

You can also hand deliver your completed protest form to:
Communications and Public Information Department, City of Austin
301 W 2nd Street, 3rd Floor, Austin, Texas 78701

Or, you can email the form to:
LDC [at] austintexas [dot] gov

Who can file: the property owner; property owners within 200’ of the property being rezoned
You must file your protest before council holds the third and final reading on the code and map, which will probably occur in late March.

For more information: https://fileyourprotest.com/ and http://www.austintexas.gov/ldc

 

 

 

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