Austin Historic Landmark Commission Rejects Second Draft of CodeNEXT

CodeNEXT was created to be a major rewrite of Austin's Land Development Code, giving the city the tools it needs to manage its growth. However, according to the Austin Monitor, the Historic Landmark Commission voted unanimously in favor of rejecting the second draft of CodeNext during their Oct. 23 meeting. The commission’s resolution stated that “CodeNext continues to enable the demolition and replacement of existing housing stock with new construction” in Austin.

“As it is, [CodeNEXT] does not promote, protect or preserve historic buildings in this city,” Commissioner Terri Myers said at the meeting. She found it difficult to discuss a draft that does not prioritize historic preservation or see it as a positive tool. Myers believes they should consider nixing CodeNEXT altogether if the final draft of the code does not include the commission’s changes. 

The commission’s resolution suggested CodeNEXT should incorporate impact fees, reduced parking requirements, and other incentives to help discourage the destruction of historic buildings. They also recommended strategies to encourage preservation, such as endorsing accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Commissioners support allowing ADUs if the historic-age house is retained or permitting small older homes to be classified as ADUs while remaining in the front of the property.

Finally, the resolution lists “necessary next steps” for a historic preservation program, including administering a historic resources survey, developing a citywide preservation plan to guide future policies, and forming local historic districts. 

The third version of CodeNEXT is anticipated to be issued on Feb. 12. City Council is set to start reviewing the draft in late April 2018.

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