Looking to build? New zoning map changes the rules

New homes being constructed in North Austin (KXAN Photo)
New homes being constructed in North Austin on Sept. 1, 2016 (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Tuesday morning, the highly anticipated proposed zoning maps were released to the public. It’s part of the city of Austin’s rewrite of its land development code. Because of the anticipated concern over the maps, Austin Mayor Steve Adler has also declared Tuesday ‘Chill Out Day.’

“I want everybody to chill. I don’t want anybody to panic when they look at the maps. My hope is that by everyone chilling out, people can focus on what we can do to make it better instead of getting so lost in the challenges that we face that they can’t be constructive.”

To see the full map and leave comments for city officials to see, click this photo:

Austin's zoning map showing old vs. proposed changes (City of Austin)
Austin’s zoning map showing old vs. proposed changes (City of Austin)

These zoning maps are a big deal because it could change the way homeowners and businesses build onto an existing structure like a home addition or the way a developer can build an apartment.

As the city expands and businesses start getting closer to residential properties, these zoning maps provide guidelines, for example, of how tall a new apartment building can be or how far a business can expand their parking lot so it doesn’t encroach on a home. The zoning maps are broken down by each of the 10 districts in Austin.

And while there are already zoning rules in place – this is modifying the current rules as the city looks to rewrite its land development code. The goal with the revised code is to make the permitting process easier for developers – especially those looking to build affordable housing – and to create uniform rules throughout the city. These zoning maps specifically lay out what a neighborhood could look like when it comes to homes and businesses.

“One of the key goals of the maps and of the new code is to improve upon the character of what makes Austin a great place to live,” says Jorge Rousselin, CodeNext Project Manager. “So the project itself, both the text and the map are not seeking to modify or change what’s special about Austin.”

While Tuesday is the first day to see the proposed zoning maps – nothing will be finalized for at least a year. Immediately after the maps are released the public can provide feedback online. Over the next several months there will be multiple public meetings in each district so residents and business owners can ask questions and let city officials know what they think. All of that feedback will be taken into consideration before a draft is presented to the land use commission by the fall. City council could have it by the end of the year, but they anticipate more public hearings before a final vote by April 2018.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler wants to also fix the permitting process. In a recent Facebook post he said that you shouldn’t have to hire an attorney if you want to remodel your kitchen. Adler has created a survey he hopes the public can fill out.

KXAN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s