On 'Everybody Chill Out Day,' City of Austin to unveil zoning map draft

Austin city officials will unveil the initial draft for a new zoning map on Tuesday, that could change the rules on what is built in the city.

AUSTIN - The City of Austin will unveil the initial draft for a new zoning map Tuesday that could change what is built in the city.

This is all part of Austin's "CodeNext" project, which would overhaul the aging land development code.

Mayor Steve Adler is asking for calm because this could re-zone nearly the entire city. He is calling Tuesday's unveiling "Austin Everybody Chill Out Day."

Adler wants to encourage people not to stress the initial draft because the city has a whole year to make any changes.

"I don't want anybody to panic or get scared," said Adler.

Developers, like Kent Collins, who owns Centro Development, LLC out of Austin, said he would like to see less complicated regulations.

"It's not just the stringency of development regulations, it's the layering of development regulations and the difficulty of each site,” said Collins.

Collins said one of his biggest problems deals with scarce land sites in an expanding city.

"The lack of available, developable land, and the cost of land,” Collins said.

So what will these zoning maps reveal? Mayor Adler said the city has asked planners for a path to achieve 135,000 new housing units over the next 10 years.

"What we're going to expect is the opportunity to actually get some duplexes and triplexes and quads … a little bit more density in the appropriate places," said Adler. "But at the same time, protecting what is the spirit and soul of our neighborhoods."

It is a challenge Mayor Adler hopes to take on with the community's involvement.

The land development code overhaul will replace the current code that hasn't been changed in over 30 years, Adler said.

The city's invested about $5 million into this CodeNext overhaul.

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