AUSTIN — On Election Day 2018, voters decided to fail Proposition J, which would have required the adoption of a new ordinance that could have created a waiting period and voter approval period before future revisions to the City of Austin’s land development code can become effective.
The ordinance in Proposition J was initially sparked by the controversial CodeNEXT, the comprehensive re-write of the city's land development code.
On the ballot, Prop J stated: Shall a City ordinance be adopted to require both a waiting period and subsequent voter approval period, a total of up to three years, before future comprehensive revisions of the City's land development code become effective?
CodeNEXT is the re-write of the city's land development code, a manual of sorts that dictates what and where things can be built in the city. The last time the city rewrote it was back in 1984, so past city councils started the process of re-writing it.
The version presented to the community earlier this year didn't go over too well with a lot of residents. So much so that thousands of them signed a petition, asking the city council to pass an ordinance that stated before CodeNEXT, or any other re-write, could go into effect residents would get to vote on it.
The council didn't do that, which led to a court fight. And now the ordinance was on the ballot for the people to decide if they want to weigh in or let the council handle it.
The City Council was sued over the ballot language for Props J and K. The residents suing the city, who worked to get the petitions signed, argued the language was too suggestive and misleading. A judge ruled in the council's favor, deciding their language could be used.