As many of you are aware, the City of Austin has embarked on a comprehensive revision of its Land Development Code, now branded "Code Next". This revision emerged as one of the priorities from the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan.
The City has hired a team of consultants lead by Opticos Design to lead the rewrite. I'm one of eleven members of the Citizens Advisory Group. We're just beginning the initial stage, the gathering of public input.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week there will be three "listening sessions." I've reprinted the City's promotional flyer below. Consultants, city staff and Advisory Group members will be attending all three. The purpose of the sessions is partly to educate the public (here's what the LDC does, here are some problems it can fix, here are some problems it can't) and partly to educate the consultants. The City and staff want to hear from the public what they like and don't like about the current code.
The first 30 minutes or so will be devoted to a presentation by the consultants and City staff on the LDC process, a basic overview of the LDC, and some of the tools that will be used by the consultant. Afterward, the audience will break out into small table groups for discussion. The City will provide facilitators to facilitate the conversations and scribes to write down what people are saying.
Attendees will be asked basic questions, like What do you like? Why? What do you not like? Why? What do you think are the most important issues the LDC rewrite process should address?
Anyone who seriously cares about land development in Austin ought to attend one of these. If you do, you should come prepared with specific examples of things you like and don't like. General complaints about "traffic" or "rich developers from Dallas" are hard to build a code around. You'll provide more productive input if come prepared to identify specific kinds places that you like that, for some reason, don't seem to get built anymore. Or specific kinds of development that you don't like. Be prepared to be very specific about what you do or don't like.
If you're most pressing complaint is the high cost of housing is central Austin, bring your ideas. Remember that suggestions like, "We should approve more housing bonds" or "we should discourage people from moving here" aren't, strictly speaking, LDC issues.