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A Reminder – What’s This All About? CodeNEXT is the City of Austin’s marketing term for the
process to totally rewrite the zoning and land use regulations governing development in our
neighborhood, around our neighborhood, and across our city.
CodeNEXT’s mission is to redevelop most single-family neighborhoods within the urban core. With
neighborhood redevelopment comes higher land prices, rents, and property taxes, and the less
affluent are forced to move. Parked cars crowd streets, and bigger buildings displace yards and
trees. Neighborhood character changes. Current owners and renters are forced out.
Hancock Faces Rezoning. Under CodeNEXT, the core neighborhoods, like Hancock, would be
rezoned. The zone would go from SF-3 to subzone “R2C”. Under the current draft, R2C allows the
division of standard 50’ lot and the construction of four units – one “Single-family Attached”
building, with one unit on each side, plus two accessory dwelling units. That is twice the density
allowed today. After this was pointed out, City Staff has indicated they will recommend to Council
that R2C zones be changed to require 10,000 sq. ft for four units. Our opponents will be urging
Council not only to keep it as written, but also to put more density – more housing – in Hancock.
Commercial Uses in Residential Zones Would Be Expanded. CodeNEXT’s “Home Occupation”
use category would allow Hancock homes to be used as a business if one employee, not necessarily
the homeowner, lives on site; it allows retail sales of merchandise between 9 AM and 5 PM, and an
administratively given Minor Use Permit (MUP) would allow up to 3 additional workers in the
house. Signs (3’ x 12’) are allowed on property; there is no limitation on vehicular traffic or
advertising the business across Internet platforms. There is no on-site parking requirement.
Cooperative Housing. “Cooperative Housing” would be allowed in current single-family
neighborhoods like Hancock. Cooperative housing is defined by the draft Code as a residential
project of three or more units in which an undivided interest in land is coupled with the exclusive
right of occupancy of any unit located on the land, whether the right is contained in the form of a
written or oral agreement, when the right does not appear on the face of the deed. It does not
include Group Residential, and it requires a Conditional Use Permit in R2C zones. Although the
definition is for three or more units, it would be allowed with a conditional use permit (CUP) in
zones limited to two units. It is hard to conceive such a “co-op” not violating the occupancy limits,
described below.
Less Parking. On-site parking requirements would be dramatically reduced. For a house with an
accessory dwelling unit (ADU), parking standards are cut to 1 space (total); for a duplex, parking
standards are cut to 1 space per side. For commercial uses, parking requirements would be
eliminated in some cases or substantially reduced (20% to 50% or more) in others, even around
In doing so, the City ignored the resolution of a unanimous Austin School Board for full on-site
parking around neighborhood schools to lessen street congestion, promote student safety and
allow parking for parents. These parking rules are specifically designed to congest the streets,
frustrate drivers and coerce people not to drive. If that works at all, it will only work after
neighborhood streets are parked to capacity.


Losing Your Rights to Protest. CodeNEXT has taken away many of our rights of protest, requiring
in many zoning districts only a conditional use permit (CUP) or an administrative minor use permit
(MUP) for an array of land uses that today need a zoning change. The removal of many hard-foughtfor-rights held today by neighborhoods might be the most threatening long-term impact of
Today, before a property can be rezoned, nearby property owners have the right to receive notice
and an opportunity to be heard on that specific case before the City Council. If the owners of 20% of
the property within 200 feet of the subject tract object to the proposed rezoning through a petition,
the application requires a super-majority vote of the City Council for passage. This provision
originates with State law and is intended to assure that a proposed rezoning, to which objection is
made, is clearly in the public interest.
CodeNEXT reduces neighbors’ rights to file a petition with the Council in opposition to zoning
changes. The City has also taken the position that citizens have no petition rights in connection with
the adoption of CodeNEXT, even though CodeNEXT represents an extensive rezoning of thousands
of properties across the City.
Occupancy Rules Can Be Interpreted to Revive Dorm Duplexes. CodeNEXT would change the
current rule for houses permitted after March 31, 2014 in neighborhoods like Hancock from 4
unrelated adults per site to 4 per structure. The Director of Planning has said that there is no intent
to change the current rule for duplexes, which is 4 unrelated adults per site; however, the language
in the current draft – unless changed – can be construed to mean 6 per building. A new and
troubling addition is that a Conditional Use permit (CUP) may allow more unrelated occupants.
Despite requiring Council approval, a CUP could allow City Hall insiders to get around occupancy
rules in cases where they overbuilt in anticipation of operating a stealth dorm.
Properties Currently Zoned SF-2 Have an Uncertain Future. Hancock neighborhood has a
number of properties currently zoned SF-2 which have certain development protections different
from SF-3 zones. Under CodeNEXT these properties are renamed as F25, “F” standing for “former”
in reference to Chapter 25 of the current code. It is sometimes called “legacy zoning”. While some
people consider F25 or legacy current zoning to be protective of neighborhoods such as Hyde Park,
the City has announced its intention to rezone F25 properties over time to current zones
established in CodeNEXT.
Other issues. Many other issues raised by CodeNEXT, such as nonconforming lots and missing
forecasts of impacts on displacement, infrastructure, flooding, tree canopy, and historic
preservation, are not addressed in this paper. Many other people and organizations are studying
them, but space does not allow this paper to address them.
The Big Picture For Austin. The full impact CodeNEXT will have on the City, neighborhoods, and
residents is not easily discovered in the accelerated time frame the City has created for its passage.
But we know enough to say that this is a fundamentally flawed document born of a
fundamentally flawed process and a flawed planning paradigm.
Links to the Map and Draft Code can be found at
Go to for more information.