Austin City Council officially kills CodeNEXT, city manager to bring back plan by early 2019

CodNEXT was Austin's overhaul of its land-development code.

CodNEXT was Austin's overhaul of its land-development code.

CodeNEXT, the city’s controversial five-year, $8.5 million project to rewrite its land development code, was officially dropped by Austin City Council on Thursday.

Council voted unanimously to kill the project and task new City Manager Spencer Cronk with carving out a new path forward on how to update the city’s land use code. Cronk committed to bringing back a plan by early 2019.

The decision follows Mayor Steve Adler’s surprise suggestion last week that City Council should consider dropping the project that he said had become infected by hyperbole and misinformation.

The resolution passed by City Council Thursday cited “significant disruptions” to the process, which has seen a change to district representation for City Council, three city managers, several project managers and the death of John Fregonese, a lead data analyst on the project.

More recently, anti-CodeNEXT groups successfully petitioned the city to ask residents whether they wanted voting power over the implementation of the new land use code. Council is due to vote on the ballot language late Thursday night.

Council members gave their eulogies Thursday on the highly debated project that aimed to bring Austin’s outdated land use code into the 21st century and help manage the city’s unprecedented growth. District 3 Council Member Pio Renteria, directing his comments to those that long wanted to kill the project, warned the issues created by growth—increased cost and demand on land, displacement and gentrification—are not going away. Renteria called the petition “unfortunate.”

District 4 Council Member Greg Casar urged Cronk to come back as soon as possible with a plan.

“Everyday we don’t reform our land development code is a day that we fail our residents,” Casar said.

District 10 Council Member Alison Alter, one of four council members who supported the petition, said the reboot of CodeNEXT offered a chance to regain the trust of the community.

Cronk emphasized that he will not be “starting anew” and intends to build off what the community and staff have already produced.


MOST RECENT

The new 35-story building overlooks Lady Bird Lake and Shoal Creek. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Workers celebrate topping out of Austin 'sailboat building' concrete structure

Workers who contribute to the construction of the Block 185 building celebrated topping off the structure, a big milestone for the development project that began in 2019.

A system to identify at-risk Austin Police Department employees has not been effective. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Audit finds Austin police system to flag at-risk officers is failing

Austin's city auditor and police chief agree the police department's computer program to identify at-risk officers is not fulfilling its mission.

A rise in COVID-19 cases has Travis County back in stage 4. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Austin reverts to Stage 4 guidelines with rising delta variant cases

As delta variant COVID -19 cases are sending more young people to local ICUs, The Austin-Travis County Health Authority has moved the area back to guidelines that require masks indoors.

Opening day at Q2 Stadium
US men’s soccer team to visit Q2 Stadium this fall

The U.S. men's national team will host Jamaica for a FIFA World Cup qualifier game on Oct. 7.

Capital Metro is hosting a series of virtual meetings to hear feedback from the community on the latest Project Connect designs. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Capital Metro seeks community input on latest Project Connect design

Want to have your voice heard about Project Connect? Tune in to the upcoming virtual meetings.

Dozens of Austin residents spoke virtually and in person July 22 to share their thoughts on the city's proposed fiscal year 2021-22 budget. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Police funding again takes center stage in public hearing on Austin's proposed FY 2021-22 budget

Dozens of city residents calling into or appearing at City Hall on July 22 shared their thoughts about policing and the city's spending plan.

Mortgage purchase applications are down year over year, but the Austin housing market remains hot. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin housing market still hot but showing signs of slowing down

Experts say that a decrease in mortgage purchase applications points to “a reversion back to norm” in the Austin housing market.

Peter Lake (left), chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, provided an update on state regulators' electric grid redesign efforts in Austin on July 22. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Regulators: Texas electric grid prepared for potentially record-breaking demand next week; 'once-in-a-generation reforms' underway

The heads of the agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid met in Austin on July 22 to provide updates on their grid reform efforts.

Z'Tejas margarita
Where to celebrate National Tequila Day this year around Austin

From mezcal bars to frozen margarita specials, here is a list of places to celebrate National Tequila Day on July 24.

Photo of men at a restaurant
New American restaurant 1417 launches on South First, plus more openings in South Austin

The bistro comes from the team behind downtown French gastropub Hopfield's.

Project Connect's Orange Line will go beneath Lady Bird Lake in the latest design. (Rendering courtesy Project Connect)
Into the bedrock: Capital Metro plans to go below Lady Bird Lake with Orange Line tunnel

The tunnel presents a few options of where the train could emerge near South Congress.

Photo of a stack of masks
Austin Public Health says to mask up indoors, regardless of vaccination status

The Austin-Travis County community is on the "precipice" of Stage 4 pandemic risk, public health authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said.