CodeNEXT draft, Austin ISD facilities plan update & other things for Northwest Austinites to know this week, Jan. 30- Feb. 5

Twenty-two elementary schools in Austin ISD will benefit from a state grant funding mental health services.

Twenty-two elementary schools in Austin ISD will benefit from a state grant funding mental health services.

Here is some news to know this week if you live in or around Northwest Austin.

1. Austin ISD seeks feedback on facilities plan 

Austin ISD is holding community events this week to gather public comments on an update of the district's facilities master plan. One event is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday in the cafeteria at Burnet Middle School, 8401 Hathaway Drive, Austin.

AISD trustees are expected to vote March 27 on recommendations from the district's Facilities and Bond Planning Advisory Committee. The committee has already debated closing certain schools, such as Joslin Elementary and Covington Middle schools, although no decisions have been finalized.

More information on AISD's facilities master plan is available at

2. CodeNEXT draft gets first look 

The first official draft of CodeNEXT, which will eventually become Austin's new land development code, was released Monday before an open house planned for Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. at the Palmer Events Center.

An 18-member CodeNEXT Advisory Group has been working for the past three years to provide input on the new code's development. The draft's release this week is expected to be followed by the release of a visual map draft in April so the public can see exactly how the code applies to different sections and neighborhoods in the city.

Read more about the process here.

3. Property tax deadline on Tuesday 

Residential property taxes are due Tuesday, Jan. 31, in both Travis and Williamson counties. If you still need to pay, here is what you need to know.

4. Vacant seat on Round Rock ISD school board

The Round Rock ISD board of trustees continues to debate how to fill a vacancy in the board's Place 4 seat after trustee Terri Romere's resignation earlier this month.

Trustees are waiting to hear from legal counsel on whether it will be possible to call a special election in May to let voters pick a replacement. If an election not possible, the board will likely appoint someone to fill the open seat. RRISD has seven positions on its school board.

Round Rock ISD High School No. 6 A rendering of the proposed design for Round Rock ISD's sixth high school.[/caption]

5. RRISD school bond recommendation tops $500 million 

A Round Rock ISD citizen bond committee has recommended a $530.1 million bond package be put before voters in May in the form of either two or three separate ballot propositions, according to a presentation given last week to RRISD’s board of trustees.

Trustees will make the final decision on whether to call for a bond election to be held May 6 and what the bond package would include. The deadline to call an election is Feb. 17.

The committee's recommendation includes funding for a variety of projects, including RRISD's proposed sixth high school on Pearson Ranch Road in Austin and a new indoor aquatics center.

6. Tolls proposed on US 183

The board of directors for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, which is the agency behind the MoPac express lane project, voted last week to pursue funding options and assess phasing construction of a new toll project on US 183 in Northwest Austin. Options for financing would include bonds from the credit markets, federal grants and public-private partnerships.

Here are three things to know about the proposal.

Speaking of MoPac, last week CH2M, the contractor for the MoPac express lane project, announced it will subcontract the remainder of the work, citing a $66 million loss as a result of delays. However, the change is not expected to affect the timeline of the new opening date for the entire project, which has been pushed back to June, according to CH2M.

The MoPac project will add one express, or toll, lane in both directions between Parmer Lane and Cesar Chavez Street.

7. Vision Zero aims to eliminate traffic fatalities  

Austin police officers are in the middle of a two-week crack-down on violations, such as not following the hands-free cell phone law or idling in rights of way for more than 5 minutes. The police enforcement is part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate all traffic fatalities by 2025.

Additionally, pedestrian safety devices, including countdown timers and accessible audible pedestrian signals for the visually impaired, will be installed around 500 Austin intersections thanks to a $1.9 million grant the city received from the Texas Department of Transportation.

8. Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl LI, featuring a matchup between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, will be played close to home with the game scheduled to kick off at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Houston's NRG Stadium.

If you are planning to make the drive over, either to see the game or take part in some of the associated festivities, here is a guide on how to navigate Houston's roadways.