Resolution supporting CodeNEXT reviewed by Austin ISD trustees

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Through the adoption of a resolution supporting CodeNEXT, the district hopes to reinforce its need for more flexible zoning to support affordable, family-friendly housing for its students.

CodeNEXT is the city of Austin’s rewrite of its land-development code and will determine how land can be used throughout the city. Its approval would support AISD’s diverse student population—more than half of whom are classified as economically disadvantaged—by allowing a variety of affordable housing types, the district said.

Susan Moffat, the district’s appointee to the CodeNEXT advisory group, said the tools usually available to provide affordable housing, such as linkage fees, or fees charged to developers to fund affordable housing, and rent control, have been prohibited by the Texas Legislature. Therefore she finds it imperative her group continues to endorse development incentives that encourage affordable housing, including increased dense developments, extra floor-to-area ratio, reduced setbacks and more.

“For years, people have been hanging their hopes and dreams on CodeNEXT,” she said. “But there are some things it cannot deliver on, and one of them is deeply affordable housing for families, students and staff. My goal is to make sure we [the district]don’t give away the bargaining chips the city does have to gain affordable housing.”

The resolution discussed by trustees tonight supports:

  • Encouraging the preservation of older market-affordable single-family homes, duplexes and multi-unit housing types.
  • Increasing opportunities for “house-scaled” residential zones that provide for building types which demonstrate a higher yield of students, such as duplexes, townhouses and single-family homes.
  • Increasing opportunities for accessory dwelling units in a variety of residential zones that may result in additional income for families or provide affordable housing for educators and district staff members.
  • Expanding the city’s density bonus program to include nonresidential properties and use the proceeds to create permanently affordable family-friendly housing.

Draft three of CodeNEXT is slated for release Nov. 28. In February the adoption process will begin. The district’s CodeNEXT resolution is expected to be voted on by trustees at the Nov. 27 board meeting.

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