Complete Communities Indicators Resolution

#1

Recently, FAN member Wooten Neighborhood Association voted to urge cify officials to orient CodeNEXT (the effort to revise the land development code to promote a compact and connected city) and other city initiatives around the complete communities indicators listed in the Imagine Austin comprehensive plan. Today, @hfrankel07 sent the letter below on behalf of WNA to city council. The Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association had previously sent a similar letter.

I propose that FANs vote on whether our organization should take a similar position. Here is WNA’s letter:

The Wooten Neighborhood Association supports implementation of the Imagine Austin comprehensive plan, and we recognize and welcome the important role our neighborhood can play in achieving the plan’s goals. We urge officials and stakeholders ­ City Council, Planning Commission, City staff, CodeNEXT Advisory Group members, and members of the public ­ to orient their conversations and implementation decisions around the plan’s complete communities indicators.

The plan defines a vision of a city of complete communities that are livable, natural and sustainable, mobile and interconnected, creative, educated, prosperous, and that value and respect people. These qualities of complete communities represent the goals of the plan. The plan (pages 225­-226) includes 58 indicators that “measure success in achieving plan goals.” If we are to move forward constructively in achieving the goals of Imagine Austin, we must begin measuring these indicators, and our community must base its decisions on what will move these indicators in the right direction.

Furthermore, the City has access to a tool called “Envision Tomorrow”. Staff can use this tool to model, for example, the effects of different zoning regulations on measures of household affordability, mobility, and sustainable use of natural resources.

Please direct City staff to measure these indicators and provide stakeholders with the estimated impacts of Imagine Austin implementation proposals, including the projected impacts of land development code revisions. Please also require stakeholders responsible for CodeNEXT and implementing the plan to use these indicators to guide their decisions.

Thoughts?

3 Likes

What Makes a Neighborhood Liveable?
Time to weigh in on The Grove?
#2

Let me add a little context to this proposal.

The CodeNEXT process is not going well. Those of you who have ever attended a CodeNEXT Advisory Group meeting probably know how painful it can be to listen to all of the unfocused conversations. And the process has taken much longer than originally envisioned.

Imagine Austin’s priority program #8 “birthed” the CodeNEXT effort, and CodeNEXT is the piece of Imagine Austin implementation pertaining to the land development code.

Unfortunately, much of the painful, unfocused conversations that take place in CodeNEXT Advisory Group meetings and elsewhere are due to people either ignoring Imagine Austin or wanting a “do-over” on it.

We need to get CodeNEXT back on track by tying it back to the goals of Imagine Austin. The complete communities indicators define these goals in quantifiable terms.

Let’s re-anchor CodeNEXT by urging city officials and the CodeNEXT Advisory Group to orient their conversations and implementation decisions around the metrics that quantify the goals of Imagine Austin.

3 Likes

#3

If you have a “plan”, and “metrics” in the plan to evaluate success against it, then you have to measure and report. Otherwise what is the point? It might as well be a “white paper”.

Thank you @rcauvin for your leadership in initiating this important effort. I’d ask that you consider provisional wording for this resolution, such that if both this and the Grove resolutions pass, then the Grove be recommended as an early adopter for measuring success against complete communities indicators. Just a thought along the line of specific targets do matter…

1 Like

#4

Here is my proposed letter to City Council from FAN (if a supermajority of members votes to send it):

Friends of Austin Neighborhoods urges you to guide the CodeNEXT process and Imagine Austin implementation decisions using the plan’s complete communities indicators, and we request that you provide the funding for staff positions and training necessary to apply this approach.

The Imagine Austin comprehensive plan defines a vision of a city of complete communities that are livable, natural and sustainable, mobile and interconnected, creative, educated, prosperous, and that value and respect people. These qualities of complete communities represent the goals of the plan. The plan (pages 225-226) includes 58 indicators that “measure success in achieving plan goals.”

If we are to move forward constructively in achieving the goals of Imagine Austin, we must begin measuring these indicators, and our community must base its decisions on what will move these indicators in the right direction.

The City has access to “Envision Tomorrow” and other tools that staff can use to quantify and predict, for example, the effects of different land development code regulations on measures of household affordability, mobility, and sustainable use of natural resources.

Please direct City staff to provide stakeholders, in advance, with the estimated impacts of Imagine Austin implementation proposals, including the projected impacts of land development code revisions. Please also fund the training and positions that staff needs to produce these estimates.

Here is the proposed letter on FAN letterhead.

0 Likes

#5

With the exit of the Asst Dir of Planning & Zoning, and a continued showing of a lack of strong and tenured leadership for CodeNext within that department, the process and metrics for success should be defaulted to data driven leadership.

I support the wording of this resolution, both from Wooten and as edited to reflect the support of FAN.

We have to remind the city that they set goalposts (Imagine Austin) for a reason, and that they should be keeping an accurate and consistent score (Indicators) instead of constantly changing those goal posts and scoring metrics based on citizens who derail the professional efforts of the Planning Dept. By no means do I think Austinites don’t have a voice in this process, but if staffing can’t even be kept on target, I doubt an uneducated public is the best stand-in.

1 Like

#6

The Meetup Organizers for Imagine Austin are looking for the topics of interest to their audience. I’d suggest voting for Complete Communities topic in this poll along with any other picks:

Imagine Austin

Austin, TX
429 Imagineers

As we pursue the community vision and goals of Imagine Austin for a more vibrant, livable, connected city, how can we best navigate inescapable change in our city (and the wor...

Check out this Meetup Group →

I’ll add this link without the web formatting since some people are having problems getting through to the poll:https://www.meetup.com/Imagine-Austin/polls/1233898/

2 Likes