Thanks Phil, I am familiar with the zoning guide. It’s not a reaction to change, its a call for sensibility. Austin, even though it likes to stand apart, does tend to follow the older Texas viewpoint that there is plenty of land to develop. Unfortunately, that sort of sensibility leads to the laying down of cement without mindful planning, let alone upgrading infrastructure. The cost of upgrading the infrastructure falls directly at the City of Austin’s feet, and they have admitted that they are woefully behind.
From the recently released Fiscal Health Code prescription document released by the City Of Austin’s Land Development Commission.
MOST DEVELOPMENT DOES NOT PAY THE FULL COST OF IMPACT
Development fees are one-time charges to pay for all or a portion of the costs of off-site capital improvements necessitated by a new development. Many fees assessed today do not fully fund construction when the City is ready to make necessary system improvements in the future. The City must then fund any shortfall for construction….[I]nfrastructure systems such as transportation and stormwater/drainage do not have an impact fee at all.
DENSER INFILL AND REDEVELOPMENT STRAIN OLDER INFRASTRUCTURE
…Another challenge involves development built prior to the adoption of watershed protection regulations for drainage or water quality… Increased runoff in areas upstream of undersized drainage systems and low-lying structures increases pressure on older conveyance systems and contributes to the flooding problems in many areas.
From May in the Austin American-Statesman
Report: Flood fixes would cost Austin $2 billion to $4 billion
The cost of addressing flooding — both from creeks that overtop their banks and from overwhelmed drainage infrastructure, especially in older parts of the city, that can’t keep up with storm water — is estimated at $2 billion to $4 billion, said the report, which also recommended the City Council review the whole city budget before making any spending decisions.
“We recognize that the cost of making the necessary improvements will require a significant expenditure by the City for the foreseeable future,” the report said. “We also recognize the real and ongoing costs in terms of quality of life, flood damage (existing and potential), and life-safety will continue to affect the city if Austin does not have the fortitude to effectively address flood mitigation.”
Austin, which is in “flash flood alley,” saw deadly flooding in October 2013 and 2015 that destroyed dozens of homes and upended hundreds of lives.
(edited to add links, which did not hyperlink)