Please see the attached and below for discussion.
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Friends of Austin Neighborhoods recommends eliminating Neighborhood Conservation Combining Districts (NCCDs) during the Land Development Code Revision and to rezone neighborhoods zoned with NCCDs under the current land development code to equivalent zoning under the new land development code.
- The Austin City Council’s Initial Recommendations Can Not Be Applied To NCCDs
- The initial recommendation from the Austin City Council for the new land development code for neighborhoods with NCCDs was to rezone transition zones to the new zoning code, but keep the interior of the neighborhoods zoned under the 1984 land development code (NCCDs) with some amendments. City staff was not able to implement most of the city council’s recommendations. Transition zones were only implemented in some of the transition area, and affordable housing bonuses, preservation bonuses, and smaller lots could not be applied to NCCDs. These neighborhoods should not be exempt from affordable housing requirements. If the initial recommendations for NCCDs are unworkable, then neighborhoods with NCCDs should be rezoned to the new zoning code.
- NCCDs Are Exempt From New Environmental and Flood Protections
- Since NCCDs retain the current 1984 land development code they would be exempt from all new protections in the new code such as new environmental protections like green stormwater infrastructure to improve water quality and new stormwater management to reduce flooding risk. These new protections are outlined in a blog post on the City of Austin’s website.
- NCCDs Prevent Affordable Housing
- Affordability Unlocked will not fully apply to neighborhoods like Hyde Park that have NCCDs, which may make affordable housing using this tool impossible or very unlikely. The revised site plan process for Affordability Unlocked is only available in the new draft land development code. Without completely rewriting the 1984 land development code this will not be an option for NCCDs. These neighborhoods should be rezoned to the new land development code in order to allow affordable housing as an option.
- The UT report, Uprooted: Residential Displacement in Austin’s Gentrifying Neighborhoods, and What Can Be Done About It, says Neighborhood Stabilization Overlays like NCCDs “limit citywide supply of housing and exacerbate accelerating housing prices” and “can make it more difficult to build new rent-restricted affordable housing.”
- NCCDs May Cause Gentrification
- According to the Obama White House Housing Development Toolkit on land use regulations, “when new housing development is limited region-wide, and particularly precluded in neighborhoods with political capital to implement even stricter local barriers, the new housing that does get built tends to be disproportionately concentrated in low-income communities of color, causing displacement and concerns of gentrification in those neighborhoods. Rising rents region-wide can exacerbate that displacement.”
- Keeping NCCDs Maintains Two Separate Land Development Codes in Austin
- The City of Austin would have to carry over and maintain the current 1984 land development code in order to keep NCCDs after the passage of a new land development code, meaning the City of Austin would be maintaining and operating under two completely different land development codes at the same time.
- This complicates the land development code for property owners and for the Development Services Department, which will have to maintain and train additional staff on two different land development codes.
- The Development Services Department Recommends Eliminating NCCDs
- The Development Services Department “has always” recommended eliminating NCCDs
- The land development code draft states that the “city’s preferred policy is to” eliminate NCCDs.