Austin City Council prepares for second vote on controversial land development rewrite

The Austin City Council is in the middle of overhauling the city's land development code. It hasn't been rewritten in three decades and Austin most certainly has changed a lot since then.

"We believe as a council we need more options for people in terms of the sizes of places that they live and the types of houses that they live in," said Ann Kitchen, District 5.

This code determines what can be built and where. Council already passed a first reading of it and have now made some revisions that will go up for a vote. 

"One of the big differences between first reading and second reading was the pulling back on transition zones in vulnerable areas of the city," said Kitchen.

"Transition zones are areas where builders are able to add multiple units possibly intensifying displacement," says Kendra Garrett with the Austin Justice Coalition.

"Particularly in East Austin the land is cheaper and there's a focus on redevelopment in those areas. By minimizing transition zones, it helps kind of pull off the displacement pressures," said Garrett.

Garrett said this second draft is a big improvement from the first. What she wants to see next from the city, is a concern for renters’ rights.

"Austin is a majority renter city. Homeowners tend to have more rights. We want to make sure those renters are protected citywide as well,” said Garrett.

Kitchen said the goal is to create more missing middle housing, "Duplexes for example, or triplexes or what they call cottage courts which is a number of units around the center. The issues we have right now are not about whether to have a missing middle, it's concerns about how they're mapped," she said.

Members of the public came out Tuesday and Wednesday to the council meetings to listen in on discussions.

Kitchen told Fox 7 adopting this new code has been a swift process, but she wants to listen to her constituents.

"They believe in more density and that they can take more units, they want to do that. But they don't think they are being heard on where and how it makes sense in the part of the city they live in," said Kitchen.

The vote on the second draft is expected to take place on Febraury 13.