Council begins review of land development code rewrite

City council is beginning the process of overhauling Austin's land development code.

Kendra Garrett with the Austin Justice Coalition says Austinites should care about the changes as it determines how development in Austin is planned going forward.

“You should care because this is the foundation of how your city is planned from housing to community development to where the private and public sector locate things. It is where your schools are located, and your grocery stores,” said Garrett.

She says a rapidly growing city like Austin needs to have this overhaul because segregation has for years gone hand in hand with land development in the city.

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“Thinking about the 1928 masterplan and how the city was laid out, thinking about the creation of the negro district on the east side, that started how land development has happened in Austin,” she said.

“In May we gave policy direction to staff, telling them all the things important to all of us and they came back to us with a draft in, I believe early October. So now we are having the discussion about first reading, this is another draft,” said Delia Garza, mayor pro tem and council member for District 2.

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Highlights from the city staff's recommendations include more housing density, housing diversity, and affordable housing.

“It's also about equitably placing where we are going to put housing. East Austin has taken a lot of that housing so now it's about distributing equitably where we can put more housing,” said Garza.

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Garrett and many of her community members are concerned about further gentrification. They want whatever the city decides, for it to be done equitably.

“In some areas, we were allowing more units in those transition zones so we were not allowing as many units in the areas that are vulnerable to displacement,” said Garza.

Council will still have two more readings of the code after this week's vote. A vote is expected Wednesday at City Hall.

WATCH BELOW: Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza discusses the revisions with Marcel Clarke