Imagine Austin Annual Report      September 2019

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Revise Regulations

Revise Austin’s Development Regulations and Processes to Promote a Compact and Connected City


Imagine Austin directs us to revise the Land Development Code, which determines how land can be used throughout the city – including what can be built, where it can be built, and how much can (and cannot) be built. The City’s Land Development Code needs to be changed to help us create the kinds of places we want, and to address critical issues such as diminishing natural resources, household affordability, and access to healthy lifestyles – to name a few.  This priority program aims to revise Austin's development regulations and processes to promote a compact and connected city as well as to better align with Imagine Austin.

For information about the current land development code revision, visit



Program Champions:

Annick Beaudet,

Brent Lloyd

Departments: Planning and Zoning, Development Services, Watershed Protection, Parks and Recreation, Neighborhood Housing & Community Development 

New Information and Direction

After CodeNEXT, the City Council directed the City Manager to offer a new process leading to a Land Development Code that achieves the goals set out in the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, the Strategic Housing Blueprint, the Watershed Protection Master Plan, the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan, and the Austin Strategic Direction 2023.

With the recent adoption of Austin Strategic Mobility Plan (ASMP), Austin has a rare opportunity to holistically integrate transportation planning with land use planning. Essentially, updating the Land Development Code with the ASMP in mind will allow us to more effectively manage traffic congestion and impact affordability.

In developing a new process, the City Manager asked Council five policy questions that drive the content of the Land Development Code. The Council provided its policy direction and further directed staff to:

  • Create a new land development code and zoning map concurrently

  • Plan for approximately 400,000 units over the next 10 years as a means of achieving the 135,000 unit goal established by the Strategic Housing Blue Print

  • Encourage smaller scale, multi-family housing to address Austin’s missing middle housing types

  • Reduce minimum parking requirements

  • Provide a clear public process for Austinites, including timelines and opportunities for public input, and how their input has been received and used

  • Provide the draft code text and zoning map for Council action in October of 2019


The City Manager has assembled a broad-based and cross-functional team that will collaboratively share in the responsibility of drafting a revised code. The team is hard at work reviewing previous CodeNEXT feedback for alignment with Council direction and drafting code language. We are taking a different approach to this effort. Inspired by Strategic Direction 2023, equity and affordability (for all) serve as the anchoring values driving our work every day.

Different Approach



As a fast-growing city whose population is projected to nearly double over the next three decades, we must plan for the residents who live here now and for many new Austinites to come while remaining affordable and accessible to all.