Take Aways from the CNA LUT CodeNEXT meeting

By Jim Reed, CNA Chair

We had an excellent meeting last week at the CNA Land, Use and Transportation meeting with speakers from both Community Not Commodity (CNC) and Evolve Austin.

A major take away for me is from CodeNEXT Draft2 to the present Draft3, the residential area of Cherrywood has been R3C to RC2, which translates to no more than two residential on a single lot, which is pretty much where we are now. This is a big shift, and it would appear Council heard our concerns. We felt the “incentive” for 3 residences on a single lot would promote a rapid rate of demolitions in the hood.

The off street parking requirement continues to be less than the current code of 2 off street parking per residence, where in Draft2/Draft3 1 off street parking per residence, and there is no change (current code or CodeNEXT) for an Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU), defined by a second living residence with smaller living square footage ~800-1100 sf, to have no off street parking requirement.

The single off street parking would promote more street parking, and there are arguments on both sides of this issue. I personally think less off street parking is necessary to promote density, but for our narrow streets in Cherrywood, I would like to see some pedestrian safety features in place for cars to pass one another safely while bikes and pedestrians use the streets as well.

I was also happy to hear about driveway setbacks would be in place to promote cars to park adjacent or behind the residence vs. parking in the front yard, which has been park of Cherrywood building requirement for some time.

There were some “alarming” numbers presented by CNC that in a comparison of “capacity to capacity” Cherrywood residences could grow by a factor of 2X, but this figure was based on sub dividing lots by total square footage and did not take into account the minimum lot width size for the division. There is also the unanswered question of current residential to current capacity difference, and to realize full capacity is never achieved in a market environment.

Lastly, there is another carrot to avoid demolitions besides the change from R3C to R2C. There is a limit to livable square footage per lot size, and if the main house is kept or remodeled with or without an increase in living space, an ADU can be included on the property “without” counting against the allowable living square footage of the property. Also, ADUs do not have to be behind the primary residence any more. They can be located behind, side, in front or “within” the primary building.

I am certain I am missing a lot, but these were some important take always for me. In short, Draft3 looks much more palatable and some of our key concerns were taking into consideration. We will announce a work group informational meeting in April, and look for in depth coverage in May’s edition of the Flea.

Jennifer Potter-Miller

About Jennifer Potter-Miller

Chair, Friends of Patterson Park, Social Media Chair, Maplewood Elementary School PTA, and Content Editor, Flea newsletter

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