Hyde Park residents overwhelmingly voted to oppose Proposition J in the November 2018 election with about 63% of Hyde Park residents voting against it. Prop J was devised as a way to prevent a new land development code in Austin by requiring voter approval for any “comprehensive revision” of a land development code. This would have made it more difficult, if not impossible, for Hyde Park to achieve all of the goals of Friends of Hyde Park, which advocates for more affordable housing and a more walkable, bikeable, inclusive, environmentally sustainable, and transit friendly neighborhood.
According to the Austin Monitor, “Prop J was largely the project of Central Austin neighborhood associations” and “fared poorly throughout most of the urban core” in neighborhoods like Hyde Park. “The proposition drew its greatest support from suburban areas” and “residents of areas that are not within city limits.” Without suburban voters and voters outside of the city of Austin, Prop J would have failed by an even larger margin. The results of Prop J show that residents within the urban core and Hyde Park support a new land development code and may show what many suspected – that traditional neighborhood associations do not represent the majority of those in their neighborhoods.
This is not new information to Hyde Park residents. In one of the largest stakeholder processes in Hyde Park’s history, Hyde Park residents voted (78% out of 91 total voters) overwhelmingly to support a new land development code to replace the existing land development code in Hyde Park, which can not be accomplished without eliminating the NCCD overlays that control zoning in the neighborhood. The vote was held through our neighborhood association, Friends of Hyde Park. The resolution calls for allowing missing middle housing in the interior of the neighborhood such as garage apartments, smaller homes on smaller lots, townhouses, bungalow courts, triplexes, and fourplexes. Friends of Hyde Park also overwhelmingly voted (70% out of 136 total voters) in favor of allowing new walkable amenities like restaurants and businesses along roads in our neighborhood like 45th St and also voted to reduce neighborhood business and restaurant parking requirements (90% out of 101 total voters). These are the types of changes that a new land development code should allow and Hyde Park residents support – more housing on the interior of the neighborhood and more housing and businesses along major roads and corridors.
One of the first steps in developing future changes to Austin’s land development code should be the elimination of NCCDs (Neighborhood Conservation Combining Districts), which is recommended by Austin’s Development Services Department staff. Hyde Park has one of the most complicated and restrictive zoning codes in all of Austin because our neighborhood is one of the few that has an NCCD zoning overlay (NCCDs cover approximately 926 acres of central Austin), which was designed to restrict housing and amenities. An NCCD overlay is essentially a PUD (Planned Unit Development), which means that any zoning regulation specified in an NCCD overrides the city land development code (read more about what NCCDs are and why they are bad for Hyde Park and Austin here). For example, the NCCDs are the reasons why the ADU (garage apartments/granny flats) ordinance that legalized ADUs on smaller lots city wide doesn’t apply to Hyde Park since the NCCDs specify ADUs are banned on lots under 7,000 sqft. Even though the city council specifically voted to apply the new ADU rules to Hyde Park, the NCCDs were mistakenly not amended as part of the ordinance. This mistake means that ADUs and duplexes on lots under 7,000 sqft are still banned in our neighborhood and shows how hard NCCDs are to understand and administer for city staff and residents, which are some of the reasons why Austin’s Development Services Department staff recommends eliminating NCCDs. Unless the Hyde Park NCCDs are eliminated, even if a new land development code is adopted in Austin, Hyde Park’s zoning will remain unchanged and exempt from any progressive changes.
Information About Friends of Hyde Park
Friends of Hyde Park is currently the largest neighborhood association in our neighborhood with 423 current members (approximately 50% renters and 50% homestead homeowners).
Sign up for free to become a member at the link below to help us improve our neighborhood and community: http://friendsofhydepark.atxfriends.org/join/
Board of Directors of Friends of Hyde Park