Friends of Hyde Park Land Development Code Draft 2 Statement

Hyde Park residents want bolder, more progressive changes to be made to our neighborhood. In a single month, Friends of Hyde Park collected a physical petition that received signatures from over 400 North Hyde Park residents to show the overwhelming support for the new land development code applying to Hyde Park. However, Draft 2 makes us question the Land Development Code Rewrite leadership’s ability to implement the city council’s policy direction and create a successful land development code that Hyde Park residents support. If those on city staff in charge of this process continue to disregard votes passed by the city council, we recommend that the city council consider replacing them with new leadership or outside consultants that will implement their policy directives. Unfortunately, we saw something similar happen with CodeNEXT. The first draft was slightly better than our current code, the second draft was worse, and the third draft was so bad that the entire process needed to be scrapped. Let’s not let history repeat itself. The stakes are too high. We ask the city council to ensure the numbered issues below are fixed before moving forward with Draft 3.

In Draft 1 of Austin’s new Land Development Code Rewrite, Hyde Park was one of the only neighborhoods in Austin to be exempt from the new land development code and kept zoned under the 1984 land development code (NCCDs). Friends of Hyde Park believes maintaining two separate land development codes – one that would apply to the rest of the city and one that would apply to Hyde Park – is an unworkable and inequitable solution. However, there were some minor improvements to our neighborhood in Draft 1 such as allowing the new land development code to apply to small areas adjacent to major Imagine Austin Corridors like Guadalupe St and transportation priority networks like Duval St. The other improvements were allowing new parking requirement reductions and accessory dwelling unit improvements to apply to NCCDs.

After Draft 1 was released the city council voted to make many other changes to the new land development code in order to create Draft 2. Some of these changes improved Hyde Park’s zoning and some of them negativity impacted Hyde Park. Unfortunately, in Draft 2 the city staff made the decision to only implement the directives from the city council that negatively impacted Hyde Park’s zoning, while choosing to not implement the positive directives. City staff reduced the size of transition zones around transportation priority networks like Duval St. That change significantly decreased the amount of Hyde Park where the new land development code applied and reverted even more of the neighborhood back to being zoned under the 1984 land development code. While this change is an incredible disappointment and will worsen the housing crisis and transit supportive density for Hyde Park and Austin, it would not have been as detrimental if city staff would have also decided to implement the positive changes that they were directed to do by the city council.

1) Staff Failed to Remap All Multi-Family Zoned Housing In Transition Zones In Hyde Park

Even though it specifically goes against the city council’s policy direction, city staff made the decision to exempt all multi-family zoned properties within transition zones in NCCDs from the new land development code and keep them zoned under the 1984 land development code. The city council direction says “transition area mapping … should be applied to those NCCDs.” This means that Hyde Park did not receive a full transition zone while every other neighborhood in Austin had multi-family zoned properties remapped to equivalent zoning in the new land development code within their transition zones.

2) Right Zone Existing Missing Middle and Apply R1 to Match Small Lots

We are especially disappointed that city staff made the decision to not implement the very specific policy direction “to protect renters, right zone city wide existing missing middle housing, including triplexes and fourplexes.” Friends of Hyde Park was not able to find anywhere in the city where this policy direction was applied and none of the existing missing middle triplexes or fourplexes in Hyde Park were right zoned to zones equivalent to the number of units that they currently have.

The staff report says “in the 2nd Reading Draft, all residential properties between 2,500 to 3,500 square feet in area received an R1 zoning designation.” However, no lots that meet this criteria in Hyde Park received this zoning.

3) Affordability Bonuses, Preservation Bonuses, and Smaller Lot Sizes in NCCDs

We are also disappointed that city staff ignored the specific policy direction from city council and made the decision to not implement affordability bonuses, preservation bonuses, and smaller lot sizes in NCCDs. The city council voted twice to apply these changes. This could easily be implemented by simply adding a one line footnote in the new land development code, which is how city staff implemented parking reductions and accessory dwelling unit changes to NCCDs under Draft 1. There’s no excuse to exempt Hyde Park from affordable housing requirements.

4) “Consider” Missing Middle on Corner Lots, Parks, and Schools

While the amendment was phrased for city staff to “consider” adding missing middle on corner lots and near parks and schools, it’s still disappointing city staff made the decision to not implement this amendment when they were quick to implement amendments that reduced housing capacity. R3 should be, at a minimum, applied to all corner lots within ½ mile of Imagine Austin Corridors and transportation priority networks city wide.

Information About Friends of Hyde Park

Friends of Hyde Park is currently the largest neighborhood association in our neighborhood with over 500 current members (approximately 50% renters and 50% homestead homeowners). Friends of Hyde Park advocates for more affordable housing and a more walkable, bikeable, inclusive, environmentally sustainable, and transit friendly neighborhood.

Board of Directors of Friends of Hyde Park

Pete Gilcrease
Thomas Ates
Matt Desloge
Teresa Griffin
Tania Oropeza
Scott Snyder