Land Development Code Update
Save Barton Creek Association’s persistent advocacy throughout the multi-year land development code process is paying off. With every draft of the land development code, we accomplish more of our water and environmental goals. Some of the improvements in the latest draft that came out on Friday, were items that we were previously told were not possible. This gives us hope that the few remaining items that we continue to ask for may also be incorporated.
Some highlights from the latest draft include:
The City has finally taken actions to prevent lot-to-lot flooding! These include requiring developments greater than 50% or 5,000 sq feet of impervious cover (including transition areas) to submit a drainage plan by a licensed professional that shows that neighboring lots will not be flooded. The development permitting process will also now include a provision that says that the development can not flood neighboring properties and is responsible for any lot-to-lot flooding that should occur. This seems like common sense but took a LOT of advocacy to get included!
Approximately 300 lots were removed from upzoning/transition areas after an analysis done on localized flood problem areas. We had been asking that flood prone areas be exempted from upzoning for several rounds of code. Once again, common sense prevails! If you are in a flood-prone area and are upzoned in the current map, you might consider reaching out to your local council member and also calling 311 to report your lot as one that has experienced flooding.
While imperfect, things are looking better for trees. Penalties for illegally removing trees are included in the code for the first time. Also, the administrative variance that was proposed along corridors to remove heritage trees has at least been limited in a couple of ways: to properties that are 50% residential and 10% affordable and only along core transit corridors, not all corridors. To be clear, we believe in a public process, not administrative process for any heritage tree removal.
Thank you to the City Council members that were very responsive to our latest group letter and advocacy on the code. They passed direction to City staff that led to the above improvements. They also passed direction on issues that have not yet been incorporated but that we will continue to ask for– These include on-site water retention/infiltration, green streets, and a new conservation subdivision code. We also of course continue to keep an eye on Save Our Springs Ordinance language to prevent any changes/ threats to the SOS ordinance and zoning issues over the aquifer.
City Council offices are currently working on their amendments to the latest draft and will be meeting on the code again next Tuesday through Thursday (11th-13th). Citizens may come speak at those meetings. Feel free to come speak about making sure our new code brings us into our sustainable and resilient future.
SBCA will continue to work with allied organizations to protect our water quality, prevent flooding, and improve our City’s ecological performance until this code process is over.