The T6 Transect is the highest-activity, highest-intensity transect described in the draft form-based code. If Austin is to create physical and economic mobility while reducing our environmental burden, it is essential that our code for walkable high-activity zones is well executed. This must include not only a vision for an “end goal” of developed land but a process for continuous incremental redevelopment.
|Allowed Form||Min. Lot Dims||Min Lot Size||Ground||Upper Floor||Max u/ac||Max Stories||Max Sq. Footage||Max u/ac||Max FAR||Impervious Cvr||Building Cvr|
The T6 transect sets lofty and admirable goals for supporting economic and civic activity with walking, biking, and public transportation as primary means of getting around. Some of the code needs updates in order for outcomes to achieve these goals. While every recommendation listed below has the possibility to be make or break development on particular sites, the recommendations which will have the most district-wide importance are those that change the tide from discouraging to encouraging incremental development, including buildings on smaller lots.
|Remove all minimum lot widths. Narrow lots promote walkability; if construction constraints allow tall buildings on narrow lots, code should not restrict it. Allowing construction on existing narrow lots allows for greater incremental development.||4D2-103/4, 4D2-111/2|
|Remove restriction on floorplates larger than floorplate below; this technique is useful in constructing buildings with visual interest, access to open-air decks, and many other purposes.||4D2-104, 4D2-112|
|Eliminate intermediate tier of stepbacks and floorplate maxima, which eliminates valuable sidewalk shade and creates awkward 3-floor stepback tier. Change floor 9+ stepback and height maxima to same numbers as floor 6-8 in current draft.||4D2-104/5,
|Eliminate 30,000 sf cap on high-rise area. Needless restriction on Austin’s jobs capacity.||4D2-104,
|Clarify ground-floor finish level. If 18” residential minimum doesn’t apply to multi-family, where does it apply? There are no non-MF residential types in these zones.||4D2-105,
|Replace unclear “floor-to-ceiling” wording with “floor-to-floor” or “floor-to-structure”.||4D2-105,
|Reduce ground-floor height to 9’ except in T6U-R. Additional floor height cost-prohibitive for economically diverse residential construction.||4D2-105,
|Eliminate open space requirement. This runs counter to the goals of this transect by encouraging residents to use private building common space rather than public urban common space, such as parks, restaurants, public plazas. It also adds prohibitive expense to all but luxury residential construction, eliminating the possibility of economic diversity.||4D2-108,
|Change “Group Home: 7 to 15 Residents” to P from CUP.||4D2-109,
|Allow the following building types in T6U and T6U-C: Main St, Low-Rise, and Rowhouse. Smaller buildings do not detract from larger ones. Allowing smaller building types allow density to grow incrementally as it becomes economically viable. This gives more flexibility for mapping to be imperfect instead of omniscient about trends in viability.||4D2-104,