The zoning change process in Austin, Texas

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Blunt, John Wallace

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The purpose of this report is to analyze the zoning change process in Austin, Texas. The report examines Austin's type of city government followed by an overview of zoning in the United States and Austin. The report chronicles the evolution of the Austin Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan and the Neighborhood Planning Area during the time period 1979-1997. Since 1997, zoning change protocol has become intertwined with neighborhood planning such that both must be discussed in detail. The extreme real estate cycles from 1982 to the present are also discussed. Economic conditions played a key role in the slow enactment of neighborhood planning in Austin. The report examines the jurisdictional boundaries of Austin and the governmental bodies charged with hearing zoning cases. After discussing the motivations of the market participants seeking zoning changes, the report analyzes four case studies to illustrate the basic types of zoning cases today. Finally, the report draws conclusions and offers suggestions for improving the efficiency and fairness of the zoning change process in Austin, Texas.



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