It is incredible to think that anyone in Austin wouldn't take flooding seriously. And yet there is one group that would like to pretend that Austin is still not at risk of flooding--the Land Code Advisory Group.
The Land Code Advisory Group has been tasked with cleaning up Austin's antiquated and fragmented Land Code. Unfortunately, instead of thoughtfully and carefully finding ways to change our code to better address the problems Austin faces with Central Texas' cycles of drought, wildfire, floods, and tornadoes--they would like to pretend these threats do not exist.
For example, It was only after much pressure from citizen groups that the LCAG caved and grudgingly began talking about green infrastructure. (see: What Is Green Infrastructure) Green infrastructure is a valuable tool to help with flooding, and yet the LCAG wasn't even interested in discussing it.
In January, Love North Austin urged the new City Council to have the LCAG take flooding and wildfire serious and include flooding and wildfire overlays. (See Number 5 on the Top 10 List) Its another set of tools that would allow the City to ensure areas with wildfire and/or flooding risks have appropriate code needs (like better egress for evacuation) without bogging down the code on properties that don't have these needs.
Recently, the Austin Neighborhood Council also asked for these same overlays, as well as more resources for flood mitigation. (See: Flood Mitigation Resolution) . The LCAG, however, continues to remain silent on this issue.
As we deal with historic flooding this week, Love North Austin is asking everybody to pitch in and help our friends and neighbors who have been affected by the floods--but we are also asking people to start asking questions.
Why is LCAG not talking about flooding and wildfire overlays?
Why is LCAG so reluctant to include green infrastructure in the new Code?
And when will the new City Council take flooding and wildfire risks seriously and insist the LCAG does the same?
As badly as we need a new building code in Austin, we do not need a new building code that doesn't address and help to mitigate our city's flooding and wildfire risks.