Lubbock’s Unified Development Code impacting ‘every aspect of the city’ remains under review

The Planning and Zoning Commission declined to advance its recommendations regarding the Unified Development Code to the Lubbock City Council on Monday
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 8:43 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 4, 2023 at 10:15 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Planning and Zoning Commission declined to advance its recommendations regarding the Unified Development Code to the Lubbock City Council on Monday when it gathered for a special meeting about the document. Councilwoman Latrelle Joy said it was the right decision to take more time to review the code.

“When you ask a commission member to vote, they need to be knowledgeable and they need to feel like they are knowledgeable and know what they’re voting on,” Joy said. “They expressed several times they were not comfortable with doing that.”

Joy, who represents District 6, was appointed by then-Mayor Dan Pope to the council subcommittee to work on the Unified Development Code when the effort began in May of 2019. The document consolidating updated development rules and regulations has still not been approved. It garnered much opposition at a public hearing on March 22, which sent it back to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

“I don’t see any reason to limit the time,” Joy said. “I think we need to continue to work on it. If you will recall at the public hearing, I think every speaker there expressed the same concern, that it’s not ready. We need to listen to that.”

Top concerns from citizens have been about industrial zoning and sites in North and East Lubbock, a desire to establish an amortization clause, and billboard regulations. A group of developers also presented their proposed amendments to the UDC. A list of more than 40 amendments was given to commissioners at its April 3 meeting.

“I know we don’t want to drag this out any longer than we have to,” Commission member Susan Tomlinson said. “We’re all tired of it but that’s my job as I see it. I want more time to read it.”

The Commission set April 13 at 8:30 a.m. for another special meeting about the UDC, giving them more time to review amendments proposed by the developers and consider other citizen comments as well as amendments recommended by city staff.

“We need to listen to the public,” Joy said. “When I talk about public, I’m not talking about the special interest groups. I’m talking about somebody who is out in the community, keeps up but doesn’t come down to Citizens Tower all the time. But, they all have an interest.”

Joy told KCBD that public input remains “extremely important” in this process.

“Every inch of the city of Lubbock is impacted by the UDC,” Joy said. “In addition, remember, there’s a zoning map that also has to be approved and I don’t think anybody’s even gotten around to talking about the zoning map in any of the meetings that I’ve been to.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission will vote to recommend a final draft to send to the Lubbock City Council, which will have the final say on the UDC. It was expected the final vote from the council would be on April 11, but that will not happen.

A contract with Kendig Keast Collaborative, a consultant hired by the City of Lubbock for the UDC, expires at the end of April. The City of Lubbock has paid $714,335 to Kendig Keast, so far.

Councilwoman Joy, who has “concerns” with the current draft of the UDC, said it’s possible to continue work on the code without the consultant.

“I think we just need to continue on and either get it right or if we can’t get it right, then we have other options at that point,” Joy said.

To find more information on the UDC, including the draft, click here.