Frequently asked questions regarding the proposed Land Development Standards Agreement (LDSA) between the city of Austin and Austin Independent School District.
What is the Land Development Standards Agreement (LDSA)?
The Land Development Standards Agreement is an interlocal agreement (ILA) between the City of Austin and Austin ISD regarding educational facilities (schools and the adjacent playgrounds and fields around the school). It is an agreed-upon set of land development standards for school construction and provides a way for both parties to plan and evaluate proposed school construction projects more efficiently. The LDSA addresses things like site development plans, building permits, construction activities, etc. and can have an impact on things like permitting timelines, payment of fees, inspections and site development standards.
What is an Interlocal Agreement (ILA)?
An ILA is a legally binding agreement between two or more governing bodies. Chapter 791 of the Texas Government Code authorizes interlocal agreements between governments to “increase the efficiency and effectiveness of local governments by authorizing them to contract, to the greatest possible extent, with one another and with agencies of the state.” Chapter 212.902 of the Texas Local Government Code authorizes cities and school districts to enter into interlocal agreements regarding land development standards.
Who approves the LDSA?
The Austin City Council and the Austin ISD Board of Trustees, both comprised of elected officials, must approve the agreement.
Why do the City of Austin and Austin Independent School District need an ILA for Land Development Standards?
In Texas, school districts are independent governmental entities and are not subject to the same municipal development requirements as private landowners. Establishing a LDSA between the City of Austin and Austin ISD benefits both entities by reducing redundancies and inefficiencies in education-related construction projects.
Is there an existing Land Development Standard ILA between the City and the School District?
Yes. The city and the district currently have a LDSA that was established in 1994. It has been amended multiple times and expires on September 21, 2024.
What is the term of the proposed LDSA / How long will it last?
The proposed term is 25 years and will last until 2048 unless amended.
Why is Austin ISD doing this now?
Austin ISD is one of the largest landowners in the city and is implementing a $2.4 billion bond program that Austin voters approved in November 2022. With the current LDSA expiring next year, now is an ideal time to update the development standards to reflect Austin’s current population growth and the city’s own evolving development code. An agreement between the city and the district will help promote efficient implementation of the equity-based 2022 Bond Program and future bond programs and will safeguard taxpayer dollars.
What type of issues are addressed in this LDSA?
The way we design schools now has drastically changed since 1994 to better meet students’ needs. For example, modern school design can require additional square footage, additional types of learning areas, increased security features, food pantries, counseling, and motherhood rooms. When necessary, allowing schools to be built slightly higher and closer to neighboring properties will provide the design teams flexibility to bring school functions, such as drop-off/pick-up queuing, onto school property and minimize impacts to neighbors, neighborhoods, and traffic patterns. Changes to impervious cover are also being considered, but not in the Barton Springs Recharge Zone.
Which facilities will the LDSA apply to?
This LDSA will only apply to Austin ISD educational facilities (schools and the adjacent playgrounds and fields) and only when they are used for educational purposes. This LDSA does not apply to the district’s centralized athletic facilities (House Park Field, Nelson Field, the Delco Center, Burger Center/Field) and district support facilities such as the district’s Service Center, bus barns, warehouse, and headquarters. It also does not apply to Austin ISD properties located in other municipalities, such as Sunset Valley.
Does this LDSA affect Austin ISD’s efforts to redevelop former campuses, such as the old Rosedale School site, or the district’s efforts to provide employee housing?
No. This LDSA covers only educational facilities and the development of new educational facilities. The development of properties for other purposes, including employee housing, would be addressed under City Code that applies to all public and private entities.
I received a notice. Does that mean that something is going to happen to a school or piece of property near me?
The City of Austin sent notices to property owners within 500 feet of a school district educational facility or district-owned property that could be potentially used as an educational facility over the next 25 years. While the LDSA is not limited to the 2022 Bond Program, construction activities will take place at many Austin ISD educational facilities over the next five years as part of the 2022 Bond Program. Much of this work is aimed at improving school safety and addressing older mechanical systems such as air conditioners and heating. In addition to the more targeted projects, the district is modernizing 25 campuses, with an additional four open concept projects and several comprehensive projects. To see a list of the voter-approved modernizations, open concept and comprehensive projects please visit the 2022 Bond Program website.
How can I learn about what the LDSA proposes or read a copy of it?
The LDSA is a legal document, and the City of Austin and Austin ISD are still in negotiations. Those negotiations will be complete in time for the LDSA to be included in the meeting material for the City of Austin’s Planning Commission meeting.
Information from the City of Austin regarding the upcoming Planning Commission and City Council meetings can be found below:
This proposed amendment is scheduled to be heard by the Planning Commission on August 22, 2023, beginning at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will be held in-person at City Hall Council Chambers, 301 West 2nd Street and online viewable at http://www.atxn.tv. To participate at this Public Hearing, you may either attend virtually by viewing the meeting online and registering to speak in advance or by going to City Hall at 301 West 2nd Street and attending in-person. For additional information on how to participate in the meeting, please go to the Planning Commission website: http://www.austintexas.gov/content/planning-commission.
This application is scheduled to be heard by the City Council on September 14, 2023, beginning at 10:00 a.m. The meeting will be held in-person at City Hall Council Chambers, 301 West 2nd Street and online viewable at http://www.atxn.tv.To participate at this Public Hearing, you may either attend virtually by viewing the meeting online and registering to speak in advance or by going to City Hall at 301 West 2nd Street and attending in-person. For additional information on how to participate in the meeting, please go to the following website:
For additional information on how to participate in the meetings, please contact (512) 978-4699 or DSDCommunications@austintexas.gov.
For additional questions or comments regarding the LDSA, please contact Austin ISD at:
Phone: (512) 690-2582