City of Austin Rules and Regulations:

Are they working as intended?

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Retrospective Review

As part of an ongoing effort to improve City operations and efficiencies, the Austin City Council approved Resolution 20180201-063 directing the City Manager to create a pilot retrospective review program for a regular, systemic review to assess existing policies, reports, rules and regulations related to the Economic Opportunity and Affordability strategic outcome.
The policies, reports, rules, and regulations will be reviewed to determine if there is a continuing need for it; if there are possible conflicts between it and other rules and regulations; if it has been affected by technology, economic, or other industry changes; does it continue to service the original purpose; and, does it serve that purpose in a way that is fair and equitable?
As the City inventories rules and regulations for review, we also want to hear from you... the community! What are your ideas for rules and regulations that should be reviewed?

What items should be submitted?

Rules and regulations... what does that mean? According to the Council resolution, the review will include "Council policies, Council initiated recurring reports, and other rules and regulations." This basically translates to a resolution or ordinance approved in a City Council meeting that establishes a specific policy, reporting requirement, or rule/regulation. All items submitted by the community must fall into this category. All items for this pilot program must also be clearly related to the Economic Opportunity and Affordability strategic outcome in the City's strategic plan, Strategic Direction 2023. An outline of the Economic Opportunity and Affordability outcome (definition, challenges we face as a community, and performance indicator categories) is found below. You can learn more about Strategic Direction 2023 and how it was developed on the City's strategic plan website. For questions regarding the plan, please email
This process is not meant to replace the land development code rewrite. If you do submit information/ideas for rules and regulations related to the land development code, that information will be shared with the appropriate department(s).

Examples of qualifying items

  • Items found within the City's Code of Ordinances (laws/regulations)
  • "Items from Council" on City Council agendas directing the City Manager to complete a particular action (report, study, review of a specific topic, implement a new policy, etc.)
  • Specific recommendations within master plans, strategic plans, small area plans, etc.
  • Department rules

Examples of NON-qualifying items

  • Individual zoning cases
  • Budget adoption/amendment ordinances
  • Approval of contracts or professional services agreements
  • Fee waivers
  • Board/Commission appointments
  • Items that do not directly connect to the Economic Opportunity and Affordability outcome

Economic Opportunity and Affordability Outcome Basics

  • Definition: Having economic opportunities and resources that enable us to thrive in our community.
  • Challenges we face as a community:
    • How might we break the cycle of poverty and inequity so that all residents experience economic mobility?
    • How might we maintain a resilient economy, e.g. supporting small businesses and skilled workforce, that provides equitable opportunities for people and business?
    • How might we ensure Austin’s land use policies, processes and programs help create more complete communities (i.e. communities where people’s basic needs can be met with short trips) in our city?
    • As cost of living rises, how might we increase equitably distributed options for household affordability in all parts of town?
    • How might we leverage both prevention and service delivery to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness in Austin?
  • Performance Measure Categories:
    • Employment
    • Income Equality
    • Cost of Living Compared to Income
    • Housing
    • Homelessness
    • Skills and Capability of our Community Workforce
    • Economic Mobility

Where do I submit the policy, report, rule, or regulation I believe should be reviewed?

Please click on the following link to enter your submission:
If you have more than one submission, they must be submitted separately. Submissions will be accepted through Monday, October 8, 2018.
Updated:  Submissions were extended to Monday, October 15, 2018 and have now closed.

What happens after I submit my idea?

  • Once the submission period closes on October 15, 2018, the Office of Performance Management will compile all of the results and assign them to the department(s) responsible for their implementation to conduct further review and gather more information about the item throughout the month of October. City departments will also submit items for review. Based on application of a standardized matrix to score each item, a recommendation will be made to either retain, repeal, or modify each item. Departments will submit a categorized list of the rules, regulations, reports, and recommendations to City leadership.
  • In November/December, City leadership will review the recommendations and develop an action plan for items recommended to be repealed or modified.
  • The Office of Performance Management will submit a report including the categorized items and action plan with estimated timelines to Council for their review/action.
  • The list of submissions (both from the community and City staff) will be posted on this website along with the recommendation and status of each item.

What information should I provide with my submission?

While there may be general things that frustrate you or you feel like aren't working in the City, the submissions must be as specific as possible in order for them to be fully researched.
Note: Any submissions attacking an individual(s) will not be published or considered.

Information required for each submission

  • Name of policy, report, rule, or regulation
  • Summary description of policy, report, rule, or regulation
  • Resolution or ordinance number (or a web link to the document)
  • Selection of reason(s) why the item should be modified or repealed
  • Your contact information (Name, email address, phone number)
    • Your personal information will only be used if the City needs to contact you for clarification and/or program updates. It will not be posted to this website
For questions about the Retrospective Review process, please contact the City's Office of Performance Management:
Updated:  Submissions were extended to Monday, October 15, 2018 and have now closed.