Texas bill would freeze new city home building rules for 7 years

New homes being constructed in North Austin on Sept. 1, 2016 (KXAN Photo)
New homes being constructed in North Austin on Sept. 1, 2016 (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A proposal at the State Capitol would limit city and county home building rules for seven years beginning in December.

City leaders and representatives from the powerful city organizations like the Texas Municipal League worry that it could get in the way of a city of Austin overhaul of its zoning code.

Construction crews fill the city of Austin daily. The city rules they build by sometimes move too fast for State Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia.

“It’s a problem when those rules change the next day and they are not able to use those properties the way they intended to be able to use them,” said Rep. Bell. He laid out the latest version of his bill Wednesday at the Capitol.

House Bill 188 would allow a homeowner to build or remodel under the rules in place when they bought the property for seven years.

“We see this bill as a plus for homeowners and those who buy a home with a vision of expanding their family and expanding their home to meet those family needs,” said Ned Munoz from the Texas Association of Builders who supports the bill, describing how he thinks it will protect homeowners from quick changes for impervious cover, tree ordinances and historical designations.

“As areas become more urbanized, we have sensible rules to help people live together in harmony in zoning and safety and that type of thing. Those rules are there because citizens demand them,” said Bennett Sandlin, executive director of the Texas Municipal League, who worries this bill would nullify most of the zoning overhaul the city of Austin is working towards, CodeNext.

Mayor of Austin Steve Adler says the revamp is meant to make the city more affordable and easier to get around.

“A law like that is basically saying stand down for seven years. We can’t stand down for seven years, these concerns are big. We should have been working on this a lot harder seven years ago,” said Adler.

A similar bill failed to reach the Senate floor and there are less than eight days left of the special legislative session. While some supports of the bill want it to be retroactive, the version Rep. Bell laid out today takes effect Dec. 1.

HB 188 was left pending in the House Committee on Land and Resource Management.

KXAN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s