The Red Book
Selected Texas Laws on Subdivisions,
Colonias, Etc.- 2007
Local Government Code: Part I
Local Government Code: Part II: Chapter 232
Local Government Code: Part III
Property Code
Water Code
Health and Safety Code
Miscellaneous

CHAPTER 233. COUNTY REGULATION OF HOUSING AND OTHER STRUCTURES

SUBCHAPTER B. BUILDING AND SETBACK LINES

Section
233.031. Authority Limited to Unincorporated Areas; Conflict With Municipal Authority.
233.032. Powers and Duties of Commissioners Court.
233.033. Hearing; Adoption of Lines.
233.034. Notice; Limitations Period.
233.035. Board of Building Line Adjustment.
233.036. Enforcement.
233.037. Appeal.


§ 233.031. Authority Limited to Unincorporated Areas; Conflict With Municipal Authority

(a) The authority under this subchapter to establish building and set-back lines applies only to areas outside the corporate limits of municipalities.

(b) If the lines conflict with lines adopted by a municipality, the municipal lines prevail if they are in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the municipality.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.
Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1, § 54(d), eff. Aug. 28, 1989.
Renumbered from V.T.CA.A. Local Gov't Code § 233.001 and amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 12.002 (3), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.


§ 233.032. Powers and Duties of Commissioners Court

(a) If the commissioners court of a county determines that the general welfare will be promoted, the court may:

    (1) establish by order building or set-back lines on the public roads, including major highways and roads, in the county; and
    (2) prohibit the location of a new building within those building or set-back lines.

(b) A building or set-back line established under this subchapter may not extend:

    (1) more than 25 feet from the edge of the right-of-way on all public roads other than major highways and roads; or
    (2) more than 50 feet from the edge of the right-of-way of major highways and roads.

(c) The commissioners court may designate the public roads that are major highways and roads.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.
Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1, § 54(d), eff. Aug. 28, 1989.
Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Local Gov't Code § 233.002, and Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 12.002 (3), eff. Sept. 1, 2001


§ 233.033. Hearing; Adoption of Lines

(a) Before the establishment or change of building or set-back lines, the commissioners court must hold at least one public hearing on the establishment or change. The court shall publish notice of the time and place of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the county before the 15th day before the date of the hearing. The court may adjourn the hearing from time to time.

(b) The commissioners court may establish or change a building or set-back line only by an order passed by at least a majority vote of the full membership of the court.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.
Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1, § 54(d), eff. Aug. 28, 1989.
Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Local Gov't Code § 233.003, and Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 12.002 (3), eff. Sept. 1, 2001


§ 233.034. Notice; Limitations Period

(a) An owner of real property that fronts along a road that has a building or set-back line established under this subchapter is charged with notice of the building or set-back line order.

(b) The commissioners court shall show in a general manner each building or set-back line established under this subchapter on a map. The map shall be filed with the county clerk.

(c) If the county does not begin the construction of the improvement or widening of a road along which a building or set-back line has been established within four years after the date the building or set-back line is established, the building or set-back line becomes void, unless the county and the affected property owners agree to extend the time period for the improvements or widening.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.
Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1, § 54(d), eff. Aug. 28, 1989.
Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Local Gov't Code § 233.034, and Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 12.002 (3), eff. Sept. 1, 2001


§ 233.035. Board of Building Line Adjustment

(a) The commissioners court may appoint a board of building line adjustment consisting of five freeholders of the county. Members must be appointed for staggered terms of two years, with two members' terms expiring in one year and three members' terms expiring the next year. However, in making the initial appointments, the commissioners court shall designate two members for one-year terms and three members for two-year terms. The court may remove a member for cause on a written charge after a public hearing. The court shall fill a vacancy on the board for the unexpired term of the member whose term becomes vacant.

(b) The board shall elect its own chairman and shall adopt rules of procedure. The meetings of the board are open to the public. The board shall keep minutes of its proceedings that shall be filed in the board's office. The minutes of board meetings constitute a public record.

(c) Subject to appropriate conditions and safeguards, the board may modify or vary the regulations affecting building or set-back lines in a case in which unnecessary hardship may result from a literal enforcement of those regulations, in order to do substantial justice and to observe the purpose of the regulations in protecting the public welfare and safety.

(d) The board shall hear and decide an appeal in a case in which, because of exceptional narrowness, shallowness, shape, topography, existing building development, or another exceptional and extraordinary situation or condition of a specific piece of property, the strict application of a building line established under this subchapter would result in peculiar and exceptional difficulties or hardships to the owner of the property. On appeal, the board may authorize a variance from the strict application of the regulation, under conditions imposed by the board, to relieve the hardship or difficulty if that relief can be granted without substantially impairing the intent and purpose of the building line or set-back line.

(e) With appropriate safeguards, the board shall authorize the construction of an improvement or a structure that may encroach on a building or set-back line. However, if the county proceeds with projected improvements of the affected road within the time provided by Section 233.034(c), the owner of the improvement or structure must remove it at no expense to the county.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.
Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Local Gov't Code § 233.005, and Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 12.002 (3), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.


§ 233.036. Enforcement

If a structure is erected, constructed, or reconstructed in violation of a building or set-back line established under this subchapter, the commissioners court, the district or county attorney, or an owner of real property in the county may institute an injunction, mandamus, abatement, or other appropriate action to prevent, abate, remove, or enjoin the unlawful erection, construction, or reconstruction.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.
Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Local Gov't Code § 233.005, and Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 12.002 (3), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.


§ 233.037. Appeal

(a) An owner of property who is aggrieved by an action or order adopted by the board of building line adjustment may appeal to the commissioners court. The person must bring the appeal within 30 days after the date the action or order was adopted.

(b) A property owner in the county who is aggrieved by a final order of the board or of the commissioners court may appeal to the district court or to another court with proper jurisdiction. The appellant must bring the appeal within 30 days after the date on which the final order in question was adopted. The appellant must execute an appeal bond in an amount fixed by the court.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987
Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Local Gov't Code § 233.005, and Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 12.002 (3), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.


SUBCHAPTER C. FIRE CODE IN UNINCORPORATED AREA

Sections
233.061. Authority to Adopt and Enforce Fire Code.
233.0615. Definitions; Substantial Improvement; Construction
233.062. Application and Content of Fire Code.
233.063. Building Permit; Application.
233.064. Inspections.
233.065. Fees.
233.066. Injunction.
233.067. Civil Penalty.


§ 233.061. Authority to Adopt and Enforce Fire Code

    (1) The commissioners court of a county with a population of over 250,000 or a county adjacent to a county with a population of over 250,000 may adopt a fire code and rules necessary to administer and enforce the fire code.

    (2) The commissioners court, or any municipality in the county, may contract with one another for the administration and enforcement of the fire code.

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 296, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1991. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 598, § 1, eff. June 11, 1997.
Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Local Gov't Code § 235.001, by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 12.003 (4), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.


§ 233.0615. Definitions; Substantial Improvement; Construction

(a) In this subchapter:

    (1) "Building" includes an establishment or multifamily dwelling.

    (2) "Substantial improvement" means:

      (A) the repair, restoration, reconstruction, improvement, or remodeling of a building for which the cost exceeds 50 percent of the building's value according to the certified tax appraisal roll for the county for the year preceding the year in which the work was begun; or
      (B) a change in occupancy classification involving a change in the purpose or level of activity in a building, including the renovation of a warehouse into a loft apartment

(b) For purposes of this subchapter, substantial improvement begins on the date that the reapair, restoration, reconstruction, improvement, or remodeling or the change in occupancy classification begins or on the date materials are first delivered for that purpose.

(c) For purposes of this subchapter, construction begins on the date that ground is broken for a building, or if no ground is broken, on the date that:

    (1) the first materials are added to the original property; or
    (2) foundation pilings are installed on the original property; or
    (3) a manufactured building or relocated structure is placed on a foundation on the original property.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., ch. 331, § 1, eff. June 17, 2005.


§ 233.062. Application and Content of Fire Code

(a) The fire code applies only to the following buildings constructed in an unincorporated area of the county:

    (1) a commercial establishment;
    (2) a public building; and
    (3) a multifamily residential dwelling consisting of four or more units.

(b) The fire code does not apply to an industrial facility having a fire brigade that conforms to requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.

(c) The fire code must:

    (1) conform to:
      (A) the International Fire Code, as published by the International Code Council, as the code existed on May 1, 2005; or
      (B) the Uniform Fire Code, as published by the National Fire Protection Association, as the code existed on May 1, 2005; or

    (2) establish protective measures that exceed the standards of the codes described by Subdivision (1).

(d) The commissioners court may adopt later editions of a fire code listed in Subsection (c).

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 296, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1991.
Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Local Gov't Code § 235.002, and Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 12.003 (4), eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2005, 79th Leg., ch. 331, § 2, eff. June 17, 2005.


§ 233.063. Building Permit; Application

(a) A person may not construct or substantially improve a building described by Section 233.062(a) in an unincorporated area of the county unless the person obtains a building permit issued in accordance with this subchapter.

(b) A person may apply for a building permit by providing to the commissioners court:

    (1) a plan of the proposed building containing information required by the commissioners court; and
    (2) an application fee in an amount set by the commissioners court.

(c) Within 30 days after the date the commissioners court receives an application and fee in accordance with Subsection (b), the commissioners court shall:

    (1) issue the permit if the plan complies with the fire code; or
    (2) deny the permit if the plan does not comply with the fire code.

(d) If the commissioners court receives an application and fee in accordance with Subsection (b) and the commissioners court does not issue the permit or deny the application within 30 days after receiving the application and fee, the construction or substantial improvement of the building that is the subject of the application is approved for the purposes of this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 296, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1991.
Amended by HB 2812, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.
Amended by SB 736, eff. Sept. 1, 2005.


§ 233.064. Inspections

(a) The county shall inspect a building subject to this subchapter to determine whether the building complies with the fire code.

(b) The commissioners court may provide that a county employee or an employee of another governmental entity under intergovernmental contract may perform the inspection.

(c) A building inspector may enter and perform the inspection at a reasonable time at any stage of the building's construction or substantial improvement and after completion of the building.

(d) On or before the date that construction or substantial improvement of a building subject to this subchapter is completed, the owner of the building shall request in writing that the county inspect the building for compliance with the fire code.

(e) The county shall begin the inspection of the building within five business days after the date of the receipt of the written inspection request. If an inspection is properly requested and the county does not begin the inspection within the time permitted by this subsection, the building that is the subject of the request is considered approved for the purposes of this subchapter.

(f) The county shall issue a final certificate of compliance to the owner of a building inspected under this section if the inspector determines, after an inspection of the completed building, that the building complies with the fire code.

(g) If the inspector determines, after an inspection of the completed building, that the building does not comply with the fire code:

    (1) the county shall deny the certificate of compliance; and
    (2) the building may not be occupied.

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 296, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1991.
Amended by HB 2812, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.
Amended by SB 736, eff. Sept. 1, 2005.


§ 233.065. Fees

(a) The commissioners court may develop a fee schedule based on building type and may set and charge fees for an inspection and the issuance of a building permit and final certificate of compliance under this subchapter.

(b) The fees must be set in amounts necessary to cover the cost of administering and enforcing this subchapter.

(c) The county shall deposit fees received under this subchapter in a special fund in the county treasury, and money in that fund may be used only for the administration and enforcement of the fire code.

(d) The fee for a fire code inspection under this subchapter must be reasonable and reflect the approximate cost of the inspection personnel, materials, and administrative overhead.

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 296, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1991.
Amended by HB 2812, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.
Amended by SB 736, eff. Sept. 1, 2005.


§ 233.066. Injunction

The appropriate attorney representing the county in the district court may seek injunctive relief to prevent the violation or threatened violation of the fire code.

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 296, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1991.
Amended by HB 2812, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.


§ 233.067. Civil Penalty

(a) The appropriate attorney representing the county in civil cases may file a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover from a person who violates the fire code a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $200 for each day on which the violation exists. In determining the amount of the penalty, the court shall consider the seriousness of the violation.

(b) The county shall deposit amounts collected under this section in the fund and for the purposes described by Section 233.065(c).

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 296, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1991.
Amended by HB 2812, 2001.


CHAPTER 240. MISCELLANEOUS REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF COUNTIES

SUBCHAPTER Z. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

§ 240.901. Land Use Regulation for Flood Control in Coastal Counties

(a) This state recognizes the personal hardships and economic distress caused by flood disasters since it has become uneconomical for the private insurance industry alone to make flood insurance available to those in need of protection on reasonable terms and conditions. Recognizing the burden on the nation's resources, congress enacted the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, under which flood insurance can be made available through the coordinated efforts of the federal government and the private insurance industry by pooling risks and by the positive cooperation of state and local governments. The purpose of this subchapter is to evidence a positive interest in securing flood insurance coverage under the federal program, thus procuring coverage for the citizens of this state who desire to participate, to promote the public interest by providing appropriate protection against the perils of flood losses, and to encourage sound land use by minimizing exposure of property to flood losses.

(b) A county bordering on the Gulf of Mexico or on the tidewater limits of the gulf may determine the boundaries of any flood-prone area of the county. The suitability of that determination is conclusively established when the commissioners court of the county adopts a resolution finding that the area is a flood-prone area.

(c) The commissioners court may adopt and enforce rules that regulate the management and use of land, structures, and other development in a flood-prone area of the county in order to reduce the extent of damage caused by flooding. The matters to which the rules may apply include:

    (1) the floodproofing of structures located or to be constructed in the area;
    (2) the minimum elevation of a structure permitted to be constructed or improved in the area;
    (3) specifications for drainage;
    (4) the prohibition of the connection of land with water, sewer, electricity, and gas utility service, if a structure or other development on the land is not in compliance with a rule adopted by the commissioners court; and
    (5) any other action feasible to minimize flooding and rising water damage.

(d) In this section, "flood-prone area" means an area that is subject to damage from rising water or flooding from the Gulf of Mexico or its tidal waters, including lakes, bays, inlets, and lagoons.

(e) Rules and regulations adopted by counties under this section shall comply with rules and regulations promulgated by the Commissioner of the General Land Office under Sections 16.320 and 16.321, Water Code.

(f) If the commissioners court prohibits the connection of land with water, sewer, electricity, and gas utility service under Subsection (c)(4), a person may not provide utility services that connect the land with utility services without written certification from the county that the property complies with rules adopted under this section.

(g) A commissioners court may authorize procedures for filing a notice in the real property records of the county in which a property is located that identifies any condition on the property that the county determines violates the rules adopted under this section or a permit issued under this section. The notice is not a final legal determination and is meant only to provide notice of the county's determination that a violation of the rules or a permit exists on the property. The notice must include a description legally sufficient for identification of the property and the name of the owner of the property.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.
Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 295, § 40, eff. June 7, 1991.
Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 461, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.


LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE CHAPTER 245

CHAPTER 245. ISSUANCE OF LOCAL PERMITS

§ 245.001. Definitions

In this chapter:

    (1) "Permit" means a license, certificate, approval, registration, consent, permit, contract or other agreement for construction related to, or provision of, service from a water or wastewater utility owned, operated, or controlled by a regulatory agency, or other form of authorization required by law, rule, regulation, order, or ordinance that a person must obtain to perform an action or initiate, continue, or complete a project for which the permit is sought.

    (2) "Political subdivision" means a political subdivision of the state, including a county, a school district, or a municipality.

    (3) "Project" means an endeavor over which a regulatory agency exerts its jurisdiction and for which one or more permits are required to initiate, continue, or complete the endeavor.

    (4) "Regulatory agency" means the governing body of, or a bureau, department, division, board, commission, or other agency of, a political subdivision acting in its capacity of processing, approving, or issuing a permit.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 73, eff. May 11, 1999.
Amended by SB 848, eff. Sept. 1, 2005.


§ 245.002. Uniformity of Requirements

(a) Each regulatory agency shall consider the approval, disapproval, or conditional approval of an application for a permit solely on the basis of any orders, regulations, ordinances, rules, expiration dates, or other properly adopted requirements in effect at the time:

    (1) the original application for the permit is filed for review for any purpose, including review for administrative completeness; or
    (2) a plan for development of real property or plat application is filed with a regulatory agency

(a-1) Rights to which a permit applicatn is entitled under this chapter accrue on the filing of an original application or plan for development or plat application that gives the regulatory agency fair notice of the project and the nature of the permit sought. An application or plan is considered filed on the date the applicat delivers the application or plan to the regulatory agency or deposits the application or plan with the United States Postal Service by certified mail addressed to the regulatory agency. A certified mail receipt obtained by the applicant at the time of deposit is prima facie evidence of the date the application or plan was deposited with the United Stated Postal Service.

(b) If a series of permits is required for a project, the orders, regulations, ordinances, rules, expiration dates, or other properly adopted requirements in effect at the time the original application for the first permit in that series is filed shall be the sole basis for consideration of all subsequent permits required for the completion of the project. All permits required for the project are considered to be a single series of permits. Preliminary plans and related subdivision plats, site plans, and all other development permits for land covered by the preliminary plans or subdivision plats are considered collectively to be one series of permits for a project.

(c) After an application for a project is filed, a regulatory agency may not shorten the duration of any permit required for the project.

(d) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, a permit holder may take advantage of recorded subdivision plat notes, recorded restrictive covenants required by a regulatory agency, or a change to the laws, rules, regulations, or ordinances of a regulatory agency that enhance or protect the project, including changes that lengthen the effective life of the permit after the date the application for the permit was made, without forfeiting any rights under this chapter.

(e) A regulatory agency may provide that a permit application expires on or after the 45th day after the date the application is filed if:

    (1) the applicant fails to provide documents or other information necessary to comply with the agency's technical requirements relating to the form and content of the permit application
    (2) the agency provides to the applicant not later than the 10th business day after the date the application is filed written notice of the failure that specifies the necessary documents or other information and the date the application will expire if the documents or other information is not provided; and
    (3) the applicant fails to provide the specified documents or other information within the time provided in the notice.

(f) This chapter does not prohibit a regulatory agency from requiring compliance with technical requirements relating to the form and content of an application in effect at the time the application was filed even though the application is filed after the date an applicant accrues rights under Subsection (a-1).

(g) Notwithstanding Section 245.003, the change in law made to Subsection (a) and the addition of Subsections (a-1), (e), and (f) by S.B. No. 848, Acts of the 79th Legislature, Regular Session, 2005, apply only to a project commenced on or after the effective date of that Act.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 73, eff. May 11, 1999.
Amended by SB 848, eff. Sept. 1, 2005.

NOTE: In addition to amending § 245.004, HB 2130 (effective Sept. 1, 2003) forbids a water district or authority governing groundwater within five counties from requiring a permit for certain projects in progress. The full text of Section 2 of HB 2130 reads:

SECTION 2. This section applies only to a project, as defined by Chapter 245, Local Government Code, in progress on the date a water district or authority with regional management and regulatory authority over groundwater withdrawals within all or part of at least five counties adopts any rule requiring a permit or authorization for a project to improve or develop land. A project is considered in progress if a permit or other form of authorization establishing vested rights for the project pursuant to Chapter 245, Local Government Code, was in effect in the area of the authority's jurisdiction as of the rule's adoption date, whether before, on, or after the effective date of this Act. A district or authority may not impose permit requirements on or otherwise regulate a project in progress as described by this section. This section supersedes any other applicable law to the extent of any conflict.


§ 245.003. Applicability of Chapter

This chapter applies only to a project in progress on or commenced after September 1, 1997. For purposes of this chapter a project was in progress on September 1, 1997, if:

    (1) before September 1, 1997:
      (A) regulatory agency approved or issued one or more permits for the project; or
      (B) an application for a permit for the project was filed with a regulatory agency; and

    (2) on or after September 1, 1997, a regulatory agency enacts, enforces, or otherwise imposes:

      (A) an order, regulation, ordinance, or rule that in effect retroactively changes the duration of a permit for the project;
      (B) a deadline for obtaining a permit required to continue or complete the project that was not enforced or did not apply to the project before September 1, 1997; or
      (C) any requirement for the project that was not applicable to or enforced on the project before September 1, 1997.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 73, eff. May 11, 1999.


§ 245.004. Exemptions

This chapter does not apply to:

    (1) a permit that is at least two years old, is issued for the construction of a building or structure intended for human occupancy or habitation, and is issued under laws, ordinances, procedures, rules, or regulations adopting only:
      (A) uniform building, fire, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical codes adopted by a recognized national code organization; or
      (B) local amendments to those codes enacted solely to address imminent threats of destruction of property or injury to persons;

    (2) municipal zoning regulations that do not affect landscaping or tree preservation, open space or park dedication, property classification, lot size, lot dimensions, lot coverage, or building size or that do not change development permitted by a restrictive covenant required by a municipality;

    (3) regulations that specifically control only the use of land in a municipality that does not have zoning and that do not affect landscaping or tree preservation, open space or park dedication, lot size, lot dimensions, lot coverage, or building size;

    (4) regulations for sexually oriented businesses;

    (5) municipal or county ordinances, rules, regulations, or other requirements affecting colonias;

    (6) fees imposed in conjunction with development permits;

    (7) regulations for annexation that do not affect landscaping or tree preservation or open space or park dedication;

    (8) regulations for utility connections;

    (9) regulations to prevent imminent destruction of property or injury to persons from flooding that are effective only within a flood plain established by a federal flood control program and enacted to prevent the flooding of buildings intended for public occupancy;

    (10) construction standards for public works located on public lands or easements; or

    (11) regulations to prevent the imminent destruction of property or injury to persons if the regulations do not:

      (A) affect landscaping or tree preservation or open space or park dedication, lot size, lot dimensions, lot coverage, building size, residential or commercial density, or the timing of a project; or
      (B) change development permitted by a restrictive covenant required by a municipality.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 73, eff. May 11, 1999.
Amended by HB 2130, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
Amended by SB 574, eff. Sept. 1, 2005

NOTE: See the note following § 245.006 (below) for further limits on the applicability of Chapter 245.


§ 245.005. Dormant Projects

(a) After the first anniversary of the effective date of this chapter, a regulatory agency may enact an ordinance, rule, or regulation that places an expiration date on a permit if as of the first anniversary of the effective date of this chapter: (i) the permit does not have an expiration date; and (ii) no progress has been made towards completion of the project. Any ordinance, rule, or regulation enacted pursuant to this subsection shall place an expiration date of no earlier than the fifth anniversary of the effective date of this chapter.

(b) A regulatory agency may enact an ordinance, rule, or regulation that places an expiration date of not less than two years on a individual permit if no progress has been made towards completion of the project. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any ordinance, rule, or regulation enacted pursuant to this section shall place an expiration date on a project of no earlier than the fifth anniversary of the date the first permit application was filed for the project if no progress has been made towards completion of the project. Nothing in this subsection shall be deemed to affect the timing of a permit issued solely under the authority of Chapter 366, Health and Safety Code, by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality or its authorized agent.

(c) Progress towards completion of the project shall include any one of the following:

    (1) an application for a final plat or plan is submitted to a regulatory agency;
    (2) a good-faith attempt is made to file with a regulatory agency an application for a permit necessary to begin or continue towards completion of the project;
    (3) costs have been incurred for developing the project including, without limitation, costs associated with roadway, utility, and other infrastructure facilities designed to serve, in whole or in part, the project (but exclusive of land acquisition) in the aggregate amount of five percent of the most recent appraised market value of the real property on which the project is located;
    (4) fiscal security is posted with a regulatory agency to ensure performance of an obligation required by the regulatory agency; or
    (5) utility connection fees or impact fees for the project have been paid to a regulatory agency.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 73, eff. May 11, 1999.
Amended by SB 574, eff. Sept. 1, 2005


§ 245.006. Enforcement of Chapter

(a) This chapter may be enforced only through mandamus or declaratory or injunctive relief.

(b) A political subdivision's immunity from suit is waived in regard to an action under this chapter.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 73, eff. May 11, 1999.
Amended by SB 574, eff. Sept. 1, 2005


§ 245.007. Construction and Renovation Work on County-Owned Buildings and Facilities in Certain Counties

(a) This section applies only to a building or facility that is owned by a county with a population of 3.3 million or more and is located within the boundaries of another political subdivision.

(b) A political subdivision may not require a county to notify the political subdivision or obtain a building permit for any new construction or any renovation of a building or facility owned by the county if the construction or renovation work is supervised and inspected by an engineer or architect licensed in this state.

(c) This section does not exempt a county from complying with the building standards of the political subdivision during the construction or renovation of the building or facility.

Addedd by HB 960, eff. Sept. 1, 2005


NOTE: Chapter 245 was added by Section 2 of Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 73, eff. May 11, 1999. It restored requirements that had been inadvertently repealed in 1997. Other sections of the 1999 act contain significant provisions regarding its interpretation and applicability and are therefore set out below.

SECTION 1. FINDINGS; INTENT.   (a) The legislature finds that the former Subchapter I, Chapter 481, Government Code, relating to state and local permits, originally enacted by Section 1, Chapter 374, Acts of the 70th Legislature, Regular Session, 1987, and subsequently amended by Section 3.01, Chapter 4, Acts of the 71st Legislature, Regular Session, 1989, Section 2, Chapter 118, Acts of the 71st Legislature, Regular Session, 1989, and Section 1, Chapter 794, Acts of the 74th Legislature, Regular Session, 1995, was inadvertently repealed by Section 51(b), Chapter 1041, Acts of the 75th Legislature, Regular Session, 1997.
(b) The legislature finds that the repeal of former Subchapter I, Chapter 481, Government Code, which became effective September 1, 1997, resulted in the reestablishment of administrative and legislative practices that often result in unnecessary governmental regulatory uncertainty that inhibits the economic development of the state and increases the cost of housing and other forms of land development and often resulted in the repeal of previously approved permits causing decreased property and related values, bankruptcies, and failed projects.
(c) The legislature finds that the restoration of requirements relating to the processing and issuance of permits and approvals by local governmental regulatory agencies is necessary to minimize to the extent possible the effect of the inadvertent repeal of the former Subchapter I, Chapter 481, Government Code, and to safeguard the general economy and welfare of the state and to protect property rights.
(d) It is the intent of the legislature that no project, permit, or series of permits that was protected by former Subchapter I, Chapter 481, Government Code, be prejudiced by or required or allowed to expire because of the repeal of former Subchapter I or an action taken by a regulatory agency after the repeal.

SECTION 3. EFFECT OF PRIOR LAW.  (a) The repeal of Subchapter I, Chapter 481, Government Code, By Section 51(b), Chapter 1041, Acts of the 75th Legislature, Regular Session, 1997, and any actions taken by a regulatory agency for the issuance of a permit, as those terms are defined by Section 2245.001, Local Government Code, as added by Section 2 of this Act, after that repeal and before the effective date of this Act, shall not cause or require the expiration or termination of a project, permit, or series of permits to which Section 2 of this Act applies. An action by a regulatory agency that violates this section is void to the extent necessary to give effect to this section.
(b) This Act does not affect the rights or remedies of any person or entity under a final judgment rendered by a court before the effective date of this Act, or in any litigation pending in a court on the effective date of this Act, involving an interpretation of Subchapter I, Chapter 481, Government Code, as it existed before its repeal by the 75th Legislature.

SECTION 4. CONSTRUCTION OF ACT. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to apply to a condition or provision of an ordinance, rule, or regulation that is enacted by a regulatory agency, as that term is defined by Section 245.001, Local Government Code, as added by Section 2 of this Act, which is specifically required by uniformly applicable regulations adopted by a state agency after the effective date of this Act.

SECTION 5. EFFECT ON COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT ACT. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to:
1) limit or otherwise affect the authority of a municipality, a county, another political subdivision, the state, or an agency of the state, with respect to the implementation or enforcement of an ordinance, a rule, or a statutory standard of a program, plan, or ordinance that was adopted under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. Section 1451 et seq.) or its subsequent amendments to Subtitle E, Title 2, Natural Resources Code; or
(2) apply to a permit, order, rule, regulation, or other action issued, adopted, or undertaken by a municipality, a county, another political subdivision, the state or an agency of the state in connection with the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. Section 1451 et seq.) or its subsequent amendments or Subtitle E, Title 2, Natural Resources Code.

Revised: May 06 2010