Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Monday, October 30, 2000

CORNYN FILES COURT CASE AGAINST BEE COUNTY COLONIA

'Special' Colonia Case Focuses on Unplatted Development North of the Border Region

AUSTIN - In a case involving a colonia-type development north of the usual locations for such areas, Texas Attorney General John Cornyn has filed a lawsuit in Travis County District Court to require a Bee County subdivision owner to follow relevant state law and properly plat currently unplatted lots he has sold.

"We have seen growing successes in rolling back the trend of spreading colonias in border areas, so it's discouraging to find individuals who are willing to take unwise risks to build similar substandard developments in areas generally not associated with colonias," said Attorney General Cornyn. "Nevertheless, the State of Texas will not sit idly by and allow these areas to spread as they have in the border regions."

The subdivision, known as Salazar Heights, lies outside of Beeville. This suit seeks a temporary injunction against owner Benito G. Salazar of Victoria County. Salazar created the subdivision in the 1980s but never obtained approval of a plat from the county commissioners court. Roads within the subdivision went unpaved and the drinking water system remained substandard, resulting in colonia-type conditions.

The Attorney General's suit notes that Salazar has recently sold several lots in the subdivision but has failed to comply with special platting requirements for these types of residential lots of five acres or less. Since September 1997 this special law - from Senate Bill 570 - has applied in Bee and other counties categorized as low-income, high-unemployment areas and located more than 50 miles from the border.

The law requires subdivision owners to file plats and provide adequate water and wastewater services. This provision is meant to prevent the spread of unsanitary residential areas generally referred to as colonias.

South Texas counties where this law applies include Bee, Frio, Jim Wells, Kleberg and San Patricio.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050
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