Legislative and Governmental Affairs
Planning and Development Legislation
No bills were passed affecting vesting, comprehensive planning, Agenda 21, ETJ (except for fireworks), annexation (except two affecting general law cities), gambling, home rule and referendum authority, impact fees, private property rights, takings, trees and zoning. Payday lending, despite all the bills being filed indicating a lot of support had no bills passed. Bottom line, it appears with the exception of HB 40, Oil and Gas limitations, it was a successful session for Planning and Development in Texas.
The following PDFs contain the Planning and Development Related Bills that were passed and became law, as listed on the TML Legislative Report and/or sent to TXAPA. There is a short version with only the passed bills and the normal long version with all bills introduced and what happened. There were actually a few that the Governor vetoed highlighted in yellow.
HB 3620 LEGISLATIVE ALERT!
Testimony given by Chance Sparks, AICP, CNU-A on April 13, 2015 before the Land and Resource Management Committee:
My name is Chance Sparks, Director of Planning for the City of Buda and also representing the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association. I am speaking against House Bill 3620. Seven of the 15 fastest growing cities in the U.S. are in Texas. 74% of Texans live in incorporated cities; 86% live in urbanized areas. Hays County is the 6th fastest growing county in the U.S. San Marcos is the fastest city over 50,000 in the U.S. Buda is the fastest growing city over 10,000 in Texas.
In 2013, the Legislature and all Texans declared regional water projects as a critical need to the tune of $2 Billion. The Texas Water Development Board has consistently said that water solutions must be regional to connect supply with demand, necessitating the crossing of multiple jurisdictions to do so. This bill significantly impacts water supply pipelines, not just property acquisition for conservation purposes. This bill also ignores the fact that the General Land Office routinely invests in large properties in cities & counties throughout the state without requesting permission or in any way coordinating, removing properties from the tax roll. Yet this bill requires cities in the same situation to secure a blessing from other jurisdictions when purchasing land on the free market from a willing seller.
House Bill 3620 significantly hampers the ability of cities to deliver water—cities that have been critical players in accommodating population growth as well as economic advancement. This bill creates chaos, inequality and discrimination between cities where none exists currently. It is likely to substantially increase acquisition & long term costs to cities in delivering necessary water. As you heard repeatedly from TxAPA & many subject matter experts during your joint hearing with the House Urban Affairs Committee on October 15, 2014, water supply is the single greatest threat to Texas’ continued prosperity. House Bill 3620 increases the costs and adds unnecessary complexity & conflict to cities on the front line of addressing this threat.
It is past the date that regular bills are introduced but there has still been a flurry of new bills. Of note is the recycled H.B. 3701 that would use comprehensive plans to require cities to redesignate areas from a more intensive land use (in this case from retail to multi-family). SB 1673 would preempt a lot of our development regulations (see Home Rule authority). Also, some payday lending bills that are favorable to the industry and pre-empt a lot of City regulations were finally introduced. If I read HB3763 under Transportation Financing correctly, the bill would use an “economic impact zone” around new facilities and send any sales tax increment in the zone to the state. Finally, some additional negative vesting legislation was introduced. Also, HB40 regarding Oil and Gas had a committee substitute bill that was reported out of committee on 3/30.
Click here to view the status of Planning and Development related bills. (Updated 3/27/15)___________________________________________________________________________________________
The TML website offers an index of legislative updates including City-related bills filed and significant actions. Stay informed. Go to http://www.tml.org/legis_updates to see the latest updates.
The Texas Legislature will begin its 84th Regular Session on January 13, 2015. APA Texas participates in legislative activities through its affiliation with the Texas Municipal League. APA Texas is often called upon to provide thoughtful analysis and testimony regarding various bills under consideration. As such, APA Texas is seeking members that are interested in being involved in the process.
Please click here to get involved!