During the 88th Texas Legislature state lawmakers adopted new laws that impact the development process, many of which were effective Sept. 1, 2023. Here is the information you need to know about these new laws.
- HB 14
HB 14 allows applicants to seek a third-party review or inspection if the City fails to act on an application or conduct an inspection within 15 days of a state-mandated deadline. This applies to all development documents, which include preliminary plans, final plats, site plans, certain license agreements, and building permits. If City staff conditionally approves or disapproves a development document or a third-party inspection, the applicant may appeal that decision to City Council. The Development Services Department is currently working to update our forms and resources with information applicable to this new law.
- HB 2334
HB 2334 allows utility contractors to install water and wastewater plumbing on the private side without hiring a master plumber. As a result, DSD has created a new stand-alone plumbing permit called a “Commercial Plumbing Service Line Permit” available through the Service Center. With this permit a non-licensed plumber may perform work consisting of installing, servicing, or repairing service mains or service lines that provide water, sewer, or storm drainage services on private property in an area that extends from a public right-of-way or public easement to not less than 5 feet from a building or structure. This permit only applies to commercial properties, and a Water/Wastewater inspection will be required by Austin Water. Learn more on our Stand-Alone Permits webpage.
- HB 3526
HB 3526 exempts solar pergolas from compliance with municipal buildings codes. A solar pergola is a pergola structure with solar panels attached.
- HB 3699
HB 3699 amends state regulations for subdivisions. Specifically, it allows the City to make decisions on a subdivision application administratively and streamlines requirements for administrative completeness. It also clarifies the standards applicable to subdivision approval.
Specific changes include:
- Removal of subdivision construction plan applications from the 30-day shot-clock requirement.
- Limits on the types of analyses, studies, and documents required on a subdivision application.
- Requirement for cities to publish a list of all required subdivision application materials.
The Development Services Department has updated the subdivision intake web forms to reflect these changes. Stay tuned for more information.
The Development Services Department is holding a virtual stakeholder meeting on Thursday, Sept. 28 from 10-11:30 a.m. on HB 14 and HB 3699 and their impact on the development process. Staff will explain changes made to Title 25 and Title 30 of the Land Development Code, and you will have an opportunity to ask questions about process changes. Registration for this session is now open on Zoom.
Land Development Code Changes
At their Aug. 31 meeting, Austin City Council approved changes to Title 25 and Title 30 of the Land Development Code to align with these new laws. These changes, effective Sept. 1, include:
- Changes to the approval process to allow all preliminary plan and plat applications to be processed administratively. The Land Use Commission or Commissioners Court approval will still be required for certain variances.
- Modifications to the requirements for concurrent review to make it easier for certain applications to be reviewed simultaneously.
- Making Project Assessments voluntary.
- Allowing an application that is denied in accordance with state law to be updated until the application expires.
- Requiring an applicant to obtain a certificate of completeness for certain applications.
- Extending the expiration of preliminary plat and plat applications from 90 to 180 days.
- Adding an option for extending the initial 30-day review period for preliminary plans and plats.
- Allowing the expiration period to be tolled for preliminary plans, plats, and subdivision construction plan applications.
- Allowing some transportation variances to be administratively approved.
- Modifying the requirements regarding flag lots.
- Adding a new subsection in Chapter 25-4 that requires applicants to demonstrate all lots in a proposed development will have a useable lot area that can allow for future development.
- Modifying the types of documents required for preliminary plan and plat applications.
- Modifying the requirements for subdivisions where water and wastewater services are not available.
For more information, read the ordinance amending Title 25 and the ordinance amending Title 30. The Travis County Commissioners Court also approved changes to the Travis County Development Code this week.
We are working through the impacts these new bills have on our processes and appreciate your understanding during this transition. If you have any questions about these new laws or their impact on your project, please contact us.