Last year, Council Member Green facilitated two (2) District-wide community meetings so personnel from the Planning and Development Department (“Planning”) could inform civic leaders about recent amendments to Chapter 42 of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances and new tools which might be available to help protect and preserve your neighborhoods. This ordinance goes into full-effect in May, 2014.
Revisions to Chapter 42 extend the minimum lot size and minimum building line requirements to neighborhoods within the corporate boundaries of the City of Houston that do not have a minimum lot size or minimum building lines established in their deed restrictions.
For those neighborhoods thought to already have language in their restrictions addressing the minimum lot size and/or minimum building line requirements, we strongly encourage you to consult with a private attorney to ensure your restrictions are valid in all respects and provide the protections set forth therein. It’s important to understand the District K office simply reviewed your restrictions for the pertinent language and is making no assurances or representations regarding the actual validity of your deed restrictions.
The applications and information about this development tool can be found online at http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/Neighborhood/prevailLotBldg.html.
When you make your appointment with Planning, please bring a copy of your most recent deed restrictions. Below is the initial process for the Special Minimum Lot Size and Minimum Building Line Application:
Step 1: Meet with Staff of the Planning and Development Department
Contact Kevin Calfee at 713-837-7768 or Kevin.Calfee@HoustonTX.gov to schedule a meeting prior to submitting an application.
Step 2: Submit a Complete Application
Once the application is submitted, the Planning Department will confirm its receipt to the applicant in writing and the Planning Director will have thirty (30) days to determine whether the application is Initially Complete. If the application is deemed incomplete, it will be returned with an explanation of what is needed to make it complete.
If the application is complete, the Planning & Development Department will schedule a public meeting (based on the applicant’s suggestions) to be held no later than sixty (60) days from that date and will notify property owners by mail no later than fifteen (15) days before the meeting.
Step 3: Post Notification Signs
The applicant must post the required signs within the area immediately upon being notified that the application is complete.
Step 4: Attend the public meeting
Following the public meeting, the Department will mail by First Class mail the Property Owner Response Forms to all property within the area. This starts the 30-day voting period.
Step 5: Return your Response Form
After the 30-day voting period:
- If 55% of the lots within the proposed area support the designation of the proposed area, then the Planning Director forwards the application to Planning Commission.
- If less than 55% of the lots within the proposed area support the designation of the proposed area, then the Planning Director may:
- a. modify the boundary to attain the 55% support and forward the application to the Planning Commission, or
- b. determine the application fails and take no further action.
The Department will notify all property owners by First Class mail no less than 15 days prior to the Planning Commission hearing date.
Step 6: Attend the Houston Planning Commission Public Hearing (optional)
Members of the public may present comments in person or in writing at the public hearing. After the public hearing, the Planning Commission shall consider whether to recommend that the City Council establish the designation. If the Commission decides to recommend that the City Council establish the designation, the Planning Director shall refer the application to the City Council. Should the Commission deny the application, the decision of the Commission shall be final.
Step 7: Attend the Council Meeting (optional)
The City Council’s action to approve or deny the designation is final. Persons wanting to address City Council during the Public Speaking portion of the meeting should contact the City Secretary at (832) 393-1100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, the amended Ch. 42 ordinance goes into full-effect May 2014, if in doubt, schedule an appointment with Kevin Calfee to start the process.