HB2439 is Detrimental to Texas Cities
Update: On June 14, Governor Abbott signed this terrible legislation into law. Although HB2439 didn't get vetoed as it should've been, we are declaring this petition a victory. It was amazing to see everyone coming together and advocating for Texas cities and the people who live in them. Let's remember this, how loud we can be, next session and kill bad bills in COMMITTEE before they can get legs. Thank you to everyone who signed, made thoughtful comments, shared the petition, and/or did other actions to oppose this Bill.
This detrimental Bill was passed in the Texas Legislature on 5/23/19 and it's with the Governor for signature SO SIGN THIS AS SOON AS YOU GET IT. We still have the opportunity to illustrate opposition to this Bill, however, and the Governor can veto it. This petition is to request the Governor to veto HB2439. It is our understanding that not one city in Texas is in favor of this Bill. Provided below is a very short summary of what the Bill means for cities and for Texans.
In a nutshell, HB2439 will prohibit city governments from regulating aesthetic finishing materials, i.e. how residential or commercial buildings look, and it also will prohibit cities from requiring anything other than the bare minimum installation and construction requirements as set forth by the National Building Code.
Economic development will be adversely affected. If cities no longer have the ability to regulate aesthetics and quality development, especially in commercial or mixed-use areas, it will adversely affect economic development, both in cities and in the State of Texas.
Aesthetics in cities will be dramatically affected. Communities throughout the country have found that their residents not only support the involvement of their elected representatives in maintaining the physical character of their city, town, or county, but they insist on it. They are often irate when government fails to prevent an individual from charting his or her own course in a way that is perceived to have a negative effect on the aesthetics of the community.
Imagine the most beautiful area in your community getting a five-story, neon green building with neon pink polka dots downtown, or the most scenic places and neighborhoods in Texas getting monstrosities right in the middle of them which meet just the minimums of the National Building Code. That's just the aesthetic side of the Bill, let alone the installation and construction side of development that would be left to bare minimums.
The Bill will have many unintended consequences. Infill projects, i.e. those projects going into or renovating in already developed areas, would no longer have to match the existing character, look, feel, or aesthetics of their neighbors, regardless of the area they are in and what protections may be applicable to the area currently. Beautiful places and neighborhoods could be completely destroyed by one flippant or careless property owner or developer, or worse yet, a group of them. Cities’ abilities to protect existing residents’ or business owners’ investments and well-being would be severely affected. This Bill takes away the ability of a city to make reasonable design standards, in collaboration with the community and their vision, through required state public engagement processes and community workshops.
The Bill prohibits cities from requiring installations or methods of construction that they have identified to be safest for residents, employees, or visitors. From colors to materials to quality to safety protections, everything will be bare minimum, and some places will be so drastically affected by the next legislative session, when this bill will no doubt be on the docket for repeal or significant revision if signed into law, the damage will be lasting and irreversible.
It appears to not only prohibit the adoption of ordinances that require more stringent building materials or processes than the bare minimum of the National Building Code, it also appears to retroactively prohibit enforcing building material requirements more stringent than the National Building Code. It is therefore retroactive and would affect existing zoning ordinances and planned developments that have already been adopted and constructed. Areas like Las Colinas, Addison Circle, Southlake Town Square, Lakeway, Watters Creek, and numerous other specialized developments, without deed restrictions, that were requested by the development community and property owners, approved by the communities they are in, will find their regulations can no longer be enforced. There are exemptions for historic buildings and certain other areas under very specific criteria, but those have to meet certain state guidelines, and many historic structures and special places are not under those protections.
Bill text here: https://capitol.texas.gov/Search/DocViewer.aspx?ID...
PLEASE SIGN TODAY-- THIS IS TIME SENSITIVE. PLEASE INCLUDE ANY STATEMENT FROM YOUR CITY OR ORGANIZATION OR FROM YOURSELF IN THE COMMENT WHEN YOU SIGN. PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR CITY OR ORGANIZATION WITH YOUR NAME IN THE NAME FIELD. YOU CAN COPY AND PASTE ENTIRE LETTERS IN THE COMMENTS. IF YOU RUN OUT OF SPACE, INCLUDE A GOOGLE DRIVE OR DROPBOX LINK TO YOUR CITY'S LETTER.
Petition Manager contact info:
Abra Nusser, AICP