In response to legislation passed by the Texas Legislature in June, the Hudson Oaks City Council held a public hearing and subsequently amended certain sections of its subdivision ordinance at its meeting Oct. 26.
House Bill 3699 further clarifies previous “shot clock” regulations set in place to prevent cities from delaying or denying developers’ plats until certain requirements have been met.
Rob Allibon, Hudson Oaks City Attorney, explained that the passing of the bill set into motion changes that need to be made in order for Hudson Oaks to be compliant, while giving a brief background of the initial HB3167 that passed in late 2019.
“Cities had to amend ordinances regarding timing for plat approval – referred to as the shot clock,” he said.
The clock gave cities 30 days to accept, review and approve, approve with conditions or deny a plat. The timeline started from when an application was filed with a municipality. If no action is taken prior to the 30 days ending, a plat then becomes automatically approved.
Initially, the language in the bill was vague enough that it left many cities interpreting the meaning of what a “filed” application was. Some considered it to be when all of the required paperwork was submitted, meaning anything from surveys, traffic studies, etc. had to be turned in prior to it being accepted by a city and starting the clock. Others thought it was at the time the fee was paid and an application was rendered.
Hudson Oaks amended its processes and ordinances to reflect the changes, but some issues were still created with the timing of certain plats that needed to be brought before city council for approval since public notices are required. HB 3699 fixes that problem as it gives staff the ability to sign off on the plat without it needing to be approved by council.
“Essentially, plats cannot be denied unless there are technical requirements not being met, meaning it is more of a ministerial act and city council would only be rubber stamping the required approval,” said Hayden Brodowsky, Hudson Oaks Director of Operations.
He added that zoning requests are not affected and will still be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Mayor Tom Fitzpatrick opened the public hearing, but no-one spoke and he then immediately closed the hearing. Council then approved the changes to the ordinance.
Also at the meeting, Corporal Dustin Kennedy answered questions regarding the monthly police report. Of note was that accidents were up about 25 percent year-over-year, which he attributed to increased traffic in the area and the amount of cars now entering the Highway 180 corridor.
Fitzpatrick commented that he didn’t see that changing anytime soon, a point that was highlighted by City Administrator Sterling Naron in the ensuing financial report while naming Chuy’s, Jersey Mike’s, and Jack in the Box as some of the restaurants coming to Hudson Oaks soon.
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