Comment of the Day: The Kind of Zoning Houston Does Have

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE KIND OF ZONING HOUSTON DOES HAVE Building Setbacks“. . . I always chuckle a bit when someone thinks that the free market governs Houston because the City doesn’t have zoning. Aside from land-use restrictions, every regulation that is usually found in a zoning ordinance is in force in Houston. Tree and landscape requirements. Setbacks. Sign ordinance. Curb cut requirements. Buffering. Parking requirements. Traffic study requirements. Plan reviews for subdivisions. Regulations for building in flood plains and finish floor elevations. The list goes on. And like every other city, Houston enforces building, electrical, fire, residential, and plumbing codes (with amendments). So contrary to what a lot of a lot of people think, Houston is not a developer’s free for all. (Not that it wasn’t in the 1970s, but I digress) If anything, it’s harder to build in Houston because the regulations are so damned hard to find sometimes. In most places, it’s all neatly packaged in a Zoning Ordinance. In Houston, it’s all over the Code of Ordinances, and you have to know where to look. As HouCynic noted, Houston enforces neighborhood deed restrictions, but the County Clerk actually records those Restrictions, so it’s not a one-stop-shop. . . .” [ZAW, commenting on Medistar’s Planned Webster Sprawl Plaza; The Most Congested Roads in Texas; Free Metro Rides] Illustration: Lulu

8 Comment

  • Aside from the city of Houston, there are 33 municipalities in the Houston MSA that do have zoning ordinances.

  • “f anything, it’s harder to build in Houston because the regulations are so damned hard to find sometimes. In most places, it’s all neatly packaged in a Zoning Ordinance. ”

    That’s not true. Nearly all cities have separate building codes, sign ordinances, roadway ordinances, etc separate and apart from their zoning ordinance.

  • It’s always frustrating when I hear Houston’s sprawl and prevalence of strip malls blamed on our lack of zoning. You can blame these on the setbacks and parking minimums that came along with Chapter 42, which made it illegal to build walkable neighborhoods.

  • People who say Houston doesn’t have ANY zoning are incorrect/ill-informed. St George Place in the Uptown/Galleria is Houston’s first and only zoned area (since the 1990’s). People need to get their facts straight … and at least say more accurately “Houston has very little zoning”, not NONE.

  • Schmetbacks! Houston has Ordinances and these 1) fill the coffers and 2) create a level BUSINESS playing field.
    There is no zoning to benefit citizens – that is, residents, homeowners, people. Nothing to keep a neighborhood or recreational area intact, nothing to limit or plan for traffic, pollution, waste…
    Its left up to corporations.
    There is no vision or blueprint for future livability except the hope that successful companies and developers will provide a place people want to be.
    So far so good, but we have our problems.

  • … says a developer. Such BS.

  • It appears that deed restrictions don’t count.

  • Well most of the mentioned land-use restrictions/zoning ordinances on the books are a joke. When I protested at City Hall about corner sight lines for an apartment complex, City Council listened to my concerns and then promptly gave the complex the sought after sight lines. A lot of good that did! Several of us showed up to protest it and apartments won anyway with very little discussion. What really chapped my ass about it was when Council questioned some information on the plans the apartment complex’s response was “oh that will be in our revised plan to be submitted later”. WTH? What are you approving then? These incomplete plans or some other plan that will be shown at a later date that may or may not have a revision snuck in? What good is an ordinance or restriction if they can just be overruled with the wave of a hand? Tsk tsk.