RESTRICTIONS ON MUNICIPAL TREE ORDINANCES CUT DOWN, SIGNED BY GOVERNOR The special session of the Texas Legislature ended without passing a law — which Governor Abbott had wanted — banning cities from regulating owners’ rights to cut down trees on their property. But the Lege didn’t exactly leave the issue alone, either: HB7, signed into law earlier this week by Governor Abbott and scheduled to go into effect on December 1, prevents municipalities (that haven’t already done so) from charging homeowners a fee for trees cut down on their property that are smaller than 10 in. — and requires cities that levy any mitigation fee for cutting down larger trees to also allow a credit for planting 2-in.-diameter replacements. The credits would be required to range from 40 percent to 100 percent of the fee itself; if the property is an owner-occupied residence, the credit would have to equal the mitigation fee. [Houston Chronicle ($); bill text; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox
Why is the state govt able to get away with creating laws directing how cities handles citizens’ trees? Seems overreaching even if it is an attempt to defends state citizens’ property rights and money.
Many people feel a tree is an amenity that improves quality of life – regardless of where it’s growing.
We’ve all seen shady streets of small old houses transformed into a heat box when every lot is levelled to make way for big new houses. Sure, wait 30 years and you’ll have shade again…
Property rights are not absolute. There is a 150 year constitutional precedence supporting public regulaton of private land. To the extent that ones use of land affects others (environmentally, quiet enjoyment, property values, etc) -regulation is necessary/warranted. It is often a fine balance-
Dana, I thought it was obvious. “States rights” has always been a dogwhistle for “conservative control”. It’s no coincidence that the GOP has demanded state control at the same time that they’ve targeted their voting efforts at state legislatures. That’s how conservatives have come to dominate 2/3 of the state governments. And cities are notoriously much more liberal than the rural areas around them, hence why they don’t make an argument for “local control”, only for state’s right to control.
@Dana, the State controls what political subdivisions can do. The powers of cities are defined in state law, and can be changed by the Legislature.