Monday, February 20, 2017

The most important step #TXLEGE can take to rein in ever-increasing housing costs....

"They shall build houses and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit."
Isaiah 65:21

We finally got around to reading the paper on land-use restrictions that TPPF released last year; the whole thing is worth a gander, but the following recommendation is, by far, the single most important step the legislature can take to rein in housing costs:
Strengthen statutory protections against regulatory takings in Sec. 2007.003, Government Code.

Although the Texas Constitution prohibits state and local governments from taking private property without adequate compensation, the judiciary has all but limited the provision’s application to physical intrusions and/or seizures. In the instance of a regulatory taking—that is when the government restricts an owner’s right to use his land, thereby markedly reducing its value—Texans have to rely on the Private Real Property Protection Act of 1995 for a remedy. Lawmakers, however, exempted municipalities from the Act’s reach, enabling them to impose heavy-handed restrictions on a parcel’s land use without ever having to worry about the costs inflicted on the owner and/ or prospective seller. By closing that exemption, and by applying the compensation requirement to municipal regulations that diminish a property’s value by at least 20 percent, the Texas Legislature would force local governments to confront and assess the real consequences of their land use and zoning policies. Local governments would still have the power to zone for compatible uses, but the worst manifestations of that power. In other words, those policies that have the gravest impact on housing development would be discouraged.
Read the whole thing here.


It's worth pointing out that, before he became Lt. Governor, then-Senator Dan Patrick filed bills related to this subject (that died without a hearing)...which means an advocate exists in leadership.  Craig Estes filed a similar bill (that met a similar fate) last session.  We've heard rumors there will be a reprisal this session, but so far that appears to be more talk than action.

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