League City updates building permitting process, zoning ordinances

The League City City Council on June 11 updated its process for determining building permit and inspection fees and updated its zoning ordinances for the first time since 2005.

The state Legislature passed and the governor on May 21 signed into law House Bill 852. The bill restricts municipalities from considering a residence’s value or the cost of its construction or improvement when determining the cost of building permit or inspection fees.

League City, like many other Texas municipalities, used a valuation system to determine permit fees, but the new law requires that change. With the City Council’s approval, League City will now use a square-foot system to determine fees.

“There are not that many other options you can pick from,” Director of Planning and Development David Hoover said.

League City will charge $0.40 per square foot for building and inspection fees for new or improved residences. Other cities across the state are making similar changes, charging $0.35 to $0.80 per square foot.

City staff has done calculations and determined there will be minor differences in fee costs for most buildings but a slight increase for larger homes.

Council Member Larry Millican and Mayor Pat Hallisey both criticized the law and how it restricts local control. The state has been “assaulting” cities’ ability to govern themselves despite the fact the United States was founded on the idea of local control, Hallisey said.

“Somehow we’ve gotten away from that,” he said.

The City Council also updated several sections of the city’s zoning ordinances for the first time in more than a decade.

Under the updated ordinances, special-use permits will be required for self-storage businesses, car washes, gas stations and used-vehicle dealerships. The ordinances also classify microbreweries, pet hotels, event venues and salvage yards, all of which previously did not have definitions under the zoning ordinances.

Parking standards have been amended as such that a special-use permit is not required for shared parking, and concrete areas are required for parking and storing vehicles. The ordinance changes also remove a couple overlay districts and remove some definitions used to categorize hotels.
By Jake Magee
Jake Magee has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper.

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