The League City City Council took action Sept. 24 on an item tabled Aug. 27, voting 6-2 to require the establishment of homeowners associations and business owners associations in areas with a common property, such as a drainage ditch or park.
Originally, the city proposed that new subdivisions with five or more lots be required to establish homeowners associations, and non-residential subdivisions would be required to establish business owners associations.
The proposal was in response to House Bill 2439, which restricts cities from regulating what materials the exteriors of residential and commercial buildings can be made of. Through homeowners and business owners associations, the regulations of which are exempt from HB 2439, the city can maintain some control over the look and feel of the city at large, officials said.
“All we can do is make marginal inroads back against what’s been taken away from the cities by the legislator, period,” said David Hoover, director of planning and development for League City. “We can refuse to roll over and play dead.”
After council tabled discussion Aug. 27, city staff recommended future developments with a common property be required to have homeowners or business owners associations to establish who is responsible for maintaining common property, Hoover said.
Council Member Hank Dugie opposed the idea, saying while he supports local control, he believes more in property rights. Cities, he said, should not regulate buildings much beyond zoning and codes to make sure they are safe.
“We truly are experiencing a chipping-away of property rights in League City,” Dugie said.
Council Member Nick Long said landowners give up some of their property rights when they buy land inside cities, and they have to adhere to zoning and other laws. The benefit is that they can enjoy the advantages of owning land inside a city, Long said.
If common areas, such as drainage ditches or parks, are not properly maintained, they can flood or become mosquito breeding grounds or create other problems. The city’s proposal would allow the city to have quality development in the long run, Long said.
Council Member Larry Millican agreed.
“I believe that by doing nothing—that that is failure in itself,” he said.
IN OTHER BUSINESS
The League City City Council also approved a proposal Sept. 24 to spend $1.47 million to buy a new ladder truck for the League City Fire Department.
The department recently retired its nearly 26-year-old ladder truck. LCFD Chief Gary Warren said the truck would die when idling when responding to a fire and became unsafe for firefighters to depend on.
“It’s got some problems that can’t be fixed,” he said.
The department has tried several times to spend $10,000 to repair the ladder truck only for it to die again. The council voted unanimously to buy a new ladder truck, and the old one will be auctioned off for up to $10,000.
Jake 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. Today, he covers everything from aerospace to transportation to flood mitigation.