1-1 By: Cuellar of Webb (Senate Sponsor - Zaffirini) H.B. No.
1-3 (In the Senate - Received from the House April 28, 1995;
1-4 May 1, 1995, read first time and referred to Committee on
1-5 International Relations, Trade, and Technology; May 17, 1995,
1-6 reported adversely, with favorable Committee Substitute by the
1-7 following vote: Yeas 9, Nays 0; May 17, 1995, sent to printer.)
1-8 COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR H.B. No. 1001 By: Truan
1-9 A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
1-10 AN ACT
1-11 relating to the regulation of subdivisions in economically
1-12 distressed areas and the delivery of water and sewer services to
1-13 economically distressed subdivisions; providing civil and criminal
1-15 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
1-16 SECTION 1. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS. The legislature finds
1-18 (1) economically distressed subdivisions commonly
1-19 called "colonias" are found throughout the affected counties;
1-20 (2) in recent years, the number of people living in
1-21 these economically distressed subdivisions in the affected counties
1-22 has increased;
1-23 (3) due to the implementation of the North American
1-24 Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the General Agreement on Tariffs and
1-25 Trade (GATT), other economic incentives, and the increasingly
1-26 robust economic development along the Texas-Mexico border, the
1-27 population in economically distressed subdivisions in the affected
1-28 counties will continue to increase;
1-29 (4) the residents of the economically distressed
1-30 subdivisions in the affected counties constitute an unusually
1-31 mobile population, moving to all parts of the state and beyond the
1-32 state to seek employment;
1-33 (5) these conditions allow unscrupulous individuals,
1-34 through the use of executory contracts, to take advantage of the
1-35 residents of economically distressed subdivisions by charging
1-36 usurious rates of interest as well as allowing unbridled discretion
1-37 to evict;
1-38 (6) the vast majority of housing units in these
1-39 economically distressed subdivisions lack an adequate potable water
1-40 supply and concomitant wastewater or sewer services;
1-41 (7) the lack of an adequate potable water supply and
1-42 concomitant wastewater or sewer services creates a serious and
1-43 unacceptable health hazard from third world illnesses for the
1-44 residents of the economically distressed subdivisions in the
1-45 affected counties;
1-46 (8) many of the housing units in these economically
1-47 distressed subdivisions are located in isolated rural segments in
1-48 the affected counties where the land is inexpensive, located in
1-49 floodplains, and subject to flooding after rains, leading to the
1-50 overflow of pit privies and thus to the spreading of bacteria onto
1-51 the land and into the water table;
1-52 (9) the location, proliferation, and conditions in
1-53 these economically distressed subdivisions pose a clear and
1-54 substantial threat to the environment of the border region, as well
1-55 as to all Texas;
1-56 (10) the lack of an adequate potable water supply and
1-57 concomitant wastewater or sewer services, coupled with the location
1-58 of these subdivisions, erodes the economic stability of the
1-59 affected counties, which are dependent upon a healthy public and a
1-60 safe environment;
1-61 (11) the lack of an adequate potable water supply and
1-62 concomitant wastewater or sewer services erodes the economic
1-63 stability of the affected counties, which is required for the
1-64 mutual development of trade, transportation, and commerce,
1-65 affecting not only the border region, but all regions of the state
1-66 where the trade, transportation, and commerce reach;
1-67 (12) the health risk created along the border in the
1-68 affected counties, the expected increase in population during the
2-1 next decade, and the mobility of the residents of these
2-2 economically distressed subdivisions, coupled with the fact that
2-3 the trade, transportation, and commerce along the border is the
2-4 most intense in the United States, create the very substantial risk
2-5 of third world epidemics spreading to the residents of this state
2-6 and beyond;
2-7 (13) unless adequate remedial steps are taken
2-8 immediately to alleviate the health risks to all Texans that are
2-9 caused by the lack of basic services in the affected counties, the
2-10 costs of containing an epidemic will be astronomical; and
2-11 (14) the need to address this public health and safety
2-12 hazard is a compelling crisis that must be addressed through this
2-14 SECTION 2. Sections 232.001 through 232.010, Local
2-15 Government Code, are designated as Subchapter A of Chapter 232,
2-16 Local Government Code, and Chapter 232 is amended by adding a
2-17 heading to Subchapter A to read as follows:
2-18 SUBCHAPTER A. SUBDIVISION PLATTING REQUIREMENTS IN GENERAL
2-19 SECTION 3. Section 232.0015, Local Government Code, is
2-20 amended to read as follows:
2-21 Sec. 232.0015. EXCEPTIONS <
EXCEPTION> TO PLAT REQUIREMENT< :
2-22 COUNTY DETERMINATION>. (a) To determine whether specific
2-23 divisions of land are required to be platted, a county may define
2-24 and classify the divisions. A county need not require platting for
2-25 every division of land otherwise within the scope of this
2-26 subchapter < chapter>.
2-27 (b) This subchapter does not apply to a subdivision of land
2-28 to which Subchapter B applies.
2-29 SECTION 4. Chapter 232, Local Government Code, is amended by
2-30 adding Subchapter B to read as follows:
2-31 SUBCHAPTER B. SUBDIVISION PLATTING REQUIREMENTS IN
2-32 ECONOMICALLY DISTRESSED COUNTIES
2-33 Sec. 232.021. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
2-34 (1) "Affected county" means a county:
2-35 (A) that has a per capita income that averaged
2-36 25 percent below the state average for the most recent three
2-37 consecutive years for which statistics are available and an
2-38 unemployment rate that averaged 25 percent above the state average
2-39 for the most recent three consecutive years for which statistics
2-40 are available; and
2-41 (B) any part of which is within 50 miles of an
2-42 international border.
2-43 (2) "Board" means the Texas Water Development Board.
2-44 (3) "Common promotional plan" means any plan or scheme
2-45 of operation undertaken by a single subdivider or a group of
2-46 subdividers acting in concert, either personally or through an
2-47 agent, to offer for sale or lease lots when the land is:
2-48 (A) contiguous or part of the same area of land;
2-50 (B) known, designated, or advertised as a common
2-51 unit or by a common name.
2-52 (4) "Executive administrator" means the executive
2-53 administrator of the Texas Water Development Board.
2-54 (5) "Floodplain" means any area in the 100-year
2-55 floodplain that is susceptible to being inundated by water from any
2-56 source and that is identified by the Federal Emergency Management
2-57 Agency under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C.
2-58 Sections 4001 through 4127).
2-59 (6) "Lease" includes an offer to lease.
2-60 (7) "Lot" means a parcel into which land that is
2-61 intended for residential use is divided.
2-62 (8) "Minimum state standards" means the minimum
2-63 standards set out for:
2-64 (A) adequate drinking water by or under Section
2-65 16.343(b)(1), Water Code;
2-66 (B) adequate sewer facilities by or under
2-67 Section 16.343(c)(1), Water Code; or
2-68 (C) the treatment, disposal, and management of
2-69 solid waste by or under Chapters 361 and 364, Health and Safety
3-1 (9) "Plat" means a map, chart, survey, plan, or replat
3-2 containing a description of the subdivided land with ties to
3-3 permanent landmarks or monuments.
3-4 (10) "Sell" includes an offer to sell.
3-5 (11) "Sewer," "sewer services," or "sewer facilities"
3-6 means treatment works as defined by Section 17.001, Water Code, or
3-7 individual, on-site, or cluster treatment systems such as septic
3-8 tanks and includes drainage facilities and other improvements for
3-9 proper functioning of septic tank systems.
3-10 (12) "Subdivide" means to divide the surface area of
3-11 land into lots intended primarily for residential use.
3-12 (13) "Subdivider" means an individual, firm,
3-13 corporation, or other legal entity that owns any interest in land
3-14 and that directly or indirectly subdivides land into lots as part
3-15 of a common promotional plan in the ordinary course of business.
3-16 (14) "Subdivision" means an area of land that has been
3-17 subdivided into lots for sale or lease.
3-18 (15) "Utility" means a person, including a legal
3-19 entity or political subdivision, that provides the services of:
3-20 (A) an electric utility, as defined by Section
3-21 3(c)(1), Public Utility Regulatory Act (Article 1446c, Vernon's
3-22 Texas Civil Statutes);
3-23 (B) a gas utility, as defined by Section 1.03,
3-24 Gas Utility Regulatory Act (Article 1446e, Vernon's Texas Civil
3-25 Statutes); and
3-26 (C) a water and sewer utility, as defined by
3-27 Section 13.002, Water Code.
3-28 Sec. 232.022. APPLICABILITY. (a) This subchapter applies
3-29 only to land that is subdivided into four or more lots that are
3-30 intended primarily for residential use in the jurisdiction of an
3-31 affected county. A lot is presumed to be intended for residential
3-32 use if the lot is five acres or less. This subchapter does not
3-33 apply if the subdivision is incident to the conveyance of the land
3-34 as a gift.
3-35 (b) For purposes of this section, land is considered to be
3-36 in the jurisdiction of a county if the land is located in the
3-37 county, outside the corporate limits of municipalities, and outside
3-38 the extraterritorial jurisdiction of municipalities, as determined
3-39 under Chapter 42.
3-40 Sec. 232.023. PLAT REQUIRED. (a) A subdivider of land in
3-41 an affected county must have a plat of the subdivision prepared. A
3-42 subdivision of a tract under this subsection includes a subdivision
3-43 of real property by any method of conveyance, including a contract
3-44 for deed, oral contract, contract of sale, or other type of
3-45 executory contract, regardless of whether the subdivision is made
3-46 by using a metes and bounds description.
3-47 (b) A plat required under this section must:
3-48 (1) be certified by a surveyor or engineer registered
3-49 to practice in this state;
3-50 (2) define the subdivision by metes and bounds;
3-51 (3) locate the subdivision with respect to an original
3-52 corner of the original survey of which it is a part;
3-53 (4) describe each lot, number each lot in progression,
3-54 and give the dimensions of each lot;
3-55 (5) state the dimensions of and accurately describe
3-56 each lot, street, alley, square, park, or other part of the tract
3-57 intended to be dedicated to public use or for the use of purchasers
3-58 or owners of lots fronting on or adjacent to the street, alley,
3-59 square, park, or other part;
3-60 (6) include or have attached a document containing a
3-61 description in English and Spanish of the water and sewer
3-62 facilities and roadways and easements dedicated for the provision
3-63 of water and sewer facilities that will be constructed or installed
3-64 to service the subdivision and a statement specifying the date by
3-65 which the facilities will be fully operable;
3-66 (7) have attached a document prepared by an engineer
3-67 registered to practice in this state certifying that the water and
3-68 sewer service facilities proposed under Subdivision (6) are in
3-69 compliance with the model rules adopted under Section 16.343, Water
3-70 Code, and a certified estimate of the cost to install water and
4-1 sewer service facilities;
4-2 (8) provide for drainage in the subdivision to:
4-3 (A) avoid concentration of storm drainage water
4-4 from each lot to adjacent lots;
4-5 (B) provide positive drainage away from all
4-6 buildings; and
4-7 (C) coordinate individual lot drainage with the
4-8 general storm drainage pattern for the area;
4-9 (9) include a description of the drainage requirements
4-10 as provided in Subdivision (8);
4-11 (10) identify the topography of the area;
4-12 (11) include a certification by a surveyor or engineer
4-13 registered to practice in this state describing any area of the
4-14 subdivision that is in a floodplain or stating that no area is in a
4-15 floodplain; and
4-16 (12) include certification that the subdivider has
4-17 complied with the requirements of Section 232.032 and that:
4-18 (A) the water quality and connections to the
4-19 lots meet, or will meet, the minimum state standards;
4-20 (B) sewer connections to the lots or septic
4-21 tanks meet, or will meet, the minimum requirements of state
4-23 (C) electrical connections provided to the lot
4-24 meet, or will meet, the minimum state standards; and
4-25 (D) gas connections, if available, provided to
4-26 the lot meet, or will meet, the minimum state standards.
4-27 (c) A subdivider may meet the requirements of Subsection
4-28 (b)(12)(B) through the use of a certificate issued by the
4-29 appropriate county or state official having jurisdiction over the
4-30 approval of septic systems stating that lots in the subdivision can
4-31 be adequately and legally served by septic systems.
4-32 (d) The subdivider of the tract must acknowledge the plat by
4-33 signing the plat and attached documents and attest to the veracity
4-34 and completeness of the matters asserted in the attached documents
4-35 and in the plat.
4-36 (e) The plat must be filed and recorded with the county
4-37 clerk of the county in which the tract is located. The plat is
4-38 subject to the filing and recording provisions of Section 12.002,
4-39 Property Code.
4-40 Sec. 232.024. APPROVAL BY COUNTY REQUIRED. (a) A plat
4-41 filed under Section 232.023 is not valid unless the commissioners
4-42 court of the county in which the land is located approves the plat
4-43 by an order entered in the minutes of the court. The commissioners
4-44 court shall refuse to approve a plat if it does not meet the
4-45 requirements prescribed by or under this subchapter or if any bond
4-46 required under this subchapter is not filed with the county clerk.
4-47 (b) If any part of a plat applies to land intended for
4-48 residential housing and any part of that land lies in a floodplain,
4-49 the commissioners court shall not approve the plat unless the plat
4-50 evidences a restrictive covenant as required by this subsection.
4-51 The restrictive covenant shall prohibit the construction of
4-52 residential housing in any area of the subdivision that is in a
4-53 floodplain unless the housing qualifies for insurance under the
4-54 National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. Sections 4001
4-55 through 4127).
4-56 (c) On request, the county clerk shall provide the attorney
4-57 general or the Texas Water Development Board:
4-58 (1) a copy of each plat that is approved under this
4-59 subchapter; or
4-60 (2) the reasons in writing and any documentation that
4-61 support a variance granted under Section 232.042.
4-62 Sec. 232.025. SUBDIVISION REQUIREMENTS. By an order
4-63 adopted and entered in the minutes of the commissioners court, and
4-64 after a notice is published in English and Spanish in a newspaper
4-65 of general circulation in the county, the commissioners court shall
4-66 for each subdivision:
4-67 (1) require a right-of-way on a street or road that
4-68 functions as a main artery in a subdivision, of a width of not less
4-69 than 50 feet or more than 100 feet;
4-70 (2) require a right-of-way on any other street or road
5-1 in a subdivision of not less than 40 feet or more than 70 feet;
5-2 (3) require that the shoulder-to-shoulder width on
5-3 collectors or main arteries within the right-of-way be not less
5-4 than 32 feet or more than 56 feet, and that the
5-5 shoulder-to-shoulder width on any other street or road be not less
5-6 than 25 feet or more than 35 feet;
5-7 (4) adopt, based on the amount and kind of travel over
5-8 each street or road in a subdivision, reasonable specifications
5-9 relating to the construction of each street or road;
5-10 (5) adopt reasonable specifications to provide
5-11 adequate drainage for each street or road in a subdivision in
5-12 accordance with standard engineering practices;
5-13 (6) require that each purchase contract made between a
5-14 subdivider and a purchaser of land in the subdivision contain a
5-15 statement describing how and when water, sewer, electricity, and
5-16 gas services will be made available to the subdivision; and
5-17 (7) require that the subdivider of the tract execute a
5-18 bond in the manner provided by Section 232.027.
5-19 Sec. 232.026. WATER AND SEWER SERVICE EXTENSION. (a) The
5-20 commissioners court may extend, beyond the date specified on the
5-21 plat or on the document attached to the plat, the date by which the
5-22 water and sewer service facilities must be fully operable if the
5-23 commissioners court finds the extension is reasonable and not
5-24 contrary to the public interest.
5-25 (b) The commissioners court may not grant an extension under
5-26 Subsection (a) if it would allow an occupied residence to be
5-27 without water or sewer services.
5-28 (c) If the commissioners court provides an extension, the
5-29 commissioners court shall notify the attorney general of the
5-30 extension and the reason for the extension. The attorney general
5-31 shall notify all other state agencies having enforcement power over
5-32 subdivisions in affected counties of the extension.
5-33 Sec. 232.027. BOND REQUIREMENTS. (a) Unless a person has
5-34 completed the installation of all water and sewer service
5-35 facilities required by this subchapter on the date that person
5-36 applies for final approval of a plat under Section 232.024, the
5-37 commissioners court shall require the subdivider of the tract to
5-38 execute and maintain in effect a bond or, in the alternative, a
5-39 person may make a cash deposit in an amount the commissioners court
5-40 determines will ensure compliance with this subchapter. A person
5-41 may not meet the requirements of this subsection through the use of
5-42 a letter of credit unless that letter of credit is irrevocable and
5-43 issued by an institution guaranteed by the FDIC. The subdivider
5-44 must comply with the requirement before subdividing the tract.
5-45 (b) The bond must be conditioned on the construction or
5-46 installation of water and sewer service facilities that will be in
5-47 compliance with the model rules adopted under Section 16.343, Water
5-49 Sec. 232.028. CERTIFICATION REGARDING COMPLIANCE WITH PLAT
5-50 REQUIREMENTS. (a) On the approval of a plat by the commissioners
5-51 court, the commissioners court shall issue to the person applying
5-52 for the approval a certificate stating that the plat has been
5-53 reviewed and approved by the commissioners court.
5-54 (b) On the written request of a subdivider, an owner or
5-55 resident of a lot in a subdivision, or an entity that provides a
5-56 utility service, the commissioners court shall make the following
5-57 determinations regarding the land in which the entity or
5-58 commissioners court is interested that is located within the
5-59 jurisdiction of the county:
5-60 (1) whether a plat has been prepared and whether it
5-61 has been reviewed and approved by the commissioners court;
5-62 (2) whether water service facilities have been
5-63 constructed or installed to service the subdivision under Section
5-64 232.023 and are fully operable;
5-65 (3) whether sewer service facilities have been
5-66 constructed or installed to service the subdivision under Section
5-67 232.023 and are fully operable, or if septic systems are used,
5-68 whether lots in the subdivision can be adequately and legally
5-69 served by septic systems under Section 232.023; and
5-70 (4) whether electrical and gas facilities, if
6-1 available, have been constructed or installed to service the
6-2 subdivision under Section 232.023.
6-3 (c) The request made under Subsection (b) must identify the
6-4 land that is the subject of the request.
6-5 (d) Whenever a request is made under Subsection (b), the
6-6 commissioners court shall issue the requesting party a written
6-7 certification of its determinations under that subsection.
6-8 (e) The commissioners court shall make its determinations
6-9 within 20 days after the date it receives the request under
6-10 Subsection (b) and shall issue the certificate, if appropriate,
6-11 within 10 days after the date the determinations are made.
6-12 (f) The commissioners court may adopt rules it considers
6-13 necessary to administer its duties under this section.
6-14 Sec. 232.029. CONNECTION OF UTILITIES. (a) Except as
6-15 provided by Section 232.037(c), a utility may not serve or connect
6-16 any subdivided land with water or sewer services unless the utility
6-17 receives a certificate issued by the commissioners court under
6-18 Section 232.028(a) or receives a determination from the
6-19 commissioners court under Section 232.028(b)(1) that the plat has
6-20 been reviewed and approved by the commissioners court.
6-21 (b) Except as provided by Section 232.037(c), a utility may
6-22 not serve or connect any subdivided land with electricity or gas
6-23 unless the entity receives a determination from the county
6-24 commissioners court under Section 232.028(b)(2) that adequate water
6-25 and sewer services have been installed to service the subdivision.
6-26 (c) The prohibition established by this section shall not
6-27 prohibit an electric or gas utility from providing electric or gas
6-28 utility connection or service to a lot being sold, conveyed or
6-29 purchased through a contract for deed or executory contract or
6-30 other device by a subdivider prior to July 1, 1995, which is
6-31 located within a subdivision where the utility has previously
6-32 established service and was subdivided by a plat approved prior to
6-33 September 1, 1989.
6-34 Sec. 232.030. SUBDIVISION REGULATION; COUNTY AUTHORITY. (a)
6-35 The commissioners court for each county shall adopt and enforce the
6-36 model rules developed under Section 16.343, Water Code.
6-37 (b) Except as provided by Section 16.350(d), Water Code, or
6-38 Section 232.042, the commissioners court may not grant a variance
6-39 or adopt regulations that waive any requirements of this
6-41 (c) The commissioners court shall adopt regulations setting
6-42 forth requirements for:
6-43 (1) potable water sufficient in quality and quantity
6-44 to meet minimum state standards;
6-45 (2) solid waste disposal meeting minimum state
6-46 standards and rules adopted by the county under Chapter 364, Health
6-47 and Safety Code;
6-48 (3) sufficient and adequate roads that satisfy the
6-49 standards adopted by the county;
6-50 (4) sewer facilities meeting minimum state standards;
6-51 (5) electric service and gas service; and
6-52 (6) standards for flood management meeting the minimum
6-53 standards set forth by the Federal Emergency Management Agency
6-54 under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. Sections
6-55 4001 through 4127).
6-56 (d) In adopting regulations under Subsection (c)(2), the
6-57 commissioners court may allow one or more commercial providers to
6-58 provide solid waste disposal services as an alternative to having
6-59 the service provided by the county if the commercial provider is
6-60 more efficient or is a more cost-effective alternative to county
6-61 provision of the service.
6-62 Sec. 232.031. REQUIREMENTS PRIOR TO SALE OR LEASE. (a) A
6-63 subdivider may not sell or lease land in a subdivision first
6-64 platted or replatted after July 1, 1995, unless the subdivision
6-65 plat is approved by the commissioners court in accordance with
6-66 Section 232.024.
6-67 (b) Not later than the 30th day after the date a lot is
6-68 sold, a subdivider shall record with the county clerk all sales
6-69 contracts, including the attached disclosure statement required by
6-70 Section 232.033, leases, and any other documents that convey an
7-1 interest in the subdivided land.
7-2 (c) A document filed under Subsection (b) is a public
7-4 Sec. 232.032. SERVICES PROVIDED BY SUBDIVIDER. A subdivider
7-5 having an approved plat for a subdivision shall:
7-6 (1) furnish a certified letter from the utility
7-7 provider stating that water is available to the subdivision
7-8 sufficient in quality and quantity to meet minimum state standards
7-9 required by Section 16.343, Water Code, and consistent with the
7-10 certification in the letter, and that water of that quality and
7-11 quantity will be made available to the point of delivery to all
7-12 lots in the subdivision;
7-13 (2) furnish sewage treatment facilities that meet
7-14 minimum state standards to fulfill the wastewater requirements of
7-15 the subdivision or furnish certification by the appropriate county
7-16 or state official having jurisdiction over the approval of the
7-17 septic systems indicating that lots in the subdivision can be
7-18 adequately and legally served by septic systems as provided under
7-19 Chapter 366, Health and Safety Code;
7-20 (3) furnish roads satisfying minimum standards as
7-21 adopted by the county;
7-22 (4) furnish adequate drainage meeting standard
7-23 engineering practices; and
7-24 (5) make a reasonable effort to have electric utility
7-25 service and gas utility service installed by a utility.
7-26 Sec. 232.033. ADVERTISING STANDARDS AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS
7-27 BEFORE SALE; OFFENSE. (a) Brochures, publications, and
7-28 advertising of any form relating to subdivided land:
7-29 (1) may not contain any misrepresentation; and
7-30 (2) except for a for-sale sign posted on the property
7-31 that is no larger than three feet by three feet, must accurately
7-32 describe the availability of water and sewer service facilities and
7-33 electric and gas utilities.
7-34 (b) The subdivider shall provide a copy in Spanish of all
7-35 written documents relating to the sale of subdivided land under an
7-36 executory contract, including the contract, disclosure notice, and
7-37 annual statement required by this section and a notice of default
7-38 required by Subchapter D, Chapter 5, Property Code, if:
7-39 (1) negotiations that precede the execution of the
7-40 executory contract are conducted primarily in Spanish; or
7-41 (2) the purchaser requests the written documents to be
7-42 provided in Spanish.
7-43 (c) Before an executory contract is signed by the purchaser,
7-44 the subdivider shall provide the purchaser with a written notice,
7-45 which must be attached to the executory contract, informing the
7-46 purchaser of the condition of the property that must, at a minimum,
7-47 be executed by the subdivider and purchaser, be acknowledged, and
7-48 read substantially similar to the following:
7-50 IF ANY OF THE ITEMS BELOW HAVE NOT BEEN
7-51 CHECKED, YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO LIVE ON THE
7-53 CONCERNING THE PROPERTY AT (street address or legal
7-54 description and city)
7-55 THIS DOCUMENT STATES THE TRUE FACTS ABOUT THE LAND YOU ARE
7-56 CONSIDERING PURCHASING.
7-57 CHECK OFF THE ITEMS THAT ARE TRUE:
7-58 ___ The property is in a recorded subdivision.
7-59 ___ The property has water service that provides potable
7-61 ___ The property has sewer service or a septic system.
7-62 ___ The property has electric service.
7-63 ___ The property is not in a flood-prone area.
7-64 ___ The roads are paved.
7-65 ___ No person other than the subdivider:
7-66 (1) owns the property;
7-67 (2) has a claim of ownership to the property; or
7-68 (3) has an interest in the property.
7-69 ___ No person has a lien filed against the property.
7-70 ___ There are no back taxes owed on the property.
8-2 SELLER ADVISES PURCHASER TO:
8-3 (1) OBTAIN A TITLE ABSTRACT OR TITLE
8-4 COMMITMENT REVIEWED BY AN ATTORNEY BEFORE
8-5 SIGNING A CONTRACT OF THIS TYPE; AND
8-6 (2) PURCHASE AN OWNER'S POLICY OF TITLE
8-7 INSURANCE COVERING THE PROPERTY.
8-9 (Date) (Signature of Subdivider)
8-11 (Date) (Signature of Purchaser)
8-12 (d) The subdivider shall provide any purchaser who is sold a
8-13 lot under an executory contract with an annual statement in January
8-14 of each year for the term of the executory contract. If the
8-15 subdivider mails the statement to the purchaser, the statement must
8-16 be postmarked not later than January 31.
8-17 (e) The statement under Subsection (d) must include the
8-18 following information:
8-19 (1) the amount paid under the contract;
8-20 (2) the remaining amount owed under the contract;
8-21 (3) the annual interest rate charged under the
8-22 contract during the preceding 12-month period; and
8-23 (4) the number of payments remaining under the
8-25 (f) If the subdivider fails to comply with Subsections (d)
8-26 and (e), the purchaser may:
8-27 (1) notify the subdivider that the purchaser has not
8-28 received the statement and will deduct 15 percent of each monthly
8-29 payment due until the statement is received; and
8-30 (2) not earlier than the 25th day after the date the
8-31 purchaser provides the subdivider notice under this subsection,
8-32 deduct 15 percent of each monthly payment due until the statement
8-33 is received by the purchaser.
8-34 (g) A purchaser who makes a deduction under Subsection (f)
8-35 is not required to reimburse the subdivider for the amount
8-37 (h) A person who is a seller of lots in a subdivision, or a
8-38 subdivider or an agent of a seller or subdivider, commits an
8-39 offense if the person knowingly authorizes or assists in the
8-40 publication, advertising, distribution, or circulation of any
8-41 statement or representation that the person knows is false
8-42 concerning any subdivided land offered for sale or lease. An
8-43 offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
8-44 Sec. 232.034. CONFLICT OF INTEREST; PENALTY. (a) In this
8-45 section, "subdivided tract" means a tract of land, as a whole, that
8-46 is subdivided into tracts or lots. The term does not mean an
8-47 individual lot in a subdivided tract of land.
8-48 (b) A person has an interest in a subdivided tract if the
8-50 (1) has an equitable or legal ownership interest in
8-51 the tract;
8-52 (2) acts as a developer of the tract;
8-53 (3) owns voting stock or shares of a business entity
8-55 (A) has an equitable or legal ownership interest
8-56 in the tract; or
8-57 (B) acts as a developer of the tract; or
8-58 (4) receives in a calendar year money or any thing of
8-59 value from a business entity described by Subdivision (3).
8-60 (c) A person also is considered to have an interest in a
8-61 subdivided tract if the person is related in the second degree by
8-62 consanguinity or affinity, as determined under Chapter 573,
8-63 Government Code, to a person who, under Subsection (b), has an
8-64 interest in the tract.
8-65 (d) If a member of the commissioners court has an interest
8-66 in a subdivided tract, the member shall file, before a vote or
8-67 decision regarding the approval of a plat for the tract, an
8-68 affidavit with the county clerk stating the nature and extent of
8-69 the interest and shall abstain from further participation in the
8-70 matter. The affidavit must be filed with the county clerk.
9-1 (e) A member of the commissioners court of a county commits
9-2 an offense if the member violates Subsection (d). An offense under
9-3 this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.
9-4 (f) The finding by a court of a violation of this section
9-5 does not render voidable an action of the commissioners court
9-6 unless the measure would not have passed the commissioners court
9-7 but for the vote of the member who violated this section.
9-8 (g) A conviction under Subsection (e) constitutes official
9-9 misconduct by the member and is grounds for removal from office.
9-10 Sec. 232.035. CIVIL PENALTIES. (a) A subdivider or an
9-11 agent of a subdivider may not cause, suffer, allow, or permit a lot
9-12 to be sold in a subdivision if the subdivision has not been platted
9-13 as required by this subchapter.
9-14 (b) A subdivider or an agent of a subdivider may not cause,
9-15 suffer, allow, or permit a subdivision or any part of a subdivision
9-16 in an affected county to become a public health nuisance as defined
9-17 by Section 341.011, Health and Safety Code. This subsection does
9-18 not apply to a lot for which a subdivider has conveyed title to a
9-20 (c) A subdivider who fails to provide, in the time and
9-21 manner described in the plat, for the construction or installation
9-22 of water or sewer service facilities described on the plat or on
9-23 the document attached to the plat or who otherwise violates this
9-24 subchapter or a rule or requirement adopted by the commissioners
9-25 court under this subchapter is subject to a civil penalty of not
9-26 less than $500 or more than $1,000 for each violation and for each
9-27 day of a continuing violation but not to exceed $5,000 each day and
9-28 shall also pay court costs, investigative costs, and attorney's
9-29 fees for the governmental entity bringing the suit.
9-30 (d) Except as provided by Subsection (e), a person who
9-31 violates Subsection (a) or (b) is subject to a civil penalty of not
9-32 less than $10,000 or more than $15,000 for each lot conveyed or
9-33 each subdivision that becomes a nuisance. The person must also pay
9-34 court costs, investigative costs, and attorney's fees for the
9-35 governmental entity bringing the suit.
9-36 (e) A person who violates Subsection (b) is not subject to a
9-37 fine under Subsection (d) if the person corrects the nuisance not
9-38 later than the 30th day after the date the person receives notice
9-39 from the attorney general or a local health authority of the
9-41 (f) Venue for an action under this section is in a district
9-42 court of Travis County, a district court in the county in which the
9-43 defendant resides, or a district court in the county in which the
9-44 violation or threat of violation occurs.
9-45 Sec. 232.036. CRIMINAL PENALTIES. (a) A subdivider commits
9-46 an offense if the subdivider knowingly fails to file a plat
9-47 required by this subchapter. An offense under this subsection is a
9-48 Class A misdemeanor.
9-49 (b) A subdivider who owns a subdivision commits an offense
9-50 if the subdivider knowingly fails to timely provide for the
9-51 construction or installation of water or sewer service as required
9-52 by Section 232.032 or fails to make a reasonable effort to have
9-53 electric utility service and gas utility service installed by a
9-54 utility as required by Section 232.032. An offense under this
9-55 subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.
9-56 (c) If it is shown at the trial of an offense under
9-57 Subsection (a) that the defendant caused five or more residences in
9-58 the subdivision to be inhabited, the offense is a state jail
9-60 (d) A subdivider commits an offense if the subdivider allows
9-61 the conveyance of a lot in the subdivision without the appropriate
9-62 water and sewer utilities as required by Section 232.032 or without
9-63 having made a reasonable effort to have electric utility service
9-64 and gas utility service installed by a utility as required by
9-65 Section 232.032. An offense under this section is a Class A
9-66 misdemeanor. Each lot conveyed constitutes a separate offense.
9-67 (e) Venue for prosecution for a violation under this section
9-68 is in the county in which any element of the violation is alleged
9-69 to have occurred or in Travis County.
9-70 Sec. 232.037. ENFORCEMENT. (a) The attorney general, or
10-1 the district attorney, criminal district attorney, county attorney
10-2 with felony responsibilities, or county attorney of an affected
10-3 county may take any action necessary in a court of competent
10-4 jurisdiction on behalf of the state or on behalf of residents to:
10-5 (1) enjoin the violation or threatened violation of
10-6 the model rules adopted under Section 16.343, Water Code;
10-7 (2) enjoin the violation or threatened violation of a
10-8 requirement of this subchapter or a rule adopted by the
10-9 commissioners court under this subchapter;
10-10 (3) recover civil or criminal penalties, attorney's
10-11 fees, litigation costs, and investigation costs; and
10-12 (4) require platting or replatting under Section
10-14 (b) The attorney general, at the request of the district or
10-15 county attorney with jurisdiction, may conduct a criminal
10-16 prosecution under Section 232.033(h) or 232.036.
10-17 (c) During the pendency of any enforcement action brought,
10-18 any resident of the affected subdivision, or the attorney general,
10-19 district attorney, or county attorney on behalf of a resident, may
10-20 file a motion against the provider of utilities to halt termination
10-21 of pre-existing utility services. The services may not be
10-22 terminated if the court makes an affirmative finding after hearing
10-23 the motion that termination poses a threat to public health,
10-24 safety, or welfare of the residents.
10-25 Sec. 232.038. SUIT BY PRIVATE PERSON IN ECONOMICALLY
10-26 DISTRESSED AREA. A person who has purchased or is purchasing a lot
10-27 after July 1, 1995, in a subdivision for residential purposes that
10-28 does not have water and sewer services as required by this
10-29 subchapter and is located in an economically distressed area, as
10-30 defined by Section 17.921, Water Code, in an affected county, from
10-31 a subdivider, may bring suit in the district court in which the
10-32 property is located or in a district court in Travis County to:
10-33 (1) declare the sale of the property void and require
10-34 the subdivider to return the purchase price of the property; and
10-35 (2) recover from the subdivider:
10-36 (A) the market value of any permanent
10-37 improvements the person placed on the property;
10-38 (B) actual expenses incurred as a direct result
10-39 of the failure to provide adequate water and sewer facilities;
10-40 (C) court costs; and
10-41 (D) reasonable attorney's fees.
10-42 Sec. 232.039. CANCELLATION OF SUBDIVISION. (a) A
10-43 subdivider of land in an affected county may apply to the
10-44 commissioners court to cancel all or part of the subdivision in the
10-45 manner provided by Section 232.008 after notice and hearing as
10-46 provided by this section.
10-47 (b) A resident of a subdivision for which the subdivider has
10-48 applied for cancellation under Subsection (a) has the same rights
10-49 as a purchaser of land under Section 232.008.
10-50 (c) The notice required by Section 232.008(c) must also be
10-51 published in Spanish in the newspaper of highest circulation and in
10-52 a Spanish-language newspaper in the county if available.
10-53 (d) Not later than the 14th day before the date of the
10-54 hearing, the county chief appraiser shall by regular and certified
10-55 mail provide notice containing the information described by Section
10-56 232.008(c) to:
10-57 (1) each person who pays property taxes in the
10-58 subdivision, as determined by the most recent tax roll; and
10-59 (2) each person with an interest in the property.
10-60 (e) The commissioners court may require a subdivider to
10-61 provide the court with the name and last known address of each
10-62 person with an interest in the property. For purposes of this
10-63 subsection, a person residing on a lot purchased through an
10-64 executory contract has an interest in the property.
10-65 (f) A person who fails to provide information requested
10-66 under Subsection (e) before the 31st day after the date the request
10-67 is made is liable to the state for a penalty of $500 for each week
10-68 the person fails to provide the information.
10-69 (g) The commissioners court may cancel a subdivision only
10-70 after a public hearing. At the hearing, the commissioners court
11-1 shall permit any interested person to be heard. At the conclusion
11-2 of the hearing, the commissioners court shall adopt an order on
11-3 whether to cancel the subdivision.
11-4 Sec. 232.040. REPLATTING. (a) A subdivision plat must
11-5 accurately reflect the subdivision as it develops. If there is
11-6 any change, either by the intentional act of the subdivider or by
11-7 the forces of nature, including changes in the size or dimension of
11-8 lots or the direction or condition of the roads, a plat must be
11-9 revised in accordance with Section 232.041.
11-10 (b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), a lot in a
11-11 subdivision may not be sold if the lot lacks water and sewer
11-12 services as required by this subchapter unless the lot is platted
11-13 or replatted as required by this subchapter. A subdivider or agent
11-14 of a subdivider may not transfer a lot through an executory
11-15 contract or other similar conveyance to evade the requirements of
11-16 this subchapter. The prohibition in this subsection includes the
11-17 sale of a lot:
11-18 (1) by a subdivider who regains possession of a lot
11-19 previously exempt under Subsection (c) through the exercise of a
11-20 remedy described in Section 5.061, Property Code; or
11-21 (2) for which it is shown at a proceeding brought in
11-22 the district court in which the property is located that the sale
11-23 of a lot otherwise exempt under Subsection (c) was made for the
11-24 purpose of evading the requirements of this subchapter.
11-25 (c) Subsection (b) does not apply if a seller other than a
11-26 subdivider or agent of a subdivider:
11-27 (1) resides on the lot; or
11-28 (2) purchases the lot through a contract for deed.
11-29 (d) The attorney general or a district or county attorney
11-30 with jurisdiction may bring a proceeding under Subsection (b).
11-31 (e) Existing utility services to a subdivision that must be
11-32 platted or replatted under this section may not be terminated under
11-33 Section 232.029.
11-34 Sec. 232.041. REVISION OF PLAT. (a) A person who has
11-35 subdivided land that is subject to the subdivision controls of the
11-36 county in which the land is located may apply in writing to the
11-37 commissioners court of the county for permission to revise the
11-38 subdivision plat filed for record with the county clerk.
11-39 (b) After the application is filed with the commissioners
11-40 court, the court shall publish a notice of the application in a
11-41 newspaper of general circulation in the county. The notice must
11-42 include a statement of the time and place at which the court will
11-43 meet to consider the application and to hear protests to the
11-44 revision of the plat. The notice must be published at least three
11-45 times during the period that begins on the 30th day and ends on the
11-46 seventh day before the date of the meeting. If all or part of the
11-47 subdivided tract has been sold to nondeveloper owners, the court
11-48 shall also give notice to each of those owners by certified or
11-49 registered mail, return receipt requested, at the owner's address
11-50 in the subdivided tract.
11-51 (c) During a regular term of the commissioners court, the
11-52 court shall adopt an order to permit the revision of the
11-53 subdivision plat if it is shown to the court that:
11-54 (1) the revision will not interfere with the
11-55 established rights of any owner of a part of the subdivided land;
11-57 (2) each owner whose rights may be interfered with has
11-58 agreed to the revision.
11-59 (d) If the commissioners court permits a person to revise a
11-60 subdivision plat, the person may make the revision by filing for
11-61 record with the county clerk a revised plat or part of a plat that
11-62 indicates the changes made to the original plat.
11-63 Sec. 232.042. VARIANCES. (a) On request of a subdivider or
11-64 resident purchaser, the commissioners court may grant a delay or a
11-65 variance from compliance with Section 232.040 as provided by this
11-67 (b) The commissioners court may grant a delay of two years
11-68 if the reason for the delay is to install utilities. A person may
11-69 apply for one renewal of a delay under this subsection. To obtain
11-70 an initial delay under this subsection, a subdivider must:
12-1 (1) identify the affected utility providers;
12-2 (2) provide the terms and conditions on which service
12-3 may be provided; and
12-4 (3) provide a certified letter from each utility
12-5 provider stating that it has the right to serve the area and it
12-6 will serve the area.
12-7 (c) The commissioners court may grant a delay or a variance
12-8 for a reason other than a reason described by Subsection (b) if it
12-9 is shown that compliance would be impractical or would be contrary
12-10 to the health and safety of residents of the subdivision. The
12-11 commissioners court must issue written findings stating the reasons
12-12 why compliance is impractical.
12-13 (d) A delay or a variance granted by the commissioners court
12-14 is valid only if the commissioners court notifies the attorney
12-15 general of the delay or variance and the reasons for the delay or
12-16 variance not later than the 30th day after the date the
12-17 commissioners court grants the delay or variance.
12-18 (e) Until approved water and sewer services are made
12-19 available to the subdivision, the subdivider of land for which a
12-20 delay is granted under this section must provide at no cost to
12-22 (1) 25 gallons of potable water a day for each
12-23 resident and a suitable container for storing the water; and
12-24 (2) suitable temporary sanitary wastewater disposal
12-26 SECTION 5. Subchapter B, Chapter 412, Local Government Code,
12-27 is amended by adding Section 412.015 to read as follows:
12-28 Sec. 412.015. COUNTY WATER AND SEWER UTILITY. An affected
12-29 county, as defined by Section 16.341, Water Code, may own, operate,
12-30 or maintain a water or sewer utility in the same manner as a
12-31 municipality under Chapter 402.
12-32 SECTION 6. Section 13.002, Water Code, is amended by
12-33 amending Subdivision (23) and adding Subdivision (26) to read as
12-35 (23) "Water and sewer utility," "public utility," or
12-36 "utility" means any person, corporation, cooperative corporation,
12-37 affected county, or any combination of these persons or entities,
12-38 other than a municipal corporation, water supply or sewer service
12-39 corporation, or a political subdivision of the state, except an
12-40 affected county, or their lessees, trustees, and receivers, owning
12-41 or operating for compensation in this state equipment or facilities
12-42 for the transmission, storage, distribution, sale, or provision of
12-43 potable water to the public or for the resale of potable water to
12-44 the public for any use or for the collection, transportation,
12-45 treatment, or disposal of sewage or other operation of a sewage
12-46 disposal service for the public, other than equipment or facilities
12-47 owned and operated for either purpose by a municipality or other
12-48 political subdivision of this state or a water supply or sewer
12-49 service corporation, but does not include any person or corporation
12-50 not otherwise a public utility that furnishes the services or
12-51 commodity only to itself or its employees or tenants as an incident
12-52 of that employee service or tenancy when that service or commodity
12-53 is not resold to or used by others.
12-54 (26) "Affected county" has the meaning assigned by
12-55 Section 232.021, Local Government Code.
12-56 SECTION 7. Section 13.043, Water Code, is amended by
12-57 amending Subsections (b), (c), (f), and (g) and adding Subsection
12-58 (k) to read as follows:
12-59 (b) Ratepayers of the following entities may appeal the
12-60 decision of the governing body of the entity affecting their water,
12-61 drainage, or sewer rates to the commission:
12-62 (1) a nonprofit water supply or sewer service
12-63 corporation created and operating under Chapter 76, Acts of the
12-64 43rd Legislature, 1st Called Session, 1933 (Article 1434a, Vernon's
12-65 Texas Civil Statutes);
12-66 (2) a utility under the jurisdiction of a municipality
12-67 inside the corporate limits of the municipality;
12-68 (3) a municipally owned utility, if the ratepayers
12-69 reside outside the corporate limits of the municipality; < and>
12-70 (4) a district or authority created under Article III,
13-1 Section 52, or Article XVI, Section 59, of the Texas Constitution
13-2 that provides water or sewer service to household users; and
13-3 (5) a utility owned by an affected county, if the
13-4 ratepayer's rates are actually or may be adversely affected. For
13-5 the purposes of this section ratepayers who reside outside the
13-6 boundaries of the district or authority shall be considered a
13-7 separate class from ratepayers who reside inside those boundaries.
13-8 (c) An appeal under Subsection (b) of this section must be
13-9 initiated by filing a petition for review with the commission and
13-10 the entity providing service within 90 days after the effective day
13-11 of the rate change or, if appealing under Subdivision (b)(2) or (5)
13-12 of this section, within 90 days after the date on which the
13-13 governing body of the municipality or affected county makes a final
13-14 decision. The petition must be signed by the lesser of 10,000 or 10
13-15 percent of those ratepayers whose rates have been changed and who
13-16 are eligible to appeal under Subsection (b) of this section.
13-17 (f) A retail public utility that receives water or sewer
13-18 service from another retail public utility or political subdivision
13-19 of the state, including an affected county, may appeal to the
13-20 commission a decision of the provider of water or sewer service
13-21 affecting the amount paid for water or sewer service. An appeal
13-22 under this subsection must be initiated within 90 days after the
13-23 date of notice of the decision is received from the provider of
13-24 water or sewer service by the filing of a petition by the retail
13-25 public utility.
13-26 (g) An applicant for service from an affected county or a
13-27 water supply or sewer service corporation may appeal to the
13-28 commission a decision of the county or water supply or sewer
13-29 service corporation affecting the amount to be paid to obtain
13-30 service in addition to the regular membership or tap fees. If the
13-31 commission finds the amount charged to be unreasonable, it shall
13-32 establish the fee to be paid for that applicant. An appeal under
13-33 this subsection must be initiated within 90 days after the date
13-34 written notice is provided to the applicant or member of the
13-35 decision of an affected county or water supply or sewer service
13-36 corporation < corporation's decision> relating to the applicant's
13-37 initial request for that service.
13-38 (k) Not later than the 30th day after the date of a final
13-39 decision on a rate change, the commissioners court of an affected
13-40 county shall provide written notice to each ratepayer eligible to
13-41 appeal. The notice must include the effective date of the new
13-42 rates, the new rates, and the location where additional information
13-43 on rates may be obtained.
13-44 SECTION 8. The heading to Subchapter D, Chapter 13, Water
13-45 Code, is amended to read as follows:
13-46 SUBCHAPTER D. MUNICIPALITIES AND COUNTIES
13-47 SECTION 9. Section 13.084, Water Code, is amended to read as
13-49 Sec. 13.084. AUTHORITY OF GOVERNING BODY; COST
13-50 REIMBURSEMENT. The governing body of any municipality or the
13-51 commissioners court of an affected county shall have the right to
13-52 select and engage rate consultants, accountants, auditors,
13-53 attorneys, engineers, or any combination of these experts to
13-54 conduct investigations, present evidence, advise and represent the
13-55 governing body, and assist with litigation on water and sewer
13-56 utility ratemaking proceedings. The water and sewer utility
13-57 engaged in those proceedings shall be required to reimburse the
13-58 governing body or the commissioners court for the reasonable costs
13-59 of those services and shall be allowed to recover those expenses
13-60 through its rates with interest during the period of recovery.
13-61 SECTION 10. Section 13.085, Water Code, is amended to read
13-62 as follows:
13-63 Sec. 13.085. ASSISTANCE BY COMMISSION. On request, the
13-64 commission may advise and assist municipalities and affected
13-65 counties in connection with questions and proceedings arising under
13-66 this chapter. This assistance may include aid to municipalities or
13-67 an affected county in connection with matters pending before the
13-68 commission, the courts, < or> the governing body of any
13-69 municipality, or the commissioners court of an affected county,
13-70 including making members of the staff available to them as
14-1 witnesses and otherwise providing evidence.
14-2 SECTION 11. Section 13.139(a), Water Code, is amended to
14-3 read as follows:
14-4 (a) Every retail public utility that possesses or is
14-5 required to possess a certificate of public convenience and
14-6 necessity and every district and affected county that furnishes
14-7 retail water or sewer utility service, shall furnish the service,
14-8 instrumentalities, and facilities as are safe, adequate, efficient,
14-9 and reasonable.
14-10 SECTION 12. Section 13.141, Water Code, is amended to read
14-11 as follows:
14-12 Sec. 13.141. BILLING FOR SERVICE TO STATE. A utility,
14-13 utility owned by an affected county, or municipally owned utility
14-14 may not bill or otherwise require the state or a state agency or
14-15 institution to pay for service before the service is rendered.
14-16 SECTION 13. Section 13.181, Water Code, is amended to read
14-17 as follows:
14-18 Sec. 13.181. POWER TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE; RATE REGULATION.
14-19 Subject to this chapter, the commission has all authority and power
14-20 of the state to ensure compliance with the obligations of utilities
14-21 under this chapter. For this purpose the regulatory authority may
14-22 fix and regulate rates of utilities, including rules and
14-23 regulations for determining the classification of customers and
14-24 services and for determining the applicability of rates. A rule or
14-25 order of the regulatory authority may not conflict with the rulings
14-26 of any federal regulatory body. Except Section 13.192, this
14-27 subchapter shall apply only to a utility and shall not be applied
14-28 to municipalities, counties, districts, or water supply or sewer
14-29 service corporations. The commission may adopt rules which
14-30 authorize a utility which is permitted under Section 13.242(c) to
14-31 provide service without a certificate of public convenience and
14-32 necessity to request or implement a rate increase and operate
14-33 according to rules, regulations, and standards of service other
14-34 than those otherwise required under this chapter provided that
14-35 rates are just and reasonable for customers and the utility and
14-36 that service is safe, adequate, efficient, and reasonable.
14-37 SECTION 14. Section 13.242(a), Water Code, is amended to
14-38 read as follows:
14-39 (a) Unless otherwise specified, a utility, a utility
14-40 operated by an affected county, or a water supply or sewer service
14-41 corporation may not in any way render retail water or sewer utility
14-42 service directly or indirectly to the public without first having
14-43 obtained from the commission a certificate that the present or
14-44 future public convenience and necessity will require that
14-45 installation, operation, or extension, and except as otherwise
14-46 provided by this subchapter, a retail public utility may not
14-47 furnish, make available, render, or extend retail water or sewer
14-48 utility service to any area to which retail water or sewer utility
14-49 service is being lawfully furnished by another retail public
14-50 utility without first having obtained a certificate of public
14-51 convenience and necessity that includes the area in which the
14-52 consuming facility is located.
14-53 SECTION 15. Sections 16.343(a) and (g), Water Code, are
14-54 amended to read as follows:
14-55 (a) The Texas Natural Resource Conservation < Water>
14-56 Commission and the Texas Department of Health shall, in conjunction
14-57 with the board and after consultation with the attorney general,
14-58 prepare model rules to assure that minimum standards for safe and
14-59 sanitary water supply and sewer services in residential areas of
14-60 political subdivisions, including rules of any state agency
14-61 relating to septic tanks and other waste disposal systems, are met.
14-62 (g) Before filing an application for funds for facility
14-63 engineering under Section 15.407 of this code or financial
14-64 assistance under Subchapter K, Chapter 17, of this code, a
14-65 political subdivision must adopt the model rules pursuant to this
14-66 section or, in the case of a district or nonprofit water supply
14-67 corporation, must be located in a city or county that has adopted
14-68 such rules. An affected county may not receive funds under either
14-69 Section 15.407 of this code or Subchapter K, Chapter 17, of this
14-70 code unless the county adopts and enforces the model rules.
15-1 SECTION 16. Section 16.349, Water Code, is amended by
15-2 amending Subsection (b) and adding Subsection (c) to read as
15-4 (b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), the < The> amount
15-5 charged under Subsection (a) of this section may be equal to or
15-6 less than the rates paid for water supply and sewer services by
15-7 residents of the political subdivision < and without regard to
15-8 whether the economically distressed area is located in the
15-9 boundaries of the political subdivision>.
15-10 (c) A political subdivision holding a certificate of
15-11 convenience and necessity described by Section 13.242, that extends
15-12 service to an economically distressed area outside the boundaries
15-13 of the political subdivision, may not charge the residents of the
15-14 area rates that exceed the lesser of:
15-15 (1) the cost of providing service to the area; or
15-16 (2) the rates charged other residents of the political
15-17 subdivision plus 15 percent.
15-18 SECTION 17. Section 16.352, Water Code, is amended to read
15-19 as follows:
15-20 Sec. 16.352. ENFORCEMENT OF RULES. (a) A person who
15-21 violates a rule adopted by a county or municipality pursuant to
15-22 Section 16.343 of this code is subject to a civil penalty of not
15-23 less than $1,000 < $50> nor more than $10,000 < $1,000> for each
15-24 violation and for each day of a continuing violation but not in
15-25 excess of $50,000 < $5,000> per day.
15-26 (b) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly or
15-27 intentionally violates a rule adopted under this subchapter
15-28 < pursuant to Section 16.343 of this code by a county or a
15-30 (c) An offense under Subsection (b) of this section is a
15-31 Class A < B> misdemeanor.
15-32 (d) Venue for prosecution of an offense under Subsection (b)
15-33 is in a county in which any element of the offense is alleged to
15-34 have occurred or in Travis County.
15-35 SECTION 18. Section 16.353, Water Code, is amended to read
15-36 as follows:
15-37 Sec. 16.353. INJUNCTION. In addition to other remedies, the
15-38 attorney general or< ,> the county or district attorney of the
15-39 county in which the violation occurred is< , or other local
15-40 officials are> authorized to apply to the district court for and
15-41 the court in its discretion may grant the state or political
15-42 subdivision, without bond or other undertaking, any injunction that
15-43 the facts may warrant including temporary restraining orders,
15-44 temporary injunctions after notice and hearing, and permanent
15-45 injunctions enjoining a violation of the rules.
15-46 SECTION 19. Subchapter J, Chapter 16, Water Code, is amended
15-47 by adding Section 16.356 to read as follows:
15-48 Sec. 16.356. VENUE. A suit under this subchapter for
15-49 injunctive relief or for the recovery of a civil penalty may be
15-50 brought in a district court in:
15-51 (1) the county in which the defendant resides;
15-52 (2) the county in which the alleged violation or
15-53 threat of violation occurs; or
15-54 (3) Travis County.
15-55 SECTION 20. Section 17.921(1), Water Code, is amended to
15-56 read as follows:
15-57 (1) "Economically distressed area" means an area in
15-59 (A) water supply or sewer services are
15-60 inadequate to meet minimal needs of residential users as defined by
15-61 board rules;
15-62 (B) financial resources are inadequate to
15-63 provide water supply or sewer services that will satisfy those
15-64 needs; and
15-65 (C) the percentage < 80 percent> of the dwellings
15-66 occupied on June 1, 1989, to be served by financial assistance
15-67 under this subchapter was at least:
15-68 (i) 80 percent; or
15-69 (ii) 50 percent, if the services provided
15-70 by financial assistance under this subchapter can be provided by
16-1 common or regional facilities in a cost-effective manner in
16-2 conjunction with service provided to an economically distressed
16-3 area as determined under the other provisions of this subdivision
16-4 < were occupied on June 1, 1989>.
16-5 SECTION 21. Section 17.933, Water Code, is amended by adding
16-6 Subsection (g) to read as follows:
16-7 (g) The amount of financial assistance provided by the board
16-8 to a political subdivision for service to areas defined in Section
16-9 17.921(1)(C)(ii) for which repayment is not required is 50 percent
16-10 of the state bond proceeds used for the design and construction of
16-11 the service.
16-12 SECTION 22. Subchapter K, Chapter 17, Water Code, is amended
16-13 by adding Section 17.936 to read as follows:
16-14 Sec. 17.936. RECOVERY OF ECONOMICALLY DISTRESSED AREA IMPACT
16-15 FEES. (a) It is the intent of the legislature that a private
16-16 developer not unduly benefit from the expenditure by the state of
16-17 public funds on infrastructure for public benefit.
16-18 (b) In this section:
16-19 (1) "Capital improvement costs" includes:
16-20 (A) the construction contract price;
16-21 (B) surveying and engineering fees;
16-22 (C) land acquisition costs, including land
16-23 purchases, court awards and costs, attorney's fees, and expert
16-24 witness fees;
16-25 (D) fees actually paid or contracted to be paid
16-26 to an independent, qualified engineer or financial consultant who
16-28 (i) preparing or updating the capital
16-29 improvements plan; and
16-30 (ii) not an employee of the subdivision;
16-32 (E) projected interest charges and other finance
16-33 costs that are used for the payment of principal and interest on
16-34 bonds, notes, or other obligations issued by or on behalf of the
16-35 political subdivision to finance the capital improvements plan and
16-36 that are not used to reimburse bond funds expended for facilities
16-37 that are not identified in the capital improvements plan of the
16-39 (2) "Economically distressed areas program impact
16-40 fees" means the pro rata share of the capital improvement costs
16-41 attributable to each lot in an economically distressed area.
16-42 (c) This section applies only to property located in:
16-43 (1) the unincorporated area of an affected county, as
16-44 defined by Section 16.341; and
16-45 (2) an economically distressed area, as defined by
16-46 Section 16.341.
16-47 (d) The provider of water or wastewater utility service to
16-48 an economically distressed area may recover from a developer or
16-49 owner of an undeveloped lot economically distressed areas program
16-50 impact fees as provided by rules adopted by the board.
16-51 SECTION 23. Section 26.001, Water Code, effective until
16-52 delegation of NPDES permit authority, is amended by adding
16-53 Subdivision (20) to read as follows:
16-54 (20) "Affected county" has the meaning assigned by
16-55 Section 232.021, Local Government Code.
16-56 SECTION 24. Section 26.001, Water Code, effective upon
16-57 delegation of NPDES permit authority, is amended by adding
16-58 Subdivision (26) to read as follows:
16-59 (26) "Affected county" has the meaning assigned by
16-60 Section 232.021, Local Government Code.
16-61 SECTION 25. Section 26.123, Water Code, effective until
16-62 delegation of NPDES permit authority, is amended by adding
16-63 Subsection (e) to read as follows:
16-64 (e) If the attorney general determines that a subdivider, as
16-65 defined by Section 232.021, Local Government Code, of land in an
16-66 affected county has violated or is threatening to violate a
16-67 provision of this chapter, or a rule adopted by the commission
16-68 under this chapter, the executive director on the request of the
16-69 attorney general shall conduct an investigation of the alleged
16-70 violation. The executive director shall consult with the attorney
17-1 general during the investigation to determine appropriate remedial
17-3 SECTION 26. Section 26.123, Water Code, effective upon
17-4 delegation of NPDES permit authority, is amended by adding
17-5 Subsection (j) to read as follows:
17-6 (j) If the attorney general determines that a subdivider, as
17-7 defined by Section 232.021, Local Government Code, of land in an
17-8 affected county has violated or is threatening to violate a
17-9 provision of this chapter, or a rule adopted by the commission
17-10 under this chapter, the executive director on the request of the
17-11 attorney general shall conduct an investigation of the alleged
17-12 violation. The executive director shall consult with the attorney
17-13 general during the investigation to determine appropriate remedial
17-15 SECTION 27. Section 26.124, Water Code, is amended by adding
17-16 Subsection (c) to read as follows:
17-17 (c) If the attorney general determines that a violation of
17-18 Section 26.121 or a rule adopted under that section has occurred or
17-19 is about to occur in an affected county, the attorney general may
17-20 institute a civil suit in district court for injunctive relief or
17-21 civil penalties against the person who has or is about to commit a
17-23 SECTION 28. Subchapter E, Chapter 2306, Government Code, is
17-24 amended by adding Section 2306.0985 to read as follows:
17-25 Sec. 2306.0985. RECOVERY OF FUNDS FROM CERTAIN SUBDIVISIONS.
17-26 (a) It is the intent of the legislature that a private developer
17-27 not unduly benefit from the expenditure by the state of public
17-28 funds on infrastructure for public benefit.
17-29 (b) This section applies only to property located in:
17-30 (1) the unincorporated area of an affected county, as
17-31 defined by Section 16.341, Water Code; and
17-32 (2) an economically distressed area, as defined by
17-33 Section 16.341, Water Code.
17-34 (c) As a condition for the receipt of state funds, and to
17-35 the extent permitted by law, federal funds, the department may
17-36 require a political entity with authority to tax and place a lien
17-37 on property to place a lien or assessment on property that benefits
17-38 from the expenditure of state or federal funds for water,
17-39 wastewater, or drainage improvements affecting the property. The
17-40 lien or assessment may not exceed an amount equal to the cost of
17-41 making the improvements as those costs relate to the property. The
17-42 lien or assessment expires 10 years after the date the improvements
17-43 are completed.
17-44 (d) If property subject to a lien or assessment under
17-45 Subsection (c) is sold, the seller must pay to the political entity
17-46 from the proceeds of the sale an amount equal to the value of the
17-47 lien or assessment. This subsection does not apply if:
17-48 (1) the reason for the sale is:
17-49 (A) the disposition of the estate following the
17-50 death of the owner of the property; or
17-51 (B) the owner because of physical condition must
17-52 reside in a continuous care facility and no longer resides on the
17-53 property; or
17-54 (2) the owner of the property is a person of low or
17-55 moderate income.
17-56 (e) If property subject to a lien or assessment under
17-57 Subsection (c) is repossessed by the holder of a note or a contract
17-58 for deed, the holder must pay to the political entity an amount
17-59 equal to the value of the lien or assessment before taking
17-60 possession of the property.
17-61 (f) Subject to rules adopted by the department, a political
17-62 entity shall collect payments made under this section and remit the
17-63 funds for deposit in the treasury to the credit of a special
17-64 account in the general revenue fund that may be appropriated only
17-65 to the department for use in administering a program under Section
17-67 (g) After public notice and comment, the department shall
17-68 adopt rules to administer this section. The department may provide
17-69 by rule for the reduction or waiver of a fee authorized by this
18-1 SECTION 29. The following sections of the Local Government
18-2 Code are repealed: Sections 232.001(f), 232.0035, 232.0036,
18-3 232.0046, 232.0047, and 232.0049.
18-4 SECTION 30. (a) The changes in law made in Sections 4 and
18-5 17 of this Act relating to criminal offenses apply only to an
18-6 offense committed on or after the effective date of this Act. For
18-7 purposes of this subsection, an offense is committed before the
18-8 effective date of this Act if any element of the offense occurs
18-9 before that date. An offense committed before the effective date
18-10 of this Act is governed by the law in effect when the offense was
18-11 committed, and the former law is continued in effect for this
18-13 (b) The changes in law made in Sections 4 and 17 of this Act
18-14 relating to civil penalties apply only to a violation that occurs
18-15 on or after the effective date of this Act. For purposes of this
18-16 subsection, a violation is committed before the effective date of
18-17 this Act if any element of the violation occurs before that date.
18-18 A violation committed before the effective date of this Act is
18-19 governed by the law in effect when the violation occurred, and the
18-20 former law is continued in effect for this purpose.
18-21 SECTION 31. This Act does not exempt the deliberations of a
18-22 political subdivision from the requirements of Chapter 551,
18-23 Government Code.
18-24 SECTION 32. The importance of this legislation and the
18-25 crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
18-26 emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
18-27 constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
18-28 days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended,
18-29 and that this Act take effect and be in force from and after its
18-30 passage, and it is so enacted.
18-31 * * * * *