City leaders are asking Gov. Greg Abbott to veto a bill that would prohibit cities from requiring or forbidding the use of certain building materials, such as masonry, in new construction.
House Bill 2439, if signed, would prohibit local communities from passing a whole host of ordinances governing what the exterior of a building must look like, according to the bill’s text.
City of Galveston leaders aren’t too worried because the bill includes an exception for historic districts and for Texas Windstorm Insurance Association requirements, they said.
But it would prevent League City from enforcing a masonry ordinance it passed in 2016 in an attempt by the city to impose higher building standards.
For most new structures in commercial zones, exterior building walls facing the street or public spaces have to be 100 percent masonry. All other exterior building walls have to be at least 85 percent masonry. This doesn’t include doors and windows.
New multifamily structures must also have 100 percent masonry on street-facing walls, but other business expansions of 50 percent or less of existing floor area would not have to adhere to League City’s new masonry standards.
House Bill 2439 passed the Texas House in May, with almost all of the Galveston County representatives voting in its favor. Texas Rep. Greg Bonnen abstained from that vote, records show.
But if Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs House Bill 2439, currently sitting on his desk, it could hamper communities’ ability to pass and maintain ordinances like League City’s, local leaders said.
“I just don’t know that our building requirements are that egregious,” League City Mayor Pat Hallisey said. “People are still coming here. If they were too tough, then they wouldn’t want to be here. They’d find another city that isn’t as tough.”
Abbott has until June 16 to sign or veto the bill. It will become law if he does nothing.
Several other cities, including Friendswood, are preparing to join League City in asking Abbott to veto the bill. The Friendswood city council on June 3 passed a resolution to ask Abbott to oppose the measure, said Jeff Newpher, spokesman for the city.