Proposed Amendments to Chapter 42
The Houston Planning Commission acted on the proposed amendments to Chapter 42 of the Code of Ordinances, the City’s standards for subdivision platting and forwarded them to the City Council on May 27, 2021.
These proposed amendments will eliminate inconsistencies, clarify and/or codify some requirements and policies, simplify the notification area and provide additional time for notice making the subdivision platting process more efficient.
Following is the list of proposed amendments and refer to the redline documents for the draft language.
- Subdivision naming standards
- Public notification requirements
- Requirements for replats
- Time period for submitting plat applications
- Street Width in Place ordinance boundaries
- Clarify the term “nonresidential”
- Special Minimum Lot Size and Special Minimum Building Line variance requirements
- Temporary access easement for utility facilities
- Identifying floodplains on General Plans
For any questions related to these amendments, call 832-393-6600.
Planning Commission meetings have been held virtually since April 16, 2020 due to the pandemic.
The next meeting is on July 22, 2021 and it will remain virtual. The meeting agenda and details will be posted on this page 72 hours in advance of each meeting.To download the meeting agenda or join the July 22, 2021 Houston Planning Commission please see the following options:
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Concluding the Virtual Meeting
About the Commission
The Planning Commission, a 26-member board appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council includes citizens, elected officials and the Director of Planning and Development. The Commission reviews and approves subdivision and development plats. The Commission also studies and makes recommendations to City Council on development issues in Houston.
Approval by Planning Commission is often the first step required in the development process. The Commission meets every other Thursday at 2:30 p.m. as posted. The agenda is posted three days in advance on the Department’s web site at www.HoustonPlatTracker.org. Items on the agenda posted as consent are typically considered all in one grouping. Items considered separately include replats requiring a public hearing and variances.
Members of the public can sign up to speak on any agenda item at the meeting. Speakers are usually allowed two minutes see speaker rules for details.
Current Commission Members
A plat provides for the subdivision of land that can be legally defined (i.e. Lot 29, block 19 of the Happy Trails subdivision). Subdivision plats are required to show how land will be subdivided. The plat must reflect adequate streets and right-of-way for the project. The plat is checked to assure it abides by all development rules as established by Chapter 42, the City’s land development ordinance. By law, the Commission is required to approve plats that meet the requirements of Chapter 42.
Undeveloped land must be platted before development occurs. If land is platted, it can be replatted to further subdivide the existing subdivision plat or change the use of the property (i.e. from single-family to multi-family). Typically, a replat will make changes to the layout of lots, reserves, building setback lines and easements.
Plats must be considered and either approved or disapproved within 30 days or state law mandates that the plat is automatically approved if no action is taken. Plats can be deferred twice but action must be taken within the 30 days. Residents who were notified of a public hearing or variance will not receive a second notice if the item is deferred at Planning Commission. The item will automatically come up at the next Planning Commission meeting.
The Commission’s authority on platting does not extend to land use and therefore cannot disapprove a plat because of the intended use of the property. Other issues applicable to land development such as adequate water, sewer and drainage are handled by other agencies and are not part of the Commission’s authority regarding plat approval.
A plat must be prepared by a licensed surveyor, land planner and/or engineer and a licensed surveyor or engineer must sign the plat. If the property is located within Fort Bend County, a licensed engineer must sign the plat in addition to a licensed surveyor.
Replat requiring a public hearing
A public hearing for a replat is required conditions existed within the original plat boundary. Public hearings are held before Planning Commission during the meeting. Residents within 500 feet of the property replat and within the original subdivision boundary will be mailed letters of notification and a sign will be posted announcing the public hearing date. If there are no variances requested, Planning Commission must approve the replat if it meets all the rules according to Chapter 42 and does not violate state law. If the replat violates deed restrictions, the Planning Commission must disapprove the plat.
Planning Commission does have discretionary authority if a plat requires a variance or special exception. Residents in the city limits that are within 500 feet of the proposed development will be notified of variances and have a chance to offer input on how the variance will affect their neighborhood or property. A variance is a deviation from the strict compliance of the rules and regulations of Chapter 42. The applicant must document a reasonable hardship for the variance. This usually means that applying the rules of Chapter 42 would make the land difficult to develop without the variance or that the rules applied to the project are contrary to sound public policy.
2017 PC Training- Platting and Permitting
Last Updated: Thursday, July 15, 2021 9:00 AM