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Development Services HOW TOs

Below is a list of "How To" articles on development services.
  • Step 1 
    Most construction activities affecting the exterior appearance of sites and structures, including signs, in the Courthouse Historical District or on the premises of a designated landmark outside of the Courthouse Historical District, require approval of a certificate for alteration from the Historical Preservation Commission prior to issuance of the applicable permit. Painting and routine maintenance are exempt. Application forms are available from the Development Services Assistant or City Planner, who can assist the applicant in completing the application form, if necessary. 

    Step 2 
    Completed applications for a certificate for alteration must be accompanied by photos and/or drawings showing the proposed or existing structure, and/or proposed alterations. A written description is also required on the application form. There is no application fee. In the case of signs, a completed sign permit must also be submitted. The requested certificate for alteration is scheduled for consideration at the next Historical Preservation Commission meeting that is at least one week from the date of application. Certain signs of specified sizes and shapes may be pre-approved, and the permit can be issued by the City Planner for construction/installation prior to acknowledgment by the Commission. There is a separate application packet available for such signs. 

    Step 3 
    A few days before the Historical Preservation Commission meeting, the applicant/owner will receive a copy of the meeting agenda. 

    Step 4 
    The applicant, owner, or other representative of the property should attend the Historical Preservation Commission meeting to explain their request and answer any questions the commissioners may have. After receiving the staff's recommendation, the Commission votes to approve or deny the certificate for alteration. In the case of approval, the Commission may attach reasonable conditions to the certificate, and the pending sign or building permit may then be issued subject to all other applicable codes and ordinances. 

    Step 5 
    Should the applicant/owner disagree with the Historical Preservation Commission's decision, on grounds other than economic hardship, a written request for an appeal to City Council may be submitted to the City Planner within 30 calendar days of the Commission's action. The City Council may uphold, modify, or reverse the decision of the Commission, and their decision is final. 

    Related Links: 
    Certificate For Alteration
    Meeting Schedule
  • Step 1 
    If it is determined that the desired use of a property is requires a specific use permit, the owner may obtain an application form from the Development Services Assistant, City Planner, or GIS/Planning Technician, who can assist the applicant in completing the application form, if necessary. 

    Step 2 
    Completed applications for a specific use permit must be accompanied by a metes and bounds legal description of the subject property if it is not platted, a site plan, and payment of the application fee. If the property is platted, the description is written in the space provided on the application form. The application fee is nonrefundable, and the amount is based upon the size of the property. Also, in cases where the applicant is not the owner of the property, a letter must be provided from the owner authorizing the applicant to act on their behalf. The requested specific use permit is scheduled for consideration at the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting that is at least three weeks from the date of application. The three-week deadline is necessary to meet the minimum public notice requirements, which include publication in the local newspaper and letters sent to owners of property within 200 feet of the proposed zoning change. 

    Step 3 
    The applicant/owner will receive the same written public hearing notice that is mailed to surrounding property owners. The notice provides the time and date of the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. A map showing the location of the property in relation to surrounding streets and zoning boundaries is printed on the back of the notice. 

    Step 4 
    A few days before the Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing, the applicant/owner will receive a copy of the meeting agenda and a copy of the staff report. The staff report summarizes the background information pertaining to the request, and generally contains a recommendation from the City Planner. 

    Step 5 
    The applicant, owner, or other representative of the property should attend the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to explain their request and answer any questions the commissioners may have. After hearing from all persons who wish to speak either in favor of or in opposition to the proposed specific use permit, and after receiving the staff's recommendation, the Commission votes to approve or deny the permit. In the case of approval, the Commission may attach reasonable conditions, and any pending construction permits may then be issued subject to compliance with all other applicable codes and ordinances. 

    Step 6 
    Should any party disagree with the Planning and Zoning Commission's decision, a written request for an appeal to City Council may be submitted to the City Planner within ten calendar days of the Commission's action. The same public hearing notice requirements apply to the appeal as apply to the original application. The City Council may uphold, modify, or reverse the decision of the Commission, and their decision is final. 

    Related Links: 
    Specific Use Permit Application
    Fee Schedule
    Contacts
    Meeting Schedule
  • Step 1 
    Any subdivision of the ownership of land in almost all cases requires submission of a subdivision plat prepared by a licensed professional land surveyor. Types of plats include subdivision development plans, preliminary plats, final plats, minor plats, replats, and amending plats. An application form may be obtained from the Development Services Assistant, City Planner, Assistant City Planner, or GIS/Planning Technician, who can assist the applicant in completing the application form, if necessary. 

    Step 2 
    Completed applications for a subdivision plat must initially be accompanied by seven copies of the plat document, and payment of the application fee. The application fee is nonrefundable, and the amount is based upon the type of plat and size of the property. Any required engineering plans must be prepared by a professional engineer and submitted to the City Engineer for review. 

    Step 3 
    The plat is scheduled for review by members of various City departments at the next regular meeting of the Development Review Committee. The owner, surveyor, or engineer may attend the meeting to hear the comments and ask questions concerning corrections or other changes needed on the plat, or a written summary of comments and corrections may be mailed to them. 

    Step 4 
    Once all necessary changes are made, and once the City Engineer approves the associated engineering plans for infrastructure, if applicable, twelve copies of the revised plat must be submitted for consideration by the Planning and Zoning Commission. It will be scheduled for consideration on the next meeting date that provides sufficient time for any required public hearing notice, as well as for preparation of the staff report the week before the meeting. Replats of RLD or RMD zoned property require a public hearing with a notice published in the local newspaper as well as written notification to all owners of property within 200 feet of the proposed subdivision. Amending plats and minor plats are approved by the City Manager upon recommendation from the City Planner, and do not go to the Planning and Zoning Commission. 

    Step 5 
    For plats requiring Commission action, the applicant/owner will receive a copy of the meeting agenda and a copy of the staff report a few days before the meeting. The staff report summarizes the background information pertaining to the plat, and contains a recommendation from the City Planner. 

    Step 6 
    The owner, surveyor, engineer, or other representative of the property should attend the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to support the plat and answer any questions the commissioners may have. After hearing from all persons who wish to speak either in favor of or in opposition to the proposed plat, if a public hearing is required, and after receiving the staff's recommendation, the Commission votes to approve or deny the plat. In the case of approval, the Commission may attach conditions related to corrections of the plat. 

    Step 7 
    Two signed mylar reproducibles of an approved final plat, minor plat, replat, or amending plat must be submitted to the City Planner, along with the County recording fee and a tax certificate from the Appraisal District. Development Services staff will obtain the appropriate signature of approval, and take the plat, fee, and tax certificate to the Caldwell County Clerk's office for recording the plat. 

    Related Links: 
    Subdivision Plat Application
    Fee Schedule
    Contacts
    Meeting Schedule
  • Step 1
    The removal of any tree requires approval by the Building Official. Applications may be obtained from the Development Services Assistant. Information required on the application includes the location, size, and type of tree, and the reason for removal. There is no application fee. An application is not required if a tree is uprooted or severely damaged such that it creates a hazard to life or property that must be addressed immediately, or if the tree is specifically labeled as a protected tree and is proposed to be removed on a site plan for development approved by the city council.

    Step 2
    A tree is considered protected if it has a circumference of 72 inches or greater, measured 4 feet above natural grade level, and is one of the species specified. Applications for removal of a protected tree are approved only under the following conditions:

    • When the tree is so located as to prevent reasonable access to the property or as to preclude reasonable and lawful use of the property. Where removal of the tree would become unnecessary if a variance or special exception were granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustment in the application of the zoning ordinance, no application for tree removal will be approved except where such application for a variance or special exception is denied.
    • When the tree constitutes a hazard to life or property which cannot reasonably be mitigated without removing the tree.
    • When the tree is determined to be dying, dead, or diseased such that restoration to sound condition is no practical, or that its disease could be expected to be transmitted to and endanger the health of other trees. This condition must be documented at the applicant's expense with an inspection and letter from a certified arborist.

    Where removal of a protected tree is approved, a replacement tree may be required as a condition of approval.

    Step 3
    If the application for removal of a protected tree is denied, the applicant may file a written notice of appeal to the Zoning Board of Adjustment within ten days of the denial of the application. The Board may affirm or reverse the denial, accompanied by findings of fact. If the Board fails to act within 30 days after the date the appeal is filed, the appeal is automatically granted as requested in the original application.

    Step 4
    An applicant for removal of a protected tree whose application is denied by the Zoning Board of Adjustment may, within ten days after the date of the decision, file written notice of appeal to the City Council. The Council may uphold or reverse the determination of the Board, and shall either adopt or modify the finding of fact of the Board. If the Council fails to act within 30 days after the date the appeal to the Council is filed, the appeal is automatically granted as requested in the original application.

    Step 5
    An application for removal of a non-protected tree is approved once the tree has been inspected by the Building Official or inspector, and verified as a non-protected tree.

    Related Links:
    Tree Removal Permit Application
    List of Protected Trees
    Meeting Schedule
  • Step 1 
    All property in the city is assigned a zoning classification. Each zoning district allows certain land uses by-right, and other uses subject to Planning and Zoning Commission approval of a specific use permit. If it is determined that the desired use of a property is not allowed by its current zoning classification, the owner may apply for a zoning map change. Application forms are available from the Development Services Assistant, City Planner, Assistant City Planner, or GIS/Planning Technician, who can assist the applicant in completing the application form, if necessary. 

    Step 2 
    Completed applications for zoning changes must be accompanied by a metes and bounds legal description of the subject property if it is not platted, and payment of the application fee. If the property is platted, the description is written in the space provided on the application form. The application fee is nonrefundable, and the amount is based upon the size of the property. Also, in cases where the applicant is not the owner of the property, a letter must be provided from the owner authorizing the applicant to act on their behalf. The zoning change is scheduled for consideration at the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting that is at least three weeks from the date of application, and for final consideration by City Council at their next regular meeting following the Commission hearing. The three-week deadline is necessary to meet the minimum public notice requirements, which include publication in the local newspaper and letters sent to owners of property within 200 feet of the proposed zoning change. 

    Step 3 
    The applicant/owner will receive the same written public hearing notice that is mailed to surrounding property owners. The notice provides the times and dates of the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council meetings. A map showing the location of the property in relation to surrounding streets and zoning boundaries is printed on the back of the notice. 

    Step 4 
    A few days before the Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing, the applicant/owner will receive a copy of the meeting agenda and a copy of the staff report. The staff report summarizes the background information pertaining to the request, and generally contains a recommendation from the City Planner. The recommendation may be based, in part, on whether or not the requested zoning classification is consistent with the future land use map of the Lockhart 2020 Comprehensive Plan. 

    Step 5 
    The applicant, owner, or other representative of the property should attend the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to explain their request and answer any questions the commissioners may have. After hearing from all persons who wish to speak either in favor of or in opposition to the proposed zoning change, and after receiving the staff's recommendation, the Commission votes to recommend approval or denial to City Council. 

    Step 6 
    The City Council hearing follows a similar format as the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Council's vote is final, and may or may not follow the Commission's and/or staff's recommendations. In the case of approval, any pending permits may then be issued subject to compliance with all other applicable codes and ordinances. 

    Step 7 
    For most types of permits, inspections must be requested at specific stages of construction, and the facility may be occupied or used only after it passes a final inspection. In the case of new buildings, a certificate of occupancy is the last step in the process. If utilities are involved, this is when the temporary status is changed to permanent service. 

    Related Links: 
    Zoning Change Application
    Fee Schedule
    Development Services Contacts
    Meeting Schedule
    Map of the Lockhart 2020 Comprehensive Plan

  • Step 1
    If a person disagrees with or believes there is an error in a determination or interpretation of the City Planner, acting as Zoning Administrator, regarding a provision of the zoning or sign ordinances, they may appeal to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. In lieu of an application form, the person appealing should submit a letter addressed to the Board, and delivered to the City Planner, explaining the circumstances and specifying the grounds for the appeal. An appeal stays all proceedings in furtherance of the action that is appealed unless the City Planner provides facts in writing to the Board demonstrating that a stay would cause imminent peril to life or property. In that case, the proceedings may be stayed only by a restraining order granted by a court of record if due cause is shown.

    Step 2
    The appeal is scheduled for consideration at the next Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting date that provides sufficient time for publication of a notice in the local newspaper and written notification to all parties in interest.

    Step 3
    A few days before the Zoning Board of Adjustment public hearing, the appellant will receive a copy of the meeting agenda and a copy of any correspondence prepared by the City Planner summarizing the positions in conflict.

    Step 4
    The appellant, or the appellant's representative should attend the Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting to present their case, and to answer any questions the commissioners may have. After hearing from the appellant and the City Planner, the Board votes to affirm, modify, or reverse the determination or interpretation of the City Planner.

    Step 5
    Any person who disagrees with the Board's decision may, within ten days after the date of the decision, file a petition in a court of record stating that the decision of the Board is illegal in whole or in part and specifying the grounds of the illegality.

    Related Links:
    Meeting Schedule
  • Step 1 
    If building construction, land subdivision, a sign, or a fence is proposed that does not comply with a provision of the applicable ordinance, the owner may apply for a variance. However, variances may not be considered to allow a land use that is otherwise not permitted in a zoning district. Special exceptions are a form of relief that is available for specified circumstances listed in the zoning ordinance. Application forms may be obtained from the Development Services Assistant, City Planner, or Planning Technician. If necessary, the City Planner can assist the applicant in completing the application form. 

    Step 2 
    Completed applications for a variance or special exception must be accompanied by a metes and bounds legal description of the subject property if it is not platted, site plan, and payment of the application fee. If the property is platted, the description is written in the space provided on the application form. In the case of a variance, the criteria for approval are listed on the application form, and the applicant is expected to provide a written supplement explaining how the requested variance complies with those conditions. The application fee is nonrefundable, and the amount is based upon the size of the property. In cases where the applicant is not the owner of the property, a letter must be provided from the owner authorizing the applicant to act on their behalf. The requested variance or special exception is scheduled for consideration at the next Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting that is at least three weeks from the date of application. The three-week deadline is necessary to meet the minimum public notice requirements, which include publication in the local newspaper and letters sent to owners of property within 200 feet of the proposed zoning change. 

    Step 3 
    The applicant/owner will receive the same written public hearing notice that is mailed to surrounding property owners. A map showing the location of the property in relation to surrounding streets and zoning boundaries is printed on the back of the notice. 

    Step 4 
    A few days before the Zoning Board of Adjustment public hearing, the applicant/owner will receive a copy of the meeting agenda and a copy of the staff report. The staff report summarizes the background information pertaining to the request, and generally contains a recommendation from the City Planner. 

    Step 5 
    The applicant, owner, or other representative of the property should attend the Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting to explain their request and answer any questions the commissioners may have. After hearing from all persons who wish to speak either in favor of or in opposition to the proposed variance or special exception, and after receiving the staff's recommendation, the Board votes to approve or deny the variance or special exception. In the case of approval, the Board may attach reasonable conditions, and any pending permits may then be issued. 

    Step 6 
    Any person who disagrees with the Board's decision may, within ten days after the date of the decision, file a petition in a court of record stating that the decision of the Board is illegal in whole or in part and specifying the grounds of the illegality. 

    Related Links: 
    Contacts
    Fee Schedule
    Meeting Schedule
    Sign Variance Application
    Special Exception Application
    Zoning Variance Application
  • Step 1
    Building permits can be issued only to currently licensed contractors, except that homeowners who work on their own residence do not have to be a licensed contractor for anything except natural gas plumbing, which requires a licensed plumber. Separate permits are required for electrical, plumbing, and mechanical work. Application forms are available for each type of permit. Building permit application forms are used for fences, and a special form is used for signs. A General Contractor's Information Booklet containing more details and sample forms is available from the Development Services Assistant.

    Step 2
    The completed application form is submitted to the Development Services Assistant, along with required plans. Building permits involving building construction or remodeling must have floor plans and other architectural or engineering plans as appropriate for the scope of the work. Building permits involving new or expanded buildings, and/or parking areas, must have a site plan. If engineered drainage detention plans are required for compliance with the City's drainage ordinance, those plans are submitted to the City Engineer. Basic site plans are also required for fences, residential outbuildings, and freestanding signs.

    Step 3
    Building plans and site plans for new construction of, or additions to, any multifamily, commercial, industrial, or institutional building will be discussed by a Development Review Committee consisting of various City staff members. The committee meets at 9:00am on Wednesdays. The applicant/contractor may be invited to attend the meeting when their plans will be considered. If the applicant/contractor is not present, they will receive written comments from the Building Official and/or City Planner notifying them of any needed changes or of any questions to be addressed. Plans for single-family and duplex residential construction, residential accessory structures, signs, and fences are not reviewed at a Development Review Committee meeting but are distributed internally for approval by the individual City departments.

    Step 4
    Once all issues have been addressed and the internal review is complete, including approval of any engineering plans by the City Engineer, the applicant/contractor is notified that the permit is ready.

    Step 5
    Electrical, plumbing, and mechanical permits associated with a project requiring a building permit are not issued before the building permit, but after that they may be issued without any further review at the time the application is submitted.

    Step 6
    The Development Services Assistant gives the applicant/contractor an orange building permit card, if applicable, and the approved permit application form listing all fees due. The applicant/contractor must take the approved permit application to a cashier's window in the main floor lobby for payment of fees, which may include tap fees and impact fees in addition to the permit fee. The cashier gives the applicant/contractor a receipt, and makes a copy of the form before sending the original back to Development Services. Temporary utility connections are authorized, if needed, to facilitate construction activities. The contractor must post the orange card on the property within view from the street, if possible.

    Step 7
    For most types of permits, inspections must be requested at specific stages of construction, and the facility may be occupied or used only after it passes a final inspection. In the case of new buildings, a certificate of occupancy is the last step in the process. If utilities are involved, this is when the temporary status is changed to permanent service.

    Related Links:
    Building Permit Application
    Single-Family, Duplex, And Manufactured Home Site Plan Requirements
    Multi-Family Residential & Non-Residential Site Plan Requirements
  • Step 1

    A list of license and bond requirements, which vary by the type of license desired, should be obtained from the Development Services Assistant at the counter in the lower level of city hall.

     

    • Building contractor licenses require a completed and notarized application, three letters of reference, proof of office telephone and address, partnership agreement or articles of incorporation, performance bond, and fee. The bond value and fee varies by class of license.
    • Electrical licenses require proof of passing grade on test within the past five years, a completed contractor's information sheet, copy of driver's license, performance bond, and fee. The fee varies by the class of electrician.
    • The City does not issue plumbing and mechanical licenses, but must have current information on file, including a copy of the current State license, a completed contractor's information sheet, copy of driver's license, and proof of insurance required by the State. No bond or fee is required.

     

    Step 2

    When all items have been submitted and approved, the Development Services Assistant prepares the license, while the applicant pays the required fee at the cashier's window in the main lobby.

     

    Step 3

    The applicant is given the license card upon presentation of the receipt to the Development Services Assistant showing that the fee is paid.

     

    Step 4

    Building and electrical contractor licenses, and plumbing and mechanical contractor information, must be renewed/updated annually by December 31. The renewal requirements and fees are listed on the same sheet as the requirements for new applications.

  • Step 1 
    Requests for photocopies or color plots may be placed by telephone, mail, e-mail, or in person to the Development Services Assistant at the counter in the lower level of city hall. 

    Step 2 
    Fees are based upon the size and type of product. In addition to a standard photo-copier for black-white copies up to 11"x17", a large format photo-copier for black-white copies up to 36" wide (and longer length) is available, and a computer plotter for color prints of maps up to 36" wide (and longer length) is also available. In the case of ordinances, it is often unnecessary to purchase the entire document, but only copies of the pages applicable to the customer's situation. 

    Step 3 
    If requested in person, and unless a large number of copies or plots are ordered, it will often be produced while the customer waits. Large orders should be placed one day in advance of the time needed. 

    Step 4 
    If the copy or plot is picked up in person, a completed fee payment form is also given to the customer, who then must take it to a cashier's window in the main lobby of city hall and submits it along with the cash or check to the cashier. The cashier gives the customer a receipt, and forwards the fee payment form back to the Development Services Department showing that the fee has been paid. If the copy or plot is to be mailed to the customer, it is sent with the completed fee payment form. Upon receipt, the customer should then return the fee payment form along with their check to the Development Services Department. In such cases, Department personnel will take the payment to the cashier's window for deposit. 

    Related Links: 
    Fee Schedule
    Contacts
  • Step 1
    Complaints or inquiries about any type of suspected violation may be reported by telephone, mail, e-mail, or in person to any development services employee. Generally, however, complaints about overgrown lots, dangerous buildings, inoperative vehicles, and improperly stored materials or vehicles should be addressed to the Code Enforcement Officer. Concerns related to parking, signs, fences, land uses, and subdivision of property should be addressed to the City Planner or GIS/Planning Technician. Cases of buildings suspected of being constructed without a permit should be reported to the Building Official or Development Services Assistant. In other cases when unsure of the responsible staff person, inquiries should be directed to the Development Services Assistant.

    Step 2
    The necessary information is entered on an Enforcement Record form that is used to document the status and resolution of the suspected violation. The complainant may remain anonymous, if preferred, although some contact information is desirable so that staff can call back if any questions arise or to update the complainant on the status of the investigation.

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