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Development Regulations
  • What is code enforcement?
    Overgrown lots, litter, stagnant water, discarded appliances and furniture, junk vehicles, and unsecured vacant buildings are all potential health or safety hazards and are considered a public nuisance. When it is determined that a violation of a property maintenance code exists, the owner is notified and required to correct the problem within a reasonable period. Enforcement of continuing violations is by prosecution in Municipal Court and/or abatement by the City. Also, in an effort to improve and maintain the quality of housing, the City requires a basic health and safety inspection whenever a rental unit is leased to a new tenant unless such inspection has already been done within the previous 18 months. Also, an inspection of the exterior meter loop is required when utilities are transferred from one name to another for owner-occupied homes. Any deficiencies identified in the inspection must be corrected before permanent utility service is reconnected, and before the apartment or house may be occupied.

    How to submit a complaint about an ordiance violation
  • When is a permit required?
    Permits are required for most construction activities involving a structure, including new buildings, building additions, exterior re-roofing and re-siding, sheds, decks, poured concrete patio slabs and driveways, fences, and signs. Permits cannot be issued unless the proposed construction and its premises are in compliance with the Subdivision Regulations, Zoning Ordinance, applicable building-trade codes, and all other City regulations. Activities that do not require a building permit include painting, interior remodeling not involving load-bearing walls, asphalt residential driveways not involving a new or altered curb cut, and erection of children's play equipment. Separate permits must be obtained for any electrical, plumbing, or mechanical work regardless of whether or not a building permit is required.

    What about inspections?
    Most, but not all, activities for which permits are issued must be inspected and passed by the City inspector prior to occupancy or use of the facilities for which a permit was issued. If any work requiring a permit is begun without a permit, it may be ordered by a City inspector to stop, and the cost of the required permit to resume work is double the normal amount.

    How to obtain a building permit
    Information - Construction Standards and Contractor License
  • Is storm-water runoff regulated?
    Yes, some form of drainage detention is required for all development that increases the impervious cover of a site. A regional detention facility is usually provided in new residential subdivisions, while detention is typically provided on-site for multifamily and nonresidential developments. In general, the rate of storm-water runoff after development cannot exceed the rate of storm-water runoff before development. In all cases, the drainage system must be designed by a professional engineer and approved by the city engineer.
  • Does the city regulate fences?
    Yes, there are standards for the type of materials, height, and location of fences, and a permit is required for anything other than painting or minor repairs not involving structural members. Variances are decided by the Zoning Board of Adjustment, and the Board may attach conditions to any variance that is approved.

    Where are fences required?
    Fences with self-closing and self-latching gates are required around swimming pools. Screening, which may be in the form of a fence, is required along certain zoning boundaries, and surrounding vehicle salvage yards.
  • What are historic districts and landmarks?
    The Courthouse Square Historic District and numerous landmark buildings outside that area have been identified as having particular historic or cultural value. The Historic Districts and Landmarks ordinance provides a means of ensuring that the exterior appearance of regulated construction or alteration of buildings, or other structures, maintains the historic and cultural value of the district, site, or structure.

    What is a certificate for alteration?
    A certificate of alteration is required for the construction or alteration of a building, sign, or other structure that affects the appearance of the site or building. Applications for a certificate for alteration are considered by the Historical Preservation Commission.

    Applications for a certificate for alteration
  • What are impact fees?
    On January 15, 2002, the Lockhart City Council adopted Ordinance 02-02 establishing impact fees for road, water, and wastewater facilities. The fees are a one-time charge assessed only for new development, expansion of existing nonresidential buildings, and changes of use to a classification determined to have a greater impact on the public infrastructure. The purpose of the fees is to shift a portion of the burden of paying for growth to those who are creating the additional demand for new or expanded municipal facilities. This reduces the potential amount of property tax and utility rate increases that all citizens would have to pay.

    Where do the fees apply?
    Road impact fees are assessed only within the city limits, while the water and wastewater impact fees also apply to the portions of the extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) that are within the city's water service area.

    How much are impact fees?
    The fees are based on the cost of projects specified in capital improvement plans for water, wastewater, and road projects. The projects were determined based on a forecast of the city's growth during the ten years following adoption of the fees, which is the planning period specified by State law. Different land uses are assessed a fee based upon a system of service units, depending on each land use's typical demand on the public infrastructure. Water and wastewater impact fees are based upon water meter sizes. Road impact fees are based upon vehicle-miles, a factor of traffic generation, as listed in an equivalency table for each land use. For example, the total of all impact fees for a single-family dwelling is $3,137.29.

    Fee Schedule

    Are there any exceptions?
    An 80% refund is available for new single-family dwellings being purchased by qualified households whose total annual income is 80% or less of the median household income for Caldwell County. The refund must be applied at the closing against the mortgage principle, mortgage interest, or closing costs.

    Road impact fees for commercial development are being phased in at 30% of the amount originally adopted in the impact fee ordinance, and will revert to the full amount during the summer of 2004 unless the fee reduction is extended by the City Council for a longer period.

    When are the fees paid?
    Impact fees are collected along with other required fees when the building permit is issued.
  • What is a subdivison?
    When any portion of a lot or tract is conveyed to a different owner, it creates two or more parcels of separate ownership. Dividing a parcel of land constitutes a subdivision that must be approved by the City. This applies even when the transaction is between members of the same family. Subdivision of land is regulated by the City not only within the city limits, but also in the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). For Lockhart, the ETJ is the area adjacent to and within one mile of the city limits, and also includes various contiguous parcels extending northward roughly along U.S. Hwy. 183 to Texas Hwy. 21. The only exception is when every part of the subdivision is greater than five acres (inside city limits) or ten acres (in ETJ), has street access, and no dedication of public improvements is required.

    What is a subdivision plat?
    A subdivision plat is the document required by the Subdivision Regulations for obtaining approval and officially recording a subdivision. The plat consists of a drawing based upon a survey of the property, and assigns a subdivision name, identifies the lots being created, lists any special conditions or requirements, and contains signature blocks for the purpose of approval and recording. This is also the means by which street rights-of-way, utility easements, parkland, etc., are dedicated. Subdivision plats must be prepared by a registered professional surveyor. Plats consisting of four or fewer lots all of which abut an existing street, and where City utilities are already in place to serve the subdivision, may be approved administratively. All other types of plats must be approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

    What else do the regulations require?
    In addition to specifying the requirements and procedures for subdivision plats, the Subdivision Regulations contain design standards for the layout of the subdivision and dedication of public facilities. If the subdivision is in a location or of such a configuration that construction of streets, sidewalks, utilities, or other public facilities are required, detailed plans for the design of those facilities must be prepared by a licensed professional engineer and approved by the city engineer. Once the plat is approved and all required public improvements are constructed, the plat is submitted for recording in the permanent records of the Caldwell County Clerk. No lots may be sold until the plat is recorded.

    How to apply for a subdivision of land
  • What is the zoning ordinance?
    The Zoning Ordinance consists of the official zoning map, which divides the city into zoning districts, and the zoning text, which contains the standards and procedures that apply to the zoning districts. It regulates the use of land and buildings, and contains standards for lot size and residential density, building height and placement, and off-street parking. Special uses such as manufactured homes are also addressed. Even if no construction is proposed, any change in the use of land or a building must comply with the Zoning Ordinance.

    How can the zoning of a property be changed?
    If a use is proposed that is not allowed by the current zoning of a property, the owner has the option of applying to change the zoning classification to one which would allow the desired use. Such applications are considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission in a public hearing for which owners of property within 200 feet of the subject property are notified in case they desire to express their support or opposition. The Commission votes on a recommendation to City Council. The Council then holds a public hearing before voting to approve or deny the proposed zoning change. In addition to any neighborhood opposition, other factors such as consistency with the City's Future Land Use Plan map and possible impacts such as traffic and noise are considered in the zoning change process.

    How to apply for a zoning map change


    What is a specific use?
    Specific uses are listed for each zoning classification. Those uses are potentially appropriate in the district, but may need to meet special conditions in order to minimize any negative impacts. Applications for specific use permits involve the same notification and public hearing process as for zoning changes, but are reviewed and decided only by the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Commission may attach conditions to any specific use permit that is approved.

    specific use permits
    How to apply for a specific use permit

    Is it possible to obtain a variance?
    When a lot, building, or parking area cannot reasonably comply with one or more requirements of the Zoning Ordinance due to unique circumstances that cause an exceptional hardship such that no viable use can be made of the property, the owner may apply for a zoning variance. Zoning variances are decided by the Zoning Board of Adjustment following the usual public notification and hearing process. The Board may attach conditions to any variance that is approved.

    How to apply for a zoning, sign variance, or special exception

  • Can a manufactured home be placed on a residential lot?

    Yes, under certain conditions. Manufactured homes are allowed by-right in the MH district, and as a specific use in the RMD and RHD districts. However, in all cases they must meet the standards listed in the Zoning Ordinance, which include being brand new from the factory and not having an overall horizontal dimension less than 24 feet. There are other standards pertaining to the foundation, floor height, orientation on the lot, etc. Single-wide manufactured homes are allowed only in manufactured home parks and are exempt from some of the other standards such as being new. The installation of a mobile home manufactured before June 15, 1976, is prohibited in all locations. A complete list of standards for manufactured homes on residential lots is contained in this booklet.

     

    Standards for manufactured homes on residential lots.

    1. Manufactured homes shall be new from the factory and not previously installed in any other location.
    2. Except where limited by the width of lots pre-existing on October 7, 1997, the widest horizontal dimension of manufactured homes must face the street.
    3. The frame shall be supported by and tied to a foundation and anchoring system meeting the current requirements of the Texas Manufactured Housing Standards Act as administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Manufactured Housing Division, or successor agency.
    4. Axle and hitch assemblies shall be removed at the time of placement on the foundation.
    5. The floor of the manufactured home shall be no more than 25 inches above the average adjacent ground level at the foundation on all sides visible from an abutting street or from a lot containing a site-built single-family dwelling, except where the floor must be higher in order to be a minimum of 12 inches above the top of the highest abutting street curb or street crown if no curb. If necessary to maintain a minimum of 18 inches required for clearance betweeen the ground and bottom of floor joists, the foundation may be recessed in a pit that is provided with a proper drainage system approved by a registered professional engineer, or by raising the grade of the earth in the yards where needed adjacent to the structure.
    6. A stoop, porch, patio, or deck must be provided at each entrance to the manufactured home.
    7. The space between ground level and the manufactured home's floor level shall be skirted with non-degradable materials compatible in color, style, and texture with the exterior of the home if the concrete foundation does not already enclose that space.
    8. Site-built attached additions must be compatible in color, style, and materials with the exterior of the manufactured structure.
    9. The owner shall cancel the personal property title on the manufactured home so that it can be rendered as real property for the purpose of ownership, taxes, insurance, and financing.
    10. The land and structure shall be under the same ownership.
  • How are signs regulated? 
    The sign ordinance contains standards for all types of signs, and applies to the City's ETJ as well as within the city limits. In addition to containing standards for the height, size, and location of signs, the ordinance also specifies certain signs that are required, signs that are prohibited, and signs that are exempt from the permitting requirement. Signs are generally classified into one of two structural types - attached signs or freestanding signs. There are special regulations for banners and off-premise signs. Permits are required for all signs except for those specifically listed as exempt.

    Application for Sign Permit
    Application for Sign Variance
  • How are trees regulated? 
    A permit is required to remove any tree. Removal of certain large shade trees that are healthy is prohibited, although limbs may be trimmed if they grow too close to buildings or utility lines. An application to remove a protected tree may be approved only if it constitutes a hazard to life or property, or is documented as dead, dying, or diseased. A replacement tree may be required as a condition of approval of the permit. 

    How to apply for Tree Removal Permit
    Tree Removal Permit
     Species  Common Name
     Carya illinoensis  Pecan
     Carya spp.  Hickories
     Cornus florida  Flowering Dogwood
     Diospyros texana  Texas Persimmon
     Fagus grandifolia  American Beech
     Ilex opaca  American Holly
     Ilex vomitoria  Yaupon Holly
     Juglans nigra  Black Walnut
     Liquidambar stryraciflua  Sweet Gum
     Magnolia grandiflora  Southern Magnolia
     Magnolia virginiana  Sweetbay
     Nyssa sylvatica  Tupelo
     Picea pungens  Colorado Blue Spruce
     Pinus Edulis  Pinon Pine
     Pinus ponderosa  Ponderosa Pine
     Pinus taeda  Loblolly Pine
     Pithecellobium flexicaule  Texas Ebony
     Quercus alba  White Oak
     Quercus falcata  Southern Red Oak
     Quercus macrocarpa  Bur Oak
     Quercus muhlenbergii  Chinkapin Oak
     Quercus nigra  Water Oak
     Quercus shumardii  Shumard Oak
     Quercus texana  Spanish Oak
     Quercus virginiana  Live Oak
     Sophora secundifloraSophora  Mescal Bean
     Taxodium distichum  Bald Cypress
     Ulmus crassifolia  Cedar Elm

If you have questions, contact Development Services by phone at 512/398-3461, e-mail, or in person. We can provide additional information and all necessary application forms.

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