In August 2020, the Houston City Council passed an ordinance (Chapter 40, Article XXII) requiring home builders and property owners to install sidewalks along the public streets in front of newly built or substantially remolded existing single-family homes. The ordinance required sidewalk construction even if there are no existing sidewalks on the rest of the road or neighborhood.
As promised in the initial talks of the ordinance, the City’s Office of Planning and Development has proposed a Fee in Lieu of Sidewalk Construction option for builders and homeowners.
It is a voluntary option for developers and property owners to meet the requirements of the Sidewalk Ordinance. Builders and owners of properties that meet specific criteria (Section 40-560(b)(1) or Section 40-561) may choose to pay the fee instead of constructing the required sidewalk. Additionally, builders may seek authorization to pay the fee even if the previously mentioned criteria are not met.
The proposed fee schedule is:
- $12/ square foot for eligible single-family residential developments not increasing the lot density
- $30/ square foot for other eligible developments