January Advocacy Updates

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January has been a busy month for all things Government Affairs. Read below for updates on our latest projects.  

City of Houston Updates:  


On January 25, Houston City Council passed the Fee in Lieu of Sidewalk ordinance. The GHBA Government Affairs team worked hard to lower the proposed fee to the final $12/sq ft adopted in the ordinance. The ordinance also lowers the application fee for sidewalks from $1,174.46 to $250 for single family residential homes. Read more about the ordinance  


Code Modernization  

As the Code Modernization process continues, GHBA is engaging with the city and holding regular meetings to review proposed changes and is considering submitting amendments as needed. Recently, the committee submitted a request to extend the public comment period set to end mid-January, and the city’s Task Force Group 2 agreed to extend the deadline to February 14, 2023. The Code Committee will meet again on Wednesday, February 8 at 10 a.m. at the GHBA.  

City of Houston Considering Conservation Districts  

The City of Houston’s Planning and Development Department is considering a citywide ordinance to implement conservation districts. The item was previously discussed at the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission (HAHC) at its January 26 meeting, which the GHBA was present for. The commission will hold a second hearing on the matter on February 9 at 2:30 p.m. at the City Hall Annex. As the city council considers the issue, they will hold a public hearing on February 23 at 9 a.m. in the City Hall Chambers. More information about HAHC  

Updates to Code of Ordinances  

At the January 25 meeting, City Council approved several amendments to the City Code of Ordinances and the Construction and Electrical Codes. The amendments were presented by the Planning and Development Department and impact four main areas: residential buffering, garage screening and lighting standards, wall or pole mounted light fixtures standards and, dumpster screening standards. Read more about these amendments 

Harris County Downstream Easements Updates 

On January 24, the Harris County Engineer’s office released a new Code Word notifying GHBA members that Harris County has made a clarification that downstream easements are no longer required. 

Harris County’s recent determination removes roadblocks for builders throughout the county. GHBA members and staff has been vocal about the concerns related to downstream easements. Meeting with county staff, county elected officials, and other builders, GHBA has been advocating for this change. 

To see the exact language shared in the Code Word release email Scout Odegaard.