Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Feb. 20, 2003
CONTACT: Doris Sanchez
Phone: (512) 463-0127

Sen. Lucio Files Bill to Improve Living Conditions Along the Border

AUSTIN, TX--Today state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., (D-Brownsville) announced he filed Senate Bill 535 to provide Border counties the necessary tools to combat the proliferation of colonias.

SB 535 would assist Border counties with regulated and planned development through code enforcement. The bill would allow a commissioner's court to regulate land development in unincorporated areas of a county.

"Basically, the goal of this bill is to assist these counties with maintaining reasonable building standards and a decent quality of life for residents," said Sen. Lucio, chair of the Senate International Relations and Trade Committee. "For years, Border counties have requested limited local ordinance making authority to combat the development of colonias."

Specifically, SB 535 would allow Border counties to adopt rules that affect: the size of lots; the height, number of stories, size and number of buildings on a lot; the percentage of a lot that may be occupied; and the location of buildings or other structures on a lot. The measure also allows counties to adopt building codes to promote safe and uniform building, plumbing and electrical standards in unincorporated areas.

"Although most developers already adhere to these standards, there are those, especially along the Texas-Mexico Border, who ignore the long-term, well-being of the families who will live in these developments," added Sen. Lucio.

Senator Lucio also included a provision in the bill that allows a municipal ordinance to prevail over a county ordinance when there is a conflict within the municipality's jurisdiction.

Senator Lucio authored a similar measure during the last session, but after passing the Senate, it stalled in the House during the closing days of the session.

NOTE: Ms. Perla Cavazos, policy analyst, will handle the legislation.

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