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Techniques For Mitigating Urban Sprawl
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Strategy: Facility Adequacy, Timing, and Planning  - Growth Limits/Controls
Policy Action: Moratoriums and Interim Development Regulations

Development moratoriums are temporary growth limits, usually halting all further issuances of building permits for a specified period of time. The moratorium can postpone all development or development of a particular type or in a particular area, such as any residential construction, commercial construction along a congested highway segment, or development in a certain school district. It can be a few months in duration or several years. Case/Example: A six-month moratorium, Calvert County (MD) in 1995, a one-year, Nashua (NH) in the mid-1980s, and an 18-month, San Diego (CA). Source/Reference: Porter, 1997, pp. 80-81.

Texas Applications

Chapter 212, Subchapter E of the Local Government Code regulates “moratorium,” but does not define the term. The statute requires a city, prior to imposing a moratorium on residential or commercial development, to comply with certain procedures including notice and hearing prior to the adoption of the moratorium. Tex. Local Gov’s Code ?212.134 However, beginning on the fifth business day after the date a notice is published a temporary moratorium takes effect. Id. at ?212.134. A moratorium on residential development may be imposed only if a city council makes written findings that the moratorium is needed to prevent a shortage of public facilities or by demonstrating a significant need for other public facilities, including police and fire. Id. at ?212.135, ? 212.1351. A moratorium on commercial development may also be issued if the municipality makes a written finding that the moratorium is justified by demonstrating that applying existing commercial development ordinances or regulations and other applicable laws is inadequate to prevent the new development from being detrimental to the public health, safety, or welfare. Id. at ?212.1352. The duration of such a moratorium on commercial property is limited to 90 days, which can be extended to a maximum of 180 days following a second hearing and further written findings. Texas Local Gov’t Code ?212.1362. Moratoriums based on a shortage of essential public facilities, or a significant need for public facilities are initially limited to a duration of 120 days, but may be extended for a period of definite duration upon a second hearing and a showing of need and reasonable progress. Texas Local Gov’t Code?212.136. Procedures are also required to permit landowners to apply for waivers. Texas Local Gov’t Code ?212.137.See Texas Online, http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/lg.toc.htm (last visited 10/19/07).

Reports and Studies


Page References

Dallas City Hall Moratorium Ordinances

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