Today we have a guest post from Andy Harris – a Shareholder at Andrews Myers. Is your construction permit gathering dust sitting on someone’s desk in the city? Look no further than Texas Local Government Code Chapter 247!
Effective September 1, 2023, developers can now go outside of the relevant regulatory authorities for inspections, if such authorities take too long reviewing development documents or permits. The Texas legislature created Texas Local Government Code Chapter 247 to provide developers with these new expediting rights and it applies to all documents submitted on or after September 1st.
Chapter 247 should help streamline the review of development documents such as plats, plans, permits, and inspections. Any party, whether an individual or a builder, must first comply with filing standards associated with the relevant Local Government Code. When a compliant document has been filed, the city or county then has the allotted time provided to them by the same code. If the regulatory authority has not responded by the relevant deadline, Chapter 247 then provides the city or county an “extra” 15 calendar days to approve, conditionally approve, or disapprove of the development document or permit. If the city or county has not responded within the additional 15 days, the developer/contractor/individual may then use an independent third-party reviewer or inspector. Chapter 247 also applies the same timeline and rights to any required development inspection(s).
As long as this third-party review meets a few requirements (i.e. not the applicant or a party invested in the application), the inspection will be upheld by the relevant regulatory authority. Further, the regulatory authority cannot charge additional fees if an applicant opts for this third-party inspection. Similarly, the authority cannot waive any of the deadlines or procedures described in Chapter 247.
We anticipate that Chapter 247 will assist developers and contractors in proceeding without unreasonable delays or interference from governmental bodies. For additional information, check out the full text of Chapter 247 and be prepared to utilize the process when needed.