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SEC. 51A-4.701.   ZONING AMENDMENTS.
   (a)   Initiation.
      (1)   The city council or the commission may authorize a public hearing on an amendment to this article or a change in a zoning district classification or boundary.  If 10 or fewer property owners are involved, the director shall send written notice to the owners of real property within the subject area not less than 10 days before the meeting at which the city council or commission will consider authorization of a public hearing.  This notice must be written in English and Spanish if the area of request is located wholly or partly within a census tract in which 50 percent or more of the inhabitants are persons of Spanish origin or descent according to the most recent federal decennial census.  If more than 10 property owners are involved, the director shall give notice of the public hearing in the official newspaper of the city at least 10 days before the meeting at which the city council or commission will consider authorization of a public hearing.
      (2)   A person may request a change in the zoning district classification or boundary by filing an application with the director.
         (A)   The application must be on a form approved by the commission and furnished by the department.
         (B)   Each owner of property within the area of request must sign the application.
         (C)   The applicant must pay an application fee.
         (D)   If the area of request is adjacent to a public street or alley, the director shall extend its boundaries to the centerline of the adjacent street or alley.
         (E)   An applicant requesting a change in zoning to an urban corridor district shall submit a concept plan in addition to the general requirements for a zoning change. The concept plan must indicate:
            (i)   the location of the urban corridor district site showing frontage along an urban corridor, indicating existing widths of rights-of-way, number of lanes, lane widths, and street designations according to the city’s thoroughfare plan or Texas Department of Transportation;
            (ii)   the existing zoning district classifications and land uses for all properties within 250 feet of the area of request;
            (iii)   the proposed urban corridor lot dimensions, lot area, existing building footprints, and setback lines showing buildable area based on urban corridor regulations; and
            (iv)   the proposed mix of land uses.
   (b)   Commission report and recommendation required.
      (1)   The commission shall make a report and recommendation to the city council on all proposed amendments to this article or requests for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary.
      (2)   The director shall conduct those studies necessary for the commission to make its recommendation and report to city council.
      (3)   The commission or a committee of the commission shall hold a public hearing to allow proponents and opponents of an amendment to this article or request for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary to present their views.
      (4)   Before the commission holds the public hearing on an amendment to this article or on a request for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary, the director shall give notice of the public hearing in the official newspaper of the city at least 10 days before the hearing.
      (5)   The director shall send written notice of a public hearing on a city council, city plan commission, or landmark commission authorized hearing for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary to all owners of real property lying within 200 feet of the boundary of the area of request.  See Section 51A-1.105 for the notification area for other applications.  The measurement of the notification area includes streets and alleys.  The notice must be given not less than 10 days before the date set for the hearing by depositing the notice properly addressed and postage paid in the United States mail to the property owners as evidenced by the last approved tax roll.  This notice must be written in English and Spanish if the area of request is located wholly or partly within a census tract in which 50 percent or more of the inhabitants are persons of Spanish origin or descent according to the most recent federal decennial census.  The applicant may not alter, change, amend, enlarge, or withdraw a portion of an application after notices have been mailed for the public hearing.
      (5)   The director shall send written notice of a public hearing on a city council, city plan commission, or landmark commission authorized hearing for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary to all owners of real property according to the following table:
 
Authorized Hearing Area
Area of Notification for Hearing
0-1 acre
200 feet
over 1 acre to 5 acres
300 feet
over 5 acres to 15 acres
400 feet
over 15 acres to 25 acres
400 feet
over 25 acres
500 feet
 
See Section 51A-1.105 for the notification area for other applications.  The measurement of the notification area includes streets and alleys.  The notice must be given not less than 10 days before the date set for the city plan commission hearing by depositing the notice properly addressed and postage paid in the United States mail to the property owners as evidenced by the last approved tax roll.  This notice must be written in English and Spanish if the area of request is located wholly or partly within a census tract in which 50 percent or more of the inhabitants are persons of Spanish origin or descent according to the most recent federal decennial census.  The applicant may not alter, change, amend, enlarge, or withdraw a portion of an application after notices have been mailed for the public hearing.
      (6)   The commission shall make its recommendation on a proposed amendment to this article or request for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary from staff reports of the director, field inspections and the evidence presented at the public hearing.
      (7)   The director shall forward to the city council the commission’s recommendation and report on all amendments to this article and requests for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary except that when the request for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary is denied by the commission, the director shall not forward that recommendation and report to the city council unless the applicant within 10 days of the denial files with  the director a request in writing that the city council review the commission’s findings.
      (8)   A request for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary that has been forwarded to the city council may not be held for longer than six months from the date of the commission’s action without being scheduled for a city council hearing.  The commission shall review a request for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary that has not been scheduled within six months of the commission’s action to determine whether a time extension should be granted for a specified period or whether the application should be terminated and declared null and void.
   (c)   City council action.
      (1)   Before the city council holds the public hearing on an amendment to this article or on a request for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary, the city secretary shall give notice of the public hearing in the official newspaper of the city at least 15 days before the hearing.
      (2)   An amendment to this article and requests for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary must be approved by the affirmative vote of a majority of city council members present; except, the favorable vote of three-fourths of all members of the city council is required if:
         (A)   the request for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary has been recommended for denial by the commission; or
         (B)   a written protest against a change in a zoning district boundary or classification has been signed by the owners of 20 percent or more of either the land in the area of request or land within 200 feet, including streets and alleys, measured from the boundary of the area of request and the protest has been filed with the director.
      (3)   When city council passes an amending ordinance, the city secretary shall file the amending  ordinance in the official city records.  Unless the amending ordinance expressly indicates otherwise, the area of request is presumed to include the area to the centerline of an adjacent street or alley.
      (1)   The director shall send written notice of a public hearing on a city council, city plan commission, or landmark commission authorized hearing for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary to all owners of real property according to the following table:
 
Authorized Hearing Area
Area of Notification for Hearing
0-1 acre
200 feet
over 1 acre to 5 acres
300 feet
over 5 acres to 15 acres
400 feet
over 15 acres to 25 acres
400 feet
over 25 acres
500 feet
 
See Section 51A-1.105 for the notification area for other applications.  The measurement of the notification area includes streets and alleys.  The notice must be given not less than 15 days before the date set for the city council hearing by depositing the notice properly addressed and postage paid in the United States mail to the property owners as evidenced by the last approved tax roll.  This notice must be written in English and Spanish if the area of request is located wholly or partly within a census tract in which 50 percent or more of the inhabitants are persons of Spanish origin or descent according to the most recent federal decennial census.  The applicant may not alter, change, amend, enlarge, or withdraw a portion of an application after notices have been mailed for the public hearing.
      (2)   Before the city council holds the public hearing on an amendment to this article or on a request for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary, the city secretary shall give notice of the public hearing in the official newspaper of the city at least 15 days before the hearing.
      (3)   An amendment to this article and requests for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary must be approved by the affirmative vote of a majority of city council members present; except, the favorable vote of three-fourths of all members of the city council is required if:
         (A)   the request for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary has been recommended for denial by the commission; or
         (B)   a written protest against a change in a zoning district boundary or classification has been signed by the owners of 20 percent or more of either the land in the area of request or land within 200 feet, including streets and alleys, measured from the boundary of the area of request and the protest has been filed with the director.
      (4)   When city council passes an amending ordinance, the city secretary shall file the amending  ordinance in the official city records.  Unless the amending ordinance expressly indicates otherwise, the area of request is presumed to include the area to the centerline of an adjacent street or alley.
   (d)   Two year limitation.
      (1)   Except as provided in Subsections (d)(2) and (d)(3), after a final decision is reached by the commission or city council either granting or denying a request for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary, no further applications may be considered for that property for two years from the date of the final decision.
      (2)   If the commission or the city council renders a final decision of denial without prejudice, or if the city council grants a specific use permit and imposes a time limit of two years or less, the two year limitation is waived.
      (3)   A property owner may apply for a waiver of the two year limitation in the following manner:
         (A)   The applicant shall submit his request in writing to the director.  The director shall inform the applicant of the date on which the commission shall consider his request and shall advise the applicant of his right to appear before the commission.
         (B)   The commission may waive the time limitation if there are changed circumstances regarding the property sufficient to warrant a new hearing. A simple majority vote by the commission is required to grant the request. If a rehearing is granted, the applicant shall follow the procedure for an amendment to this article or a request for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary.
         (C)   If the commission denies the request, the applicant may appeal in writing to the city council by filing an appeal with the director.
   (e)   Postponements.
      (1)   The applicant and the opponents shall each be allowed to postpone one hearing date before the commission and one hearing date before the city council.
      (2)   A request for postponement must be in writing and must be submitted to the director no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Monday of the week preceding the week of the hearing. If the deadline falls on an official city holiday, then the request must be submitted no later than noon on the following day.
      (3)   Before a hearing to be held by the city plan commission may be postponed, the person requesting postponement shall pay a fee of $150.00 to the director. Before a hearing to be held by the city council may be postponed, the person requesting postponement shall pay a fee of $150.00 to the director.
      (4)   Only the applicant or his representative may postpone the hearing date prior to the mailing of the hearing notices. A hearing postponed by the applicant or his representative whether prior to the mailing of required notices or after the mailing of required notices may be postponed for no longer than 60 days from the date of the scheduled or advertised hearing. If the applicant fails to request in writing within 60 days a new hearing date, the application is automatically withdrawn, and the director shall return the application to the applicant and the filing fee, less that amount necessary for administrative cost as determined by the director.
      (5)   Only a property owner within the area of notification may request a postponement for the opposition. The request for postponement must set forth the grounds for the postponement and must be signed by the party making the request. If postponed, the case will be rescheduled for the next hearing date that is four weeks or more in the future, unless the party making the request requests an earlier date.
   (f)   Withdrawals.
      (1)   If an applicant desires to withdraw his application, the applicant shall request in writing to withdraw an entire application for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary.
      (2)   If the applicant withdraws the application prior to the mailing of notice, the director shall return the application to the applicant. The director shall determine the administrative cost of processing the application, and shall return the filing fee less the administrative cost to the applicant.
      (3)   If the applicant withdraws the application after the mailing of notices for a public hearing before the commission, the applicant shall forfeit 65 percent of the filing fee to cover the administrative cost.
         (A)   If the application is withdrawn before 5:00 p.m. of the day that will leave five full working days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and official city holidays) before the date of the hearing, the applicant shall not be subject to the two year waiting period required in Subsection (d).
         (B)   If an applicant requests withdrawal after 5:00 p.m. of the day that will leave five full working days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and official city holidays) before the date of the hearing, the commission shall hold the public hearing and make a formal recommendation on the application. The applicant shall be subject to the two year waiting period required in Subsection (d).
      (4)   Once the commission has acted on a request for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary, the applicant may withdraw his application, but the entire application fee shall be retained by the city to cover administrative cost if:
         (A)   the commission approved the request; or
         (B)   the commission denied the request, but the applicant within 10 days of the denial files with the director a request in writing that the city council review the commission’s findings.
      (5)   If the commission denies a request for a change in a zoning district classification or boundary and the applicant does not appeal the decision to city council, the city controller shall refund 35 percent of the filing fee to the applicant.
   (g)   Written protest procedures.
      (1)   Purpose.
         (A)   The state law expressly enables the governing body of a municipality to establish procedures for adopting and enforcing zoning regulations and district boundaries. Pursuant to that authority, the city council enacts this subsection governing the receipt of written protests submitted for the purpose of requiring the favorable vote of three- fourths of all members of the city council to effect a change in a zoning district classification or boundary.
         (B)   This subsection is not intended to conflict with the state law; it is being enacted at a time when the state law does not explicitly provide how, when, or where a written protest must be filed. The city council expressly recognizes that this subsection may be partially or completely preempted at any such time that the state law is amended to explicitly provide how, when, or where a written protest must be filed.
         (C)   This subsection is intended to accomplish the following listed objectives which, in the opinion of the city council, are fully in keeping with the purposes, spirit, and intent of the state law:
            (i)   To allow the staff sufficient time to accurately calculate the land area percentages that determine the voting requirement.
            (ii)   To protect the rights of all parties by establishing minimum criteria to assure the reliability of written protests received.
            (iii)   To protect the rights of those protesting by establishing procedures and deadlines which are not unduly burdensome or restrictive.
            (iv)   To promote order and maintain the integrity of the zoning process.
      (2)   Form of protest.
         (A)   A protest must be in writing and, at a minimum, contain the following information:
            (i)   A description of the zoning case at issue.
            (ii)   The names of all persons protesting the proposed change in zoning district classification or boundary.
            (iii)   A description of the area of lots or land owned by the protesting parties that is either covered by the proposed change or located within 200 feet of the area covered by the proposed change.
            (iv)   The mailing addresses of all persons signing the protest.
            (v)   The date and time of its execution.
         (B)   The protest must bear the original signatures of all persons required to sign under Paragraph (3).
      (3)   Who must sign.
         (A)   A protest must be signed by the owner of the property in question, or by a person authorized by power of attorney to sign the protest on  behalf of the owner. If the property is owned by two or more persons, the protest must be signed by a majority of the owners, or by a person authorized by power of attorney to sign the protest on behalf of a majority of the owners, except that in the case of community property, the city shall presume the written protest of one spouse to be the protest of both.
         (B)   In the case of property owned by a corporation, the protest must be signed by the president, a vice-president, or by an attorney in fact authorized to sign the protest on behalf of the corporation. In the case of property owned by a general or limited partnership, the protest must be signed by a general partner or by an attorney in fact authorized to sign the protest on behalf of the partnership.
         (C)   Lots or land subject to a condominium regime are presumed to be commonly owned in undivided interests by the owners of all condominium units and under the control of the governing body of the condominium. For such lots or land to be included in calculating the lots or land area protesting a proposed rezoning, the written protest must state that the governing body of the condominium has authorized a protest in accordance with procedures required by its bylaws, and that the person signing the protest is authorized to act on behalf of the governing body of the condominium. A written protest signed by the owner of an individual condominium unit shall not be accepted unless the filing party produces legal documents governing the condominium which clearly establish the right of an individual owner to act with respect to his or her respective undivided interest in the common elements of the condominium.
      (4)   When signatures must be acknowledged.
         (A)   Except as otherwise provided in Subparagraphs (B) and (C), all signatures on a written protest must be acknowledged before a notary public.
         (B)   A signature on an original reply form sent by the city to the mailing address of the property owner need not be acknowledged.
         (C)   A signature on a protest delivered in person by the person signing need not be acknowledged if its reliability is otherwise established to the satisfaction of the director. In such a case, a summary of the evidence of reliability considered by the director must be endorsed on the protest by the director.
      (5)   Filing deadline.
         (A)   A written protest must be filed with the director before noon on the Friday immediately preceding the date advertised for the city council public hearing in the statutory notice published in the official newspaper of the city. If the deadline falls on a city holiday, written protest must be filed by noon on the next working day after the deadline.  A protest sent through the mail must be received by the director before the deadline.
         (B)   Before the public hearing on the case, the filing deadline is automatically extended whenever the public hearing is re-advertised in the official newspaper of the city pursuant to statutory notice requirements.
         (C)   After the public hearing has begun, the filing deadline may only be extended by calling a subsequent public hearing and advertising that public hearing in the official newspaper of the city pursuant to statutory notice requirements. In such a case, the new filing deadline is noon of the working day immediately preceding the newly advertised public hearing date.
      (6)   Withdrawals of protests filed.  Withdrawals of protests filed must be in writing and filed with the director before the filing deadline. The provisions of this subsection governing the form and filing of protests apply equally to withdrawals.
      (7)   Presumptions of validity.
         (A)   In all cases where a protest has been properly signed pursuant to this subsection, the city shall presume that the signatures appearing on the protest are authentic and that the persons or officers whose signatures appear on the protest are either owners of the property or authorized to sign on behalf of one or more owners as represented.
         (B)   In cases of multiple ownership, the city shall presume that a properly signed protest which on its face purports to represent a majority of the property owners does in fact represent a majority of the property owners.
         (C)   The  presumptions  in Subparagraphs (A) and (B) are rebuttable, and the city attorney may advise the city council that a presumption should not be followed in a specific case based on extrinsic evidence presented.
      (8)   Conflicting instruments.  In the event that multiple protests and withdrawals are filed on behalf of the same owner, the instrument with the latest date and time of execution controls.  (Ord. Nos. 19455; 19872; 19935; 20037; 20381; 21431; 22389; 24718; 26271; 28096; 31471 )