By Phil Crone
Dallas Builders Association Executive Officer
Governor Greg Abbott on Aug. 16 signed House Bill 7 into law ending a long and tumultuous road that the measure took prior to his signature. The legislation, authored by State Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Port Neches) and State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), enables property owners to receive mitigation credits to offset tree mitigation fees imposed by municipalities. The new law, effective Dec. 1, is very similar to HB 744, which was vetoed by the Governor in June.
Many Texas cities regulate the removal of trees from private property as development occurs. Often, this takes the form of a fee paid by the property owner to the city as a condition for permitted removal of the tree from private property. The methods and valuation used to calculate tree removal fees vary greatly among municipalities. In some cases, these fees can approach the figure paid by the property owner to acquire the property to begin with and render development financially infeasible.