Abbott is Determined to Abolish San Antonio's Tree Ordinance


Gov. Greg Abbott is bound and determined to abolish San Antonio's 2003 Tree Preservation Ordinance, which has been blamed for drying up the supply of available low cost new housing which kept the city's housing market affordable, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Among the governor's vetos in Thursday was a bill that would have limited the scope of tree ordinances in cities statewide.  In his veto message, Abbott said approving that bill may have led cities to believe that tree ordinances are okay, when in reality, they're not.

"They are stifling our economy, interfering with job creation, and undermining private property rights," Abbott said.

According to the City Code...the Tree Preservation Ordinance requires developers and builders to:

"Under the Tree Preservation Ordinance, prior to any development of property, a tree permit must be obtained. Development activities that remove trees and disturb vegetation require a Tree Preservation Plan be submitted with the Tree Permit application. Under certain circumstances tree permits can be issued in lieu of a preservation plan by completing a tree affidavit/permit application and submitting required information and fees."

Many developers tell 1200 WOAI news the tree ordinance has added thousands of dollars to the costs of building a home, making the 'Ray Ellison Style' homes that propelled San Antonio's housing market in the 1980s and 1990s a thing of the past.

It has been estimated that local regulations, including overreaching 'tree ordinances' add as much as $80,000 to the price of a home.   The San Antonio Board of Realtors recently announced that for the first time ever, the average price of a home sold in the metro was prices in excess of a quarter million dollars, and the majority of homes sold cost more than $200,000.

Economists say these skyrocketing housing prices are placing the Texas economy in jeopardy, by endangering the 'low cost advantage' which has helped attract employers here.

Abbott has placed a bill forbidding cities from enacting tree preservation ordinances on the agenda for next month's special session of the Legislsture.

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