A measure introduced in the coming Special Session of the Legislature would scrap San Antonio's 14 year old Tree Preservation Ordinance, New Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Governor Greg Abbott has placed a bill preventing cities from telling residents what they can do with trees on their own property as a priority for the coming session of the Legislature.
“Government has a responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens,” said Governor Abbott. “Unfortunately, local governments throughout Texas are infringing on private property rights and prohibiting Texans from being able to do what they want with their own land."
Abbott says tree ordinances ' blatantly violate individual property rights by saying that you don't actually own or control natural resources on property that you have purchased.' He says tree ordinances amount to a 'taking' under the U.S. Constitution, because they allow the government to take away the use of private property without compensation.
Tree ordinances take much of the blame for the fact that housing prices are skyrocketing, and there is little or no low cost new construction available for young families.
One think tank estimated that three ordinances and other local regulations add as much as $80,000 to the cost of a home, pushing prices of new homes higher.
"Local control is an effective tool for preserving individual liberties. Unfortunately, too many local governments have twisted the purpose of local control to strip more and more freedoms from their citizens," said Rep. Paul Workman (R-Austin). "I am ready to get back to work in the upcoming special session to make sure Texans' freedoms are protected from government overreach."
The measure is also an indication of new efforts by the overwhelmingly Republican Legislature to strip powers from local urban areas, which are generally controlled by Democrats, on the grounds that local governments infringe on personal rights or spend too much money.