Sunday, May 24, 2015

Galveston County Building Codes for the Unincorporated Bacliff, Bayview, San Leon Texas

Life in unincorporated Texas isn’t all roses

BACLIFF — Terry Singeltary loves the freedom of living in unincorporated Texas — he finds life outside the city limits keeps his community small, his taxes low and people telling you what to do to a minimum.
Posted: 05/24/15

Life in unincorporated Texas isn’t all roses

Posted: Sunday, May 24, 2015 1:30 am

BACLIFF — Terry Singeltary loves the freedom of living in unincorporated Texas — he finds life outside the city limits keeps his community small, his taxes low and people telling you what to do to a minimum.
But when the structure he sometimes calls “big ugly” moved in next door, Singeltary called for limits to the area’s “anything goes” approach.

Bacliff resident Terry Singeltary is upset with the construction of a large, waterfront home built right up to the property line of his Bayshore Drive home. A second floor extension nearly extends over the property line.

The construction of a large, waterfront house on Bayshore Drive in Bacliff has caused flooding issues for Terry Singeltary, who lives next door.
The builders of the house - Trendmaker Homes - said they were fully approved by the county and followed all building guidelines in the project.

The owners, Ralph and Theresa Foltz, said they used one of the best builders in Houston for the project, but declined to comment about Singeltary's complaints.


"In unincorporated areas, people are entitled to put a couch in their yard” Dennard said. "Now if they light it on fire, then we can step in. But anything that is purely aesthetic, there is not much we can do. It is up to the property owners."


Anything goes

Stagli said the county's limits - especially in controlling what people can do on their land - often create neighborhood disagreements.

"Let's say you build your house next to an empty one acre lot”, Stagli said "There is nothing to prevent the guy next door from pulling in a trailer or putting in a motorcycle dirt track and running motorcycles all day and all night. A sexually oriented business could move into the neighborhood and there is nothing the county can do to stop it.”


Health and safety

Garret Foskit, the Galveston County Nuisance Abatement Officer, said beyond building there are often complaints about the upkeep of houses outside the city limits.

Still the county is prevented form stepping in until it can prove a danger to health and safety.
Grass needs to be three feet tall before it can be cut. A home needs to be proven dangerous before it can be torn down. And even then it is a complicated legal process. Foskit is in the process of demolishing the last of the abandoned homes after Hurricane Ike in 2008.

He said the county also has no power to stop the way people decorate their homes or lawns.
Signs with rude comments, political proclamations or ads are a common complaint. Cars and trailers are allowed to be parked on the grass. One home, Foskit said, even used astro turf for siding.

But for all the neighborhood battles, Foskit said people who choose to live in unincorporated areas often embrace the lack of restrictions.

"You need to know that is what you are buying when you chose to live there,” he said. "It's like buying a house next to a farm. You might smell some animal manure, but don't get mad at the farm. There are things that are different, but they are not bad differences. People like that they don't have to fit to anyone else's idea of what looks good.”

snip...see full article here ;

Thanks Erin and GDN et al. I hope your article helps stop this kind of building from happening to anyone else in Bacliff, Bayview, San Leon, or any other unincorporated area in Galveston Co. everyone I have spoken to says that there use to be a 5 foot rule, including easements, in all of Galveston County. but now they tell me there is not any building codes on property line in any unincorporated areas in Galveston County. when our old house was built, there was no fences, and or any houses on either side. people choose to do what they do, and these folks chose to build on top of us, and the county chose to let them. plus the fact of apparently, under current building rules in Galveston County, builders can build the house next door, from your property, apparently take up how ever much property of yours to build the house next door they want, for how ever long it takes, and if you don’t, then the builder threatens you, with the owners wife’s money. who does this?
I think anyone that is planning to build or to buy property over here in any of these unincorporated areas should know this, that this could happen to them. ...



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