84(R) - 2015
House County Affairs
House County Affairs
Relating to the closing, abandoning, and vacating of a public road by a county; authorizing the imposition of a fee.
A fiscal note dated May 6, 2015 anticipates no significant fiscal impact to the State or to units of local government.
House Bill 1709 would amend Section 251.058 of the Transportation Code relating to the closing, abandoning, and vacating of public roads to add that the order, signed by a county judge, to close, abandon, or vacate a road, would also have to include, when appropriate, that the title to the property is subject to the right-of-way or easement and the continued use by the public utility or common carrier of utility infrastructure in existence on the date the order is signed.
House Bill 1709 would also require that a commissioners court notify of the order to close a road a public utility using the road. The notification would have to happen not later than 30 days before the date the order is signed.
If the road was closed or abandoned at the request of an owner of property, the commissioners court would be able to require the owner to pay the costs related to the closure, including the market value of any property interest conveyed to the owner.
Vote Recommendation Notes
We support HB 1709 in the second chamber. The second chamber sponsor is Senator Zaffirini.
House Bill 1709 aims at providing information to public utilities when a road that they may use is closed, abandoned, or vacated and conveyed to a property owner. The bill would also allow for a commissioners court to require a property owner that requests the closure of a road that is later conveyed to the property owner to pay for the cost the closure generates as opposed to the commissioners court, and hence taxpayers. The costs could only be requested to be paid by the property owner when the closure is undertaken at the owner's request, and not when the commissioners court closes it on its own motion.
House Bill 1709 would make sure that taxpayers do not become liable in a situation they should not be. We support this bill under the personal responsibility and limited government principles.