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RULE §15.11Repairs to Certain Houses Located Seaward of the Boundary of the Public Beach

(a) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to provide authority for local governments to issue permits or certificates for repairs to certain houses if any portion of the house is located seaward of the boundary of the public beach.

(b) Definitions. In addition to the definitions contained in §15.2 of this title (relating to Definitions), the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:

  (1) Beach debris--Anything that is not native to the beach and beach/dune system, including, but not limited to, pilings, concrete, fibercrete, rebar, riprap, boulders, automobile parts, rubble mounds, damaged dune walkovers, garbage, septic systems, and other objects, that may pose a hazard to public health and safety and/or no longer serve the purpose for which they were originally intended.

  (2) Boundary of the public beach--The landward edge of the public beach, as described in §15.3(b) of this title (relating to Administration) or an order issued under §15.12(e) of this title (relating to Temporary Orders Issued by the Land Commissioner). For purposes of this section, the location of the natural line of vegetation shall be determined by the General Land Office on a case-by-case basis.

  (3) Habitable--The condition of the premises which permits the inhabitants to live free of serious hazards to health and safety.

  (4) House--A single or multi-family structure that serves as permanent, temporary, or occasional living quarters for one or more persons or families.

(c) Eligible houses. To find a house eligible for a permit or certificate to make repairs under this section, the Land Office must determine that:

  (1) The line of vegetation establishing the boundary of the public beach has moved as a result of erosion or a meteorological event;

  (2) The house was located landward of the line of vegetation before the erosion or meteorological event occurred;

  (3) No portion of the house is located seaward of the boundary of coastal public land;

  (4) The house was not damaged more than 50 percent or destroyed as the result of a meteorological event; and

  (5) The house does not present an imminent threat to public health and safety.

(d) For a house eligible under this section, a local government may issue a certificate or permit authorizing repair of an eligible house if the local government determines that the repair:

  (1) is solely to make the house habitable including reconnecting the house to utilities;

  (2) does not increase the footprint of the house;

  (3) does not include the use of impervious material, including, but not limited to, concrete or fibercrete, seaward of the boundary of the public beach;

  (4) does not include the construction of an enclosed space below the base flood elevation and seaward of the boundary of the public beach;

  (5) does not include the repair, construction, or maintenance of an erosion response structure seaward of the boundary of the public beach;

  (6) does not occur seaward of the boundary of coastal public land; and

  (7) does not include construction underneath, outside or around the house other than for reasonable access to or structural integrity of the house, provided that such repair does not create an additional obstruction to public use of and access to the beach.

(e) Debris removal. Debris on the public beach creates a hazard to public health and safety and can threaten Gulf-facing properties. A local government shall coordinate with owners of eligible houses to remove personal property and beach debris related to the structure from the public beach and dune complex as soon as possible. The local government may require debris removal as a condition of the issuance of a certificate or permit under this section. All beach debris collected from the public beach shall be removed from the beach/dune system and disposed of in an appropriate landfill.

(f) Sand placement. Only beach-quality sand may be placed underneath the footprint of an eligible house and in an area up to five feet seaward of the house, provided that the sand may not be placed seaward of mean high tide except as part of an approved beach nourishment project. The beach-quality sand must remain loose and unconsolidated and cannot be placed in bags or other formed containment. In addition, the beach-quality sand must be an acceptable mineralogy and grain size when compared to the sediments found in the beach/dune system. The use of clay or clayey material is not allowed.

(g) Land Office review. A local government shall submit the certificate or permit application for repair of an eligible house under this section to the commissioner for review and determination of eligibility as provided in subsections (b)(2) and (c) of this section. If the commissioner does not object to or otherwise comment on the application within 10 working days of receipt of the application, the local government may act on the application. Local governments shall require that all permit and certificate applicants fully disclose in the application all items and information necessary for the local government to make an affirmative determination regarding a permit or certificate for repairs. Local governments may require more information, but they shall submit to the Land Office the following information:

  (1) the name, address, phone number, and, if applicable, electronic mail address of the applicant, and the name of the property owner, if different from the applicant;

  (2) a complete legal description of the tract and a statement of its size in acres or square feet including the location of the property lines and a notation of the legal description of adjoining tracts;

  (3) the floor plan, footprint or elevation view of the house identifying the proposed repairs;

  (4) photographs of the site which clearly show the current conditions of the site; and

  (5) an accurate map, site plan, plat, or survey of the site identifying:

    (A) the site by its legal description, including, where applicable, the subdivision, block, and lot;

    (B) the location of the property lines and a notation of the legal description of adjoining tracts, and the location of any roadways, driveways and landscaping that currently exist on the tract;

    (C) the location of any seawalls or any other erosion response structures on the tract and on the properties immediately adjacent to the tract;

    (D) the location of the house and the distance between the house and mean high tide, mean low tide, and the line of vegetation; and,

    (E) if known, the location and extent of any man-made vegetated mounds, restored dunes, fill activities, or any other pre-existing human modifications on the tract.

(h) Monitoring. A local government is responsible for monitoring the repair of an eligible house under this section. A local government may conduct a monitoring program to study the effects of permitting repairs to an eligible house on the public's access to and use of the public beach. Expenses related to the monitoring program are considered beach-related services for the purpose of this subchapter.

(i) Effect on actions for removal. This section does not create a property right of any kind in the littoral property owner. Houses eligible for repairs to maintain habitability under this section may also be encroachments on and interferences with the public beach easement. Except as provided in an unexpired temporary order issued by the commissioner under §61.085 of the Texas Natural Resources Code, the commissioner, the attorney general, a county attorney, district attorney, or criminal district attorney may file suit under Texas Natural Resources Code §61.018(a) to obtain a temporary or permanent injunction, either prohibitory or mandatory, to remove a house from the public beach without regard to whether the house is eligible for repairs under this section.

Source Note: The provisions of this §15.11 adopted to be effective August 30, 2006, 31 TexReg 6777; amended to be effective June 12, 2014, 39 TexReg 4482; amended to be effective May 8, 2023, 48 TexReg 2343

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