City finalizes appeal rules on ‘eyesores’

Rate-hike plea nixed

Rockdale City Council members, meeting in special session Thursday at City Hall, “sealed the deal” on a pair of ordinances first considered at the regular June session three days previously.

The council gave second, and final, reading approval to an ordinance establishing new procedures for regulating substandard buildings, and to an ordinance denying a requested rate increase by Atmos Energy.

EYESORES—The new substandard building ordinance is an outgrowth of the recent Dallas vs. Stewart court case.

Many municipalities placed their eyesore demolition programs on hold af ter a Texas Supreme Court ruling ordered the city of Dallas to pay a building owner $75,000 following a demolition.

The court cited “due process” issues, technicalities the city believed have been addressed in the new ordinance, according to City Mgr. Kelvin Knauff.

The new procedure again puts the ultimate decision on the fate of a structure in the hands of a city-appointed Building Standards Commission.

But it creates a new step, an appeal from the commission’s decision directly to the city council.

A properly owner may also appeal the council’s decision in district court, in a specified amount of time.

R AT E HIK E—The Atmos refusal puts Rockdale in the camp of dozens of Texas municipalities who are contesting the proposed rate increase requested by January.

The coalition of municipalities is planning to take its opposition before the Texas Railroad Commission, which would have the final say on the matter unless a settlement can be reached.

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