Proposed changes to the city of Kyle’s Residential Style Guide are intended to create a “higher standard” in neighborhood design, according to Development Director Howard Koontz.
The City Council on Jan. 21 heard a presentation by Koontz on amendments to the style guide. No action was taken, but council directed city staff to make further revisions before bringing the issue back for further consideration.
That said, much of the impetus for the changes was HB 2439, which was passed by the Texas Legislature in 2019 in order to address “vendor-driven” building regulations which are felt by the bill’s sponsors to be overly restrictive.
The end effect is that municipal governments have been trumped by the legislation, Koontz said. “It’s a true pre-emption bill, and for that reason portions of our code relating to building codes have been essentially made obsolete,” he said. “We have no enforcement authority related to that.”
Under that umbrella, Koontz said the amendments to the style guidelines address placement of garages and eligible building materials, streetwise plantings and dual usages for utility easements, among other issues. Specifically, he said the plan for new developments is to no longer allow front-facing garages. “Council decided one of the things that was off-putting about curb appeal was the fact (facades) were dominated by reasonably large two-car garage doors.”
Instead, new neighborhoods would more closely resemble Plum Creek, where garages are located away from the street. “Homes would instead have side-loaded garages that are side facing or rear facing or a detached structure in the rear of the home.”
Staff was initially directed in November to look at tightening up residential style standards. Koontz was unsure when the council will revisit the issue.