LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE


TITLE 7. REGULATION OF LAND USE, STRUCTURES, BUSINESSES, AND RELATED ACTIVITIES


SUBTITLE B. COUNTY REGULATORY AUTHORITY


CHAPTER 234. COUNTY REGULATION OF BUSINESSES AND OCCUPATIONS


SUBCHAPTER A. CERTAIN OUTDOOR BUSINESSES


Sec. 234.001. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:

(1) "Automotive wrecking and salvage yard" means a business, other than a business classified as a salvage pool operator under Chapter 2302, Occupations Code, that stores three or more wrecked vehicles outdoors for the purpose of:

(A) selling the vehicles whole; or

(B) dismantling or otherwise wrecking the vehicles to remove parts for sale or for use in an automotive repair or rebuilding business.

(2) "Demolition business" means a business that demolishes structures, including houses and other buildings, in order to salvage building materials and that stores those materials before disposing of them.

(3) "Flea market" means an outdoor market for selling secondhand articles or antiques.

(4) "Junkyard" means a business that stores, buys, or sells materials that have been discarded or sold at a nominal price by a previous owner and that keeps all or part of the materials outdoors until disposing of them.

(5) "Outdoor resale business" means a business that sells used merchandise, other than automobiles, logging equipment, or other agricultural equipment, and stores or displays the merchandise outdoors.

(6) "Recycling business" means a business that is primarily engaged in:

(A) converting ferrous or nonferrous metals or other materials into raw material products having prepared grades and having an existing or potential economic value;

(B) using raw material products of that kind in the production of new products; or

(C) obtaining or storing ferrous or nonferrous metals or other materials for a purpose described by Paragraph (A) or (B).

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 107, Sec. 8.01(a), eff. Aug. 30, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 992, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 12.003(6), eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1276, Sec. 14A.789, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 234.002. AUTHORITY TO REGULATE; ADOPTION OF RULE. (a) The commissioners court of a county by order may establish visual aesthetic standards for automotive wrecking and salvage yards, junkyards, recycling businesses, flea markets, demolition businesses, and outdoor resale businesses in the unincorporated area of the county.

(b) The commissioners court may not include in an order adopted under this section a screening requirement for an automotive wrecking and salvage yard or a junkyard that is less restrictive than the screening requirement under Chapter 396, Transportation Code.

(c) An order adopted under this section must provide a reasonable period of time not to exceed 12 months for a business operating on the effective date of the order to comply with the visual aesthetic standards.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 107, Sec. 8.01, eff. Aug. 30, 1993. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.222, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Renumbered from Sec. 238.002 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 12.003(6), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 234.003. EXCEPTIONS. (a) A commissioners court may not regulate under this subchapter farm machinery owned or operated by the person on whose property the machinery is located and kept on that property for purposes other than sale.

(b) A business subject to a screening requirement under Subchapter E of Chapter 391, Chapter 396, or Chapter 397, Transportation Code, that was in compliance with that screening requirement on August 26, 1991, is exempt from a screening requirement adopted under this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 107, Sec. 8.01, eff. Aug. 30, 1993. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.223, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Renumbered from Sec. 238.003 and amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch; 1420, Sec. 12.003(6), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 234.004. CIVIL PENALTY. (a) The appropriate attorney representing the county in civil cases may file a civil action to recover a civil penalty from a business that violates a visual aesthetic standard established under this subchapter. The penalty may not exceed $50 each day for the first 10 days of the violation, $100 each day for the next 10 days, $250 each day for the next 10 days, and $1,000 for each day thereafter. In determining the amount of the penalty, the court shall consider the seriousness of the violation.

(b) A penalty recovered under this section shall be deposited in the general fund of the county.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 107, Sec. 8.01, eff. Aug. 30, 1993. Renumbered from Sec. 238.004 and amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch; 1420, Sec. 12.003(6), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

SUBCHAPTER B. SLAUGHTERERS


Sec. 234.031. DEFINITION. In this subchapter, "slaughterer" has the meaning assigned by Section 148.001, Agriculture Code.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1044, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Renumbered from Sec. 240.061 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 12.003(7), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 234.032. APPLICABILITY. This subchapter applies only in the unincorporated area of a county if the county:

(1) contains two or more municipalities with a population of 250,000 or more;

(2) is a county adjacent to a county described by Subdivision (1); or

(3) is a county adjacent to a county described by Subdivision (2) and:

(A) has a population of not more than 50,000 and contains a municipality with a population of at least 20,000; or

(B) contains, wholly or partly, two or more municipalities with a population of 250,000 or more.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1044, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Renumbered from Sec. 240.062 and amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch; 1420, Sec. 12.003(7), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 681 (H.B. 92), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2011.

Sec. 234.033. LOCATION OF SLAUGHTERER. The commissioners court of the county may prohibit the operations of a slaughterer:

(1) within 1,000 feet of a school or residence; or

(2) at any other location if the commissioners court finds that the operation of a slaughterer's business is incompatible with the existing land use of the neighboring area or would impose an undue hardship on persons residing or trading in the neighboring area.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1044, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Renumbered from Sec. 240.063 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 12.003(7), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 234.034. PERMIT REQUIRED. The commissioners court may require that a slaughterer obtain a permit from the county before engaging in the slaughtering business in the county. The commissioners court may set a fee to be paid for a permit.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1044, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Renumbered from Sec. 240.064 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 12.003(7), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 234.035. RULES. The commissioners court may adopt rules as necessary to administer this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1044, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Renumbered from Sec. 240.065 and amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch; 1420, Sec. 12.003(7), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 234.036. INJUNCTION. A district or county attorney may bring suit to enjoin the operations of a slaughterer in violation of this subchapter or a rule adopted by a county under this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1044, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Renumbered from Sec. 240.066 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 12.003(7), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 234.037. OFFENSE. A person commits an offense if a person violates a provision of this subchapter or a rule adopted under this subchapter. An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1044, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Renumbered from Sec. 240.067 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 12.003(7), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

SUBCHAPTER C. COUNTY INSPECTION OF DAY-CARE CENTERS AND GROUP DAY-CARE HOMES LOCATED IN MUNICIPALITIES


Sec. 234.051. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:

(1) "Day-care center" has the meaning assigned by Section 42.002, Human Resources Code.

(2) "Group day-care home" has the meaning assigned by Section 42.002, Human Resources Code.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 388 (S.B. 436), Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2011.

Sec. 234.052. APPLICABILITY. This subchapter applies only to a county with a population of 700,000 or more.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 388 (S.B. 436), Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2011.

Sec. 234.053. FACILITY INSPECTION REQUIRED BY MUNICIPALITY. A county health officer or official designated by the commissioners court may contract with a municipality for the county to conduct an inspection required by the municipality of a day-care center or group day-care home located in the municipality.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 388 (S.B. 436), Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2011.

SUBCHAPTER D. MASSAGE PARLORS


Sec. 234.101. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:

(1) "Massage parlor" means a business establishment that purports to provide massage services and that allows:

(A) a nude person to provide massage services to a customer;

(B) a person to engage in sexual contact for compensation; or

(C) a person to provide massage services in clothing intended to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.

(2) "Nude" and "sexual contact" have the meanings assigned by Section 455.202, Occupations Code.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 932 (H.B. 3094), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Sec. 234.102. AUTHORITY TO REGULATE. To promote public health, safety, and welfare, the commissioners court of a county by order may prohibit or otherwise regulate massage parlors located in the unincorporated area of the county.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 932 (H.B. 3094), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Sec. 234.103. INJUNCTION. If a massage parlor has previously violated a prohibition or other regulation adopted under this subchapter, a district or county attorney may bring suit to enjoin the operation of a massage parlor in violation or threatened violation of a prohibition or other regulation adopted under this subchapter.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 932 (H.B. 3094), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Sec. 234.104. CIVIL PENALTY. (a) A person who violates a prohibition or regulation adopted by the county under this subchapter is liable to the county for a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 for each violation. Each day a violation continues is considered a separate violation for purposes of assessing the civil penalty.

(b) A county may bring suit in a district court to recover a civil penalty authorized by Subsection (a).

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 932 (H.B. 3094), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Sec. 234.105. CRIMINAL PENALTY. (a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly operates a massage parlor in violation of a prohibition or regulation adopted under this subchapter by the commissioners court.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 932 (H.B. 3094), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Sec. 234.106. CUMULATIVE EFFECT. Authority under this subchapter is cumulative of other authority that a county has to regulate massage parlors and does not limit that other authority.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 932 (H.B. 3094), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Sec. 234.107. EFFECT ON OTHER LAWS. (a) This subchapter does not legalize anything prohibited under the Penal Code or other state law.

(b) A person who is subject to prosecution under this section and any other law may be prosecuted under either or both laws.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 932 (H.B. 3094), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

SUBCHAPTER E. GAME ROOMS


Sec. 234.131. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:

(1) "Amusement redemption machine" means any electronic, electromechanical, or mechanical contrivance designed, made, and adopted for bona fide amusement purposes that rewards the player exclusively with noncash merchandise, prizes, toys, or novelties, or a representation of value redeemable for those items, with a wholesale value available from a single play of the game or device in an amount not more than 10 times the amount charged to play the game or device once or $5, whichever amount is less.

(2) "Game room" means a for-profit business located in a building or place that contains six or more:

(A) amusement redemption machines; or

(B) electronic, electromechanical, or mechanical contrivances that, for consideration, afford a player the opportunity to obtain a prize or thing of value, the award of which is determined solely or partially by chance, regardless of whether the contrivance is designed, made, or adopted solely for bona fide amusement purposes.

(3) "Game room owner" means a person who:

(A) has an ownership interest in, or receives the profits from, a game room or an amusement redemption machine located in a game room;

(B) is a partner, director, or officer of a business, including a company or corporation, that has an ownership interest in a game room or in an amusement redemption machine located in a game room;

(C) is a shareholder that holds more than 10 percent of the outstanding shares of a business, including a company or corporation, that has an ownership interest in a game room or in an amusement redemption machine located in a game room;

(D) has been issued by the county clerk an assumed name certificate for a business that owns a game room or an amusement redemption machine located in a game room;

(E) signs a lease for a game room;

(F) opens an account for utilities for a game room;

(G) receives a certificate of occupancy or certificate of compliance for a game room;

(H) pays for advertising for a game room; or

(I) signs an alarm permit for a game room.

(4) "Operator" means an individual who:

(A) operates a cash register, cash drawer, or other depository on the premises of a game room or of a business where the money earned or the records of credit card transactions or other credit transactions generated in any manner by the operation of a game room or activities conducted in a game room are kept;

(B) displays, delivers, or provides to a customer of a game room merchandise, goods, entertainment, or other services offered on the premises of a game room;

(C) takes orders from a customer of a game room for merchandise, goods, entertainment, or other services offered on the premises of a game room;

(D) acts as a door attendant to regulate entry of customers or other persons into a game room; or

(E) supervises or manages other persons at a game room in the performance of an activity listed in this subdivision.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1284 (H.B. 2123), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1170 (S.B. 866), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.

This section was amended by the 85th Legislature. Pending publication of the current statutes, see H.B. 3453 and S.B. 1488, 85th Legislature, Regular Session, for amendments affecting this section.


Text of section as amended by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 623 (S.B. 1210), Sec. 1


For text of section as amended by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1170 (S.B. 866), Sec. 2, see other Sec. 234.132.


Sec. 234.132. APPLICABILITY. This subchapter applies only to:

(1) a county that has a population of less than 25,000, is adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico, and is within 50 miles of an international border;

(2) a county that has a population of four million or more; and

(3) a county that has a population of 550,000 or more and is adjacent to a county described by Subdivision (2).

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1284 (H.B. 2123), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 623 (S.B. 1210), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.

This section was amended by the 85th Legislature. Pending publication of the current statutes, see H.B. 3453 and S.B. 1488, 85th Legislature, Regular Session, for amendments affecting this section.


Text of section as amended by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1170 (S.B. 866), Sec. 2


For text of section as amended by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 623 (S.B. 1210), Sec. 1, see other Sec. 234.132.


Sec. 234.132. APPLICABILITY. This subchapter applies only to:

(1) a county that has a population of less than 25,000, is adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico, and is within 50 miles of an international border;

(2) a county that has a population of four million or more;

(3) a county that is adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico and to a county that has a population of four million or more; and

(4) a county located on the Texas-Mexico border that has a population of less than 300,000 and contains a municipality with a population of 200,000 or more.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1284 (H.B. 2123), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1170 (S.B. 866), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 234.133. AUTHORITY TO REGULATE. To promote the public health, safety, and welfare, the commissioners court of a county may regulate the operation of game rooms and may:

(1) restrict the location of game rooms to specified areas of the county, including the unincorporated area of the county;

(2) prohibit a game room location within a certain distance, prescribed by the commissioners court, of a school, regular place of religious worship, or residential neighborhood; or

(3) restrict the number of game rooms that may operate in a specified area of the county.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1284 (H.B. 2123), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.

Sec. 234.134. LICENSES OR PERMITS. (a) A county may require that an owner or operator of a game room obtain a license or permit or renew a license or permit on a periodic basis to own or operate a game room in the county. An application for a license or permit must be made in accordance with regulations adopted by the county.

(b) Regulations adopted under this section may provide for the denial, suspension, or revocation of a license or permit.

(c) A district court has jurisdiction of a suit that arises from the denial, suspension, or revocation of a license or other permit by a county.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1284 (H.B. 2123), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.

Sec. 234.135. FEES. A county may impose a fee not to exceed $1,000 on an applicant for a license or permit or for the renewal of the license or permit required under this subchapter. The fee must be based on the cost of processing the application and investigating the applicant.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1284 (H.B. 2123), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.

Sec. 234.136. INSPECTION. (a) A peace officer or county employee may inspect a business in the county to determine the number of amusement redemption machines or machines described by Section 234.131(2)(B) subject to regulation under this subchapter that are located on the premises of the business.

(b) A peace officer or county employee may inspect any business in which six or more amusement redemption machines or machines described by Section 234.131(2)(B) are located to determine whether the business is in compliance with this subchapter or regulations adopted under this subchapter.

(c) A person violates this subchapter if the person fails to allow a peace officer or county employee to conduct an inspection under this section.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1284 (H.B. 2123), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1170 (S.B. 866), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 234.137. INJUNCTION; CIVIL PENALTY. (a) A county may sue in district court for an injunction to prohibit the violation or threatened violation of this subchapter or a regulation adopted under Section 234.133.

(b) A person who violates this subchapter or a regulation adopted under Section 234.133 is liable to the county for a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each violation. Each day a violation continues is considered a separate violation for purposes of assessing the civil penalty under this subsection. A county may bring suit in district court to recover a civil penalty authorized by this subsection.

(c) The county is entitled to recover reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining injunctive relief, civil penalties, or both, under this section, including reasonable attorney's fees, court costs, and investigatory costs.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1284 (H.B. 2123), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.

Sec. 234.138. CRIMINAL PENALTY. (a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly operates a game room in violation of a regulation adopted under Section 234.133.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1284 (H.B. 2123), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.

Sec. 234.139. CUMULATIVE EFFECT. Authority under this subchapter is cumulative of other authority that a county has to regulate game rooms and does not limit that authority.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1284 (H.B. 2123), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.

Sec. 234.140. EFFECT ON OTHER LAWS. (a) This subchapter does not legalize any activity prohibited under the Penal Code or other state law.

(b) A person's compliance with this subchapter, including operating a game room under a license or permit issued under this chapter, is not a defense to prosecution for an offense under Chapter 47, Penal Code.

(c) A person who is subject to prosecution under Section 234.138 and any other law may be prosecuted under either or both laws.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1284 (H.B. 2123), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.