Town of Lakewood Vill. v. Bizios, No. 15-0106

CourtSupreme Court of Texas
Writing for the CourtJUSTICE BOYD delivered the opinion of the Court.
Citation493 S.W.3d 527
PartiesTown of Lakewood Village, Petitioner, v. Harry Bizios, Respondent
Decision Date27 May 2016
Docket NumberNo. 15-0106

493 S.W.3d 527

Town of Lakewood Village, Petitioner,
v.
Harry Bizios, Respondent

No. 15-0106

Supreme Court of Texas.

Argued March 8, 2016
Opinion delivered: May 27, 2016


Brenda N. McDonald, Brett D. Gardner, Jennifer Avalon Whit DeCurtis, W. Andrew Messer, Messer Rockfeller & Fort, PLLC, Frisco TX, for Petitioner.

493 S.W.3d 529

Arthur J. Anderson, Winstead PC, Dallas TX, David F. Johnson, Winstead PC, Fort Worth TX, for Respondent.

Dan W. Foster, John N. McClish, Sue Wall, Womack McClish Wall Foster Brooks, P.C., Austin TX, Ronald D. Stutes, Potter Minton P.C., Tyler TX, Steven M. Pena Sr., Davidson Troilo Ream & Garza, P.C., San Antonio TX, Laura Francis Mueller, Bojorquez Law Firm, P.C., Austin TX, David M. Berman, Nichols Jackson Dillard Hager & Smith LLP, Dallas TX, Sara Murray, Langley & Banack, Inc., San Antonio TX, Frank Gerhardt Cawley, Whitehurst & Cawley LLP, Addison TX, Manuel (Ned) Munoz, Jr., Texas Association of Builders, Austin TX, Scott N. Houston, Texas Municipal League, Austin TX, for Amicus Curiae parties.

JUSTICE BOYD delivered the opinion of the Court.

The issue in this interlocutory appeal from a temporary-injunction order is whether a Type A general-law municipality has authority to enforce its building codes and building-permit requirements within its extraterritorial jurisdiction. We hold that that it does not and affirm the court of appeals' judgment reversing the temporary injunction.

I.

Background

The Town of Lakewood Village (the Town) is a Type A general-law municipality located in Denton County. Because the Town's population is approximately 620, its extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ)1 extends one half-mile beyond its boundaries. Tex. Loc. Gov't Code § 42.021(a)(1). The Town's ETJ encompasses part of the Sunrise Bay subdivision (the Subdivision). Other parts of the Subdivision are within the city limits and ETJ of the City of Little Elm, a nearby home-rule city that has a larger population than the Town. When developers planned the subdivision in the mid–1990s, Little Elm and Denton County approved the final plat, but the developers did not file a plat with the Town. The Town does not provide any services to the Subdivision. Little Elm provides water to the Subdivision, while both Little Elm and Denton County maintain the Subdivision's roads.

Harry Bizios purchased a lot in the Subdivision in 2013. Bizios's lot is located entirely within the Town's ETJ, outside Little Elm's ETJ and city limits. Before building a house on the lot, Bizios obtained all required approval and permits from Denton County, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Subdivision's architectural review committee. The County regularly inspected the construction pursuant to county regulations.

Bizios did not, however, obtain building permits from the Town, even though the Town's ordinances adopt building codes and make them enforceable within its ETJ.2 The Town filed this suit after Bizios ignored its orders to stop construction. After limited discovery, the trial court granted the Town's application for a temporary injunction and ordered Bizios to cease all construction pending a final resolution on the merits. Bizios took an interlocutory

493 S.W.3d 530

appeal from the temporary injunction. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 51.014(a)(4) (permitting interlocutory appeal from order that “grants or refuses a temporary injunction”). The Fort Worth Court of Appeals reversed the temporary injunction, holding that the Town has no authority to enforce its building codes within its ETJ. 453 S.W.3d 598, 605 (Tex.App.–Fort Worth 2014). We granted the Town's petition for review.

II.

Jurisdiction

Bizios challenges our jurisdiction to hear this interlocutory appeal, so we address that issue first. This Court has jurisdiction over an interlocutory appeal only if “the justices of a court of appeals disagree on a question of law material to the decision” or if “one of the courts of appeals holds differently from a prior decision of another court of appeals or of the supreme court.” Tex. Gov't Code § 22.001(a)(1)–(2), (e) ; see id. § 22.225(c). A court “holds differently from another when there is inconsistency in their respective decisions that should be clarified to remove unnecessary uncertainty in the law and unfairness to litigants.” Id. § 22.225(e).

Although the court of appeals' decision was unanimous, the Town asserts that the court's holding that the Town lacks authority to enforce its building codes within its ETJ conflicts with other courts of appeals' decisions, particularly City of Lucas v. North Texas Municipal Water District, 724 S.W.2d 811, 823–24 (Tex.App.–Dallas 1986, writ ref'd n.r.e.) (“[O]rdinances regulating development, such as those specifying design, construction and maintenance standards, may be extended by a [general-law] city into its extraterritorial jurisdiction.”). Bizios argues no conflict exists because, as the court of appeals explained, Lucas predates statutory changes that altered the authority on which the Town relies. 453 S.W.3d at 604. But whether the statutory changes altered the nature of the Town's authority is part of the dispute we must resolve. Lucas held that a general-law city could enforce its “design” and “construction” ordinances within its ETJ, Lucas, 724 S.W.2d at 823, and the court of appeals here held that the Town could not enforce building ordinances within its ETJ, 453 S.W.3d at 605. We conclude the two holdings are sufficiently inconsistent to establish our jurisdiction over this interlocutory appeal.

III.

Statutory Authority

The Town argues that the Texas Local Government Code grants it authority to enforce its building codes within its ETJ. Because the Code expressly authorizes the enforcement of building codes in certain circumstances, depending on the status of the governing entity, we consider when different types of political subdivisions can enforce building codes inside corporate limits, inside ETJs, and in unincorporated areas outside corporate limits before proceeding to our analysis of the current dispute.

Municipalities are creatures of law that are “created as political subdivisions of the state ... for the exercise of such powers as are conferred upon them.... They represent no sovereignty distinct from the state and possess only such powers and privileges as have been expressly or impliedly conferred upon them.” Payne v. Massey, 145 Tex. 237, 196 S.W.2d 493, 495 (1946). Texas law recognizes three types of municipalities: home-rule municipalities, general-law municipalities, and special-law municipalities. See

493 S.W.3d 531

Forwood v. City of Taylor, 147 Tex. 161, 214 S.W.2d 282, 285 (1948). The nature and source of a municipality's power depends on the type of municipality. See Laidlaw Waste Sys. (Dall.), Inc. v. City of Wilmer, 904 S.W.2d 656, 658 (Tex.1995) (“Laws expressly applicable to one category [of municipalities] are not applicable to others.”).

Home-rule municipalities “derive their powers from the Texas Constitution” and “possess ‘the full power of self government and look to the Legislature not for grants of power, but only for limitations on their power.’ ” In re Sanchez, 81 S.W.3d 794, 796 (Tex.2002) (quoting Dall. Merchant's & Concessionaire's Ass'n v. City of Dallas , 852 S.W.2d 489, 490–91 (Tex.1993) ). Statutory limitations on home-rule municipal authority are ineffective unless they appear with “unmistakable clarity,” and even when they do, a municipality's ordinance is only “unenforceable to the extent it conflicts with [a] state statute.” Id. Therefore, home-rule municipalities inherently possess the authority to adopt and enforce building codes, absent an express limitation on this authority. Unlike home-rule municipalities, general-law municipalities, such as the Town, “are political subdivisions created by the State and, as such, possess [only] those powers and privileges that the State expressly confers upon them.” Tex. Dep't of Transp. v. City of Sunset Valley , 146 S.W.3d 637, 645 (Tex.2004).

The Local Government Code expressly authorizes every municipality to adopt, administer, and enforce residential and commercial building codes “in [the] municipality.” Tex. Loc. Gov't Code §§ 214.212 (providing the International Residential Code (IRC) applies to residential buildings “in a municipality,” and permitting municipalities to locally amend and enforce the IRC), .216 (providing the International Building Code (IBC) applies to commercial buildings “in a municipality,” and permitting municipalities to locally amend and enforce the IBC). The parties do not dispute that these sections empower a municipality to enforce its building codes within its city limits, but these sections do not authorize a municipality to enforce its building codes within its ETJ or elsewhere beyond its corporate limits. Because a general-law municipality only has those powers that the Legislature grants it, Sunset Valley, 146 S.W.3d at 645, we must decide whether any other statutes authorize the Town to enforce its building codes within its ETJ.

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27 practice notes
  • Brazos River Auth. v. City of Hous., 03-20-00076-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • 30 Junio 2021
    ...possess only such powers and privileges as have been expressly or impliedly conferred upon them.’ " Town of Lakewood Village v. Bizios , 493 S.W.3d 527, 530 (Tex. 2016) (quoting Payne v. Massey , 145 Tex. 237, 196 S.W.2d 493, 495 (1946) ). "Home-rule municipalities ‘derive their powers from......
  • Powell v. City of Hous., 19-0689
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • 4 Junio 2021
    ...2018). These inherent powers include, for example, the authority to adopt and enforce building codes, Town of Lakewood Vill. v. Bizios , 493 S.W.3d 527, 531 (Tex. 2016), and in the case of both general-law and home-rule cities, the authority to regulate land use. Comeau , 633 S.W.2d at 793 ......
  • Thomas Guth, Hempstead Homes, LLC v. Mayor, CIVIL ACTION NO. 4:17-CV-01100
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • 15 Septiembre 2017
    ...no later than 45 days following the application. TEX. LOC. GOV'T CODE § 214.904(a),(b)(1); Town of Lakewood Village v. Bizios, 493 S.W.3d 527, 534 (Tex. 2016). If a municipality declines to award the permit, it must "provide written notice to the applicant stating the reasons why [it is] un......
  • San Antonio River Auth. v. Austin Bridge & Rd., L.P., No. 17-0905
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • 1 Mayo 2020
    ...resources or its more specific power to enter into a contract for that purpose. See id. ; see also Town of Lakewood Village v. Bizios , 493 S.W.3d 527, 536 (Tex. 2016) ("A power is not ‘reasonably necessary' unless it is ‘indispensable’ to the purpose of the municipality."). If it were, sec......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
28 cases
  • Brazos River Auth. v. City of Hous., 03-20-00076-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • 30 Junio 2021
    ...possess only such powers and privileges as have been expressly or impliedly conferred upon them.’ " Town of Lakewood Village v. Bizios , 493 S.W.3d 527, 530 (Tex. 2016) (quoting Payne v. Massey , 145 Tex. 237, 196 S.W.2d 493, 495 (1946) ). "Home-rule municipalities ‘derive their powers from......
  • Powell v. City of Hous., 19-0689
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • 4 Junio 2021
    ...2018). These inherent powers include, for example, the authority to adopt and enforce building codes, Town of Lakewood Vill. v. Bizios , 493 S.W.3d 527, 531 (Tex. 2016), and in the case of both general-law and home-rule cities, the authority to regulate land use. Comeau , 633 S.W.2d at 793 ......
  • Thomas Guth, Hempstead Homes, LLC v. Mayor, CIVIL ACTION NO. 4:17-CV-01100
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • 15 Septiembre 2017
    ...no later than 45 days following the application. TEX. LOC. GOV'T CODE § 214.904(a),(b)(1); Town of Lakewood Village v. Bizios, 493 S.W.3d 527, 534 (Tex. 2016). If a municipality declines to award the permit, it must "provide written notice to the applicant stating the reasons why [it is] un......
  • San Antonio River Auth. v. Austin Bridge & Rd., L.P., No. 17-0905
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • 1 Mayo 2020
    ...resources or its more specific power to enter into a contract for that purpose. See id. ; see also Town of Lakewood Village v. Bizios , 493 S.W.3d 527, 536 (Tex. 2016) ("A power is not ‘reasonably necessary' unless it is ‘indispensable’ to the purpose of the municipality."). If it were, sec......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
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