Lubbock developers skirting regulations with technicality

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 10:18 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Some developers are accused of skirting regulations to lower their costs leaving some Lubbock county residents in a tough position soon after purchasing a new home. County commissioner Terence Kovar says it’s due to a technicality.

“They just go in and bam you know stake it off,” Kovar said. “They’ll have a surveyor come out and stake off 10.1 acres or however many acres it is and they just go through and do it.”

That’s the magic number,10.1. Because anything over 10 acres is not regulated under the same state codes, allowing developers to put homes on roads that aren’t fit for residential use. Developers are likely saving money by skirting those regulations and at the same time putting obstacles in the road ahead for the homeowners that move onto the land.

“Roads are going to get washed out, people are going to get stuck in there, we’re gonna damage vehicles, people are gonna be stuck and they’re gonna be mad,” Kovar said.

Those are all problems Lubbock County wants to avoid, but due to the rate of development, the work is becoming a game of catch-up.

“These developments are coming in so fast that they’re coming in faster than we can keep up,” Kovar said.

Those faux roads are potentially putting lives at risk due to their size. Some are too narrow for first responders, meaning in case of a house fire, a water tanker would not be able to adequately get to the home to fight the blaze. When new homeowners realize these issues, they look to the county.

“Now they’re asking us when are we gonna come back and caliche it again,” Kovar said.

While the county didn’t create the problem, its residents may end up footing the bill for the repairs.

“You’re putting this burden on all of the Lubbock County taxpayers for a few houses that are out on dirt roads, so basically you’re telling everybody in the city limits of Lubbock, Shallowater, Slaton that hey you’re gonna build me a caliche road.”

Roads are just one of County Commissioner Kovar’s concerns. Another is the availability of a reliable water source.

“How long are you going to have a sustainable water source, that’s the question,” Kovar said.

Kovar says potential home buyers should call High Plains Water District for the answer. Otherwise, they could be hauling water home soon after making their purchase.

While no laws are being broken, a question of ethics remains.

“What I don’t believe is ethical is putting lipstick on a pig, or a thin layer of caliche, or even if we had a caliche road here and you put a junk seal coat on top of it to make it look like asphalt that’s not gonna last. That is unethical.