Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:James Stolte is the owner and developer of a 154.641-acre tract of land lying in Guadalupe County. Seeking to subdivide the tract into 55 lots, Stolte filed a plat application with the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court. The application was denied on the grounds that 1. the county did not want a 0.911-acre dedication; 2. several lots had less than 100 feet of road frontage on Muehl Road; and 3. the number of driveways onto Muehl Road was excessive. Stolte filed a second application, which also was denied. Stolte then sued the county, and asked the trial court to issue a writ of mandamus directing the county to “acknowledge approval” of the plat application. Stolte again filed his plat application, this time removing the proposed 0.911-acre dedication. The application was again denied. Stolte filed a motion for summary judgment in which he requested that the trial court issue a writ of mandamus directing the county to approve the plat application, refund to him $345.00 as required by Texas Local Government Code 232.0025(i), and pay him all taxable court costs. The trial court denied the motion and concluded the county has the inherent authority, pursuant to Texas Local Government Code Chapter 232, “to reject a plat application in the interest of public health and safety in the absence of a specific and properly adopted county regulation addressing such issue.” The trial court allowed Stolte to appeal the interlocutory order pursuant to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code 51.014(d) and stated the controlling question of law as: “whether a county has the legal authority to reject a plat application due to the width of the lot or due to the number of driveways accessing a public road in the absence of a specific and properly adopted county regulation addressing such issues.” The trial court found that the parties agreed there were no material issues of fact, and the facts asserted in Stolte’s motion and the county’s response were true and not in dispute. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. A county’s authority to grant or deny plat applications must be based on a specific statute or rule. Those statutes and rules are contained in the Texas Local Government Code and other rules properly enacted under 232.101. The court does not discount the county’s concern for the welfare of its residents and states that it understands the county’s concern that a large number of driveways entering onto a county road may pose safety issues for residents along that road. However, a county’s authority to grant or deny a plat application is limited by statute or other properly adopted rules, and in this case, there is no statute or other rule governing lot frontages or driveways. Therefore, the county’s duty to grant the plat application was ministerial in nature and the trial court erred in denying Stolte’s motion for summary judgment and his request for mandamus relief. OPINION:Sandee Bryan Marion, J.; Lopez, C.J., Stone and Marion, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.