Monday, July 12, 1999
AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn received a $50,000 federal grant to prevent the expansion and development of colonias along the Texas-Mexico border. The grant will help fund the education and outreach, compliance investigation, and enforcement components of Attorney General Cornyn's anti-colonias efforts.
"With the passage of SB 1421, the legislature has set clear and high standards. Now, we must focus our efforts on enforcing these standards to stop the expansion of colonias. This grant will help us do that," said Attorney General Cornyn.
The grant award coincides with Governor Bush's signing of SB 1421, which will apply to new residential subdivisions in the 28 counties near the Texas-Mexico border. The new law requires that all subdivisions outside a city's limits comply with state regulations. With few exceptions, the property must have a plat and must meet minimum water, sewer, drainage, flood plain, and street paving requirements. The legislation also gives Attorney General Cornyn greater authority to investigate and prosecute those who violate these laws.
Attorney General Cornyn's education and outreach program will include workshops to inform local communities of the new laws. The workshops will be presented in El Paso, Alpine, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Laredo, McAllen, and Brownsville. Participants will include county and city elected officials, planners, inspectors, developers, engineers, utility providers, real estate agents, and others involved in subdivision development and regulation.
The compliance investigation program involves the work of two investigators from the Attorney General's office funded, in part, by the grant. The investigators will examine official records to uncover such practices as illegal lot sales and noncompliance with subdivision plat requirements. They will also conduct field investigations to detect new, unapproved land subdivisions.
The Attorney General's office will continue to file lawsuits seeking injunctive relief, damages, and civil penalties against developers and others who violate the State's laws designed to prevent colonias.
- 30 -