Lubbock policies on farming in the city when land is annexed
Director of Planning says operations can continue like they were when land was in county
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Texas lawmakers are trying to pass right to farm protections that would help producers continue farming even if their land is annexed into city limits.
The City of Lubbock has been allowing farmers to keep operations as normal if they do become part of the city.
The Director of Planning for Lubbock says the Hub City is farmer-friendly and farmers can continue business as usual if it does happen.
“Any use that was in existence at the time of annexation can continue as nonconforming,” Sager said.
Meaning, the City of Lubbock is already following what part of the package, the right to farm in the city (HB 1750), is aiming for. It will allow you to continue growing your crops on the land and keep the same number of farm animals if they were already there.
“If they get to the point where they want to expand, then at that time we would recommend that they rezone to our rural residential zoning district that allows farming and agriculture uses by right,” Sager said.
Sager says if you drive along the streets of Lubbock, you will see some farms in city limits.
Code enforcement will continue, but Sager says most Lubbock producers are following best practices.
“I’ve never had any issues with any of them,” Sager said. “I’ve really never had any complaints from their neighbors as well.”
The land that is annexed usually isn’t done by city council. Sager said it has the authority to rezone for a specific public purpose, but she can’t remember a time when that’s happened in Lubbock.
“The city cannot go out and involuntarily annex property,” Sager said. “It has to come from a request from the property owner asking the city to bring property in.”
The city is growing, and Sager said usually when land is becoming city limits, it’s a request from developers.
“The majority of annexations we’ve seen really are that vacant land getting ready for development,” Sager said.
Sager tells KCBD she doesn’t expect Lubbock will ever not be a farmer-friendly town.
The constitutional right to farm (House Joint Resolution 126), right to farm in the city (HB 1750), and the right to farm protections against frivolous lawsuits (HB 2308) passed the Texas House 144 to nothing this week. It heads to the Senate next.
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