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August 6, 2012 12:00 PM CDT

Pearsall, Texas to require masonry in new construction

Becomes first South Texas city to join growing trend

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The fast-growing city of Pearsall has decided to require minimum percentages of masonry for new construction.

The fast-growing city of Pearsall has decided to require minimum percentages of masonry for new construction.
Pearsall, a fast-growing South Texas city, has decided to join a growing state trend and require minimum percentages of masonry for new construction, reports the Texas Masonry Council.

Located 54 miles south of San Antonio, Pearsall is the county seat of Frio County. It lies within the Eagle Ford Shale Play, a major oil and gas exploration and production area, and grew nearly 28 percent over 10 years to a population of 9,146 in 2010. Continued significant population growth has spurred new residential and commercial development, but also concerns about construction quality.

Citing concerns about the city’s appearance and the long-term sustainability of the tax base, the City Council on June 12, 2012 voted unanimously to require minimum percentages of masonry for all new residential, multi-family, commercial and industrial buildings. The new masonry requirements are:
  • Residential – Minimum 3 ft. masonry at the ground level and minimum 50 percent masonry or stucco on all walls visible from a street.

  • Multi-family – Minimum 3 ft. masonry at the ground level and minimum 50 percent masonry or stucco on all exterior walls. Minimum 75 percent masonry or stucco on all walls visible from a street.

  • Commercial – Minimum 3 ft. masonry at ground level and minimum 75 percent masonry or stucco on all exterior walls.

  • Industrial – Minimum 50 percent masonry on the building front.
Councilmember James Houston Leal, an advocate for the masonry requirements, said after the council vote, “The Masonry Ordinance will address the rapid growth and concerns regarding the quality and sustainability of the new construction in Pearsall. Furthermore, increasing our tax revenues will allow us to continue to improve the infrastructure and address other needs of our citizens in the future.”

Leila Siqueiros, representing the Texas Masonry Council, noted that by enacting the masonry requirements Pearsall joins a growing trend in the state. Statewide, more than 170 cities have enacted masonry requirements, according to the Texas Masonry Council. Pearsall is the first city in South Texas to adopt masonry requirements, according to the TMC.

Research has shown that masonry (brick, stone, concrete block) provides greater protection against fire, and windstorms, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, than non-masonry siding products.

In addition, other research has shown that masonry requirements result in: 1) higher overall property values; 2) growth in the tax base, lessening the tax burden on residents; 3) continued population and housing growth, and 4) no significant impact on affordability for either renters or buyers of housing.

Rudy Garza, executive vice president of the Texas Masonry Council, said, “Texas has a rich history of building with long-lasting masonry products. Masonry is part of the Texas heritage, and by embracing masonry planning, local officials and civic leaders, such as those in Pearsall, are helping to build a strong legacy for their communities.“


About the Author

Rudy Garza is the Executive Vice President of the Texas Masonry Council.

 

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