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Discovery Idea:

ETJs and PUDs

Zonability reports will let you know when a property appears to be an ETJ. The ETJ is an area where the city plans to expand but hasn't yet. This means there are no city services as those provided for property owners whose properties are within the city limits. 

ETJ - What does ETJ stand for?

E = Extra

T = Territorial

J = Jurisdiction

Who do I contact for more information about a property's potential? We've been recommending you contact the Fire Department to discuss your plans for a property because they can help with the important life-safety requirements. 

Will I need to get a zoning permit for a property located in the ETJ? If there is no city zoning, there is no need for a zoning permit. However, there are other requirements such as utilities, life-safety and building to handle.

Why does Zonability show a "2-mile" type on this report and a "5-mile" for property in another report? In some cities, the mapping data includes a distinction because it shows proximity to the city limit boundary. Those properties further away (5-mile ETJ) signal the city won't annex as soon as those closer to the city limits (2-mile ETJ).  

Relative to a property's potential, what happens once a property is annexed into the city? Then the property is subject to zoning regulations in addition to other city specific regulations having to do with development.

What if the property got developed before it was annexed? Properties developed prior to annexation are considered "grandfathered" by the city. This means they are able to continue to exist; however, if the property owner wishes to make a substantial change to the property, a zoning review will likely be required. As is the case even for properties within the city that were developed before the more current zoning regulations went into effect, the use and/or structure may be grandfathered. Cities use zoning to control development and when a property owner asks to make substantial changes, the city will work to "bring the property up to current code."

Why don't all cities have an ETJ? In Texas, the ETJ is used while other states don't have an ETJ, they have properties located in the county which has its own zoning. Some cities in Texas don't have an ETJ because they've already expanded and there is no more ETJ left. In other cases, Zonability doesn't shown an ETJ because the city doesn't have the mapping data for its ETJ.

Want to learn more? Here are some links to presentations and/or blog posts on the subject of ETJs:



Dripping Springs

Fort Worth

San Antonio

Dallas County

Travis County

Planned Special Areas - Development Agreements

Zonability reports will also let you know when a property is in a Planned Special Area (also known as Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) or masterplanned communities). These are locations that definitely need more research to source the actual development agreement. Zonability reports include the number of the plan where possible to make research easier.

This is a full paper on the subject by The University of Texas School of Law (link).

Handy Links

The following are links to obtain the "next step" in researching documents associated with a planned development and are grouped by metro and city. 

Austin metro DFW metro San Antonio metro
Lakeway, TX Dallas 1-199 San Antonio
Pflugerville, TX Dallas 200-399
Round Rock, TX Dallas 400-599
Dallas 600-799
Dallas 800-999
Dallas 1000+

Grand Prairie


Dallas - Fort Worth

San Antonio