Pearsall, Texas, to Require Masonry in New Construction
Pearsall, Texas, is a fast-growing South Texas city that has decided to join a growing state trend and require minimum percentages of masonry for new construction. Pearsall, located 54 miles south of San Antonio, 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 during 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 feet of masonry at the ground level and minimum 50 percent masonry or stucco on all walls visible from a street.
Multi-family – Minimum 3 feet of 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 feet of masonry at ground level and minimum 75 percent masonry or stucco on all exterior walls.
Industrial – Minimum 50 percent masonry on the building front.
Leila Siqueiros, representing the Texas Masonry Council, says 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.
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 higher overall property values; growth in the tax base, lessening the tax burden on residents; continued population and housing growth, and no significant impact on affordability for either renters or buyers of housing.