Planning & Development

Press Release

Proposed Residential Buffering Ordinance Survey Closes October 30

Residential Buffer Survey

October 25, 2022 -- The City of Houston is soliciting feedback from residents regarding proposed changes to ordinances surrounding the development of high-density properties. The Livable Places initiative is an effort to update portions of Houston’s development standards to enhance walkability and equity and to encourage housing variety and affordability.

The Livable Places Action Committee is proposing changes to the City's Code of Ordinances to address the effects of abutting high-density developments on existing single-family residential homes. Essentially, these amendments address issues that may arise when homes are located near mid-rise and high-rise structures.

Residents are invited to review the draft ordinance amendments and give feedback by taking the residential buffering survey by October 30. The survey requires participants to register on the Planning & Development Department's public engagement platform, The Planning Commission will consider the changes at the Nov. 10 public meeting.

The proposed amendments address four main topics:

  • Residential buffering standards – Proposes a buffer distance between all single-family residential or multi-unit residential properties and high-rise or mid-rise structures. The Livable Places Action Committee introduced new category of mid-rise structures that must provide a buffer when located along only local streets and abut single-family residential or multi-unit residential properties.
  • Garage screening and lighting standards – Proposes measures to prevent headlights from cars in parking garages from shining on adjacent properties or streets, this amendment would require exterior screening. The amendment would also prevent garage ceiling lights from shining into adjacent residential properties or streets.
  • Wall or pole mounted light fixtures standards – Proposes measures to prevent pole lights on commercial properties from shining into residential properties or streets. The Action Committee revised the standards to require that all outdoor fixtures be fully enclosed in the fixture housing and shielded properly to make sure there is no light trespass.
  • Dumpster screening standards – Proposes that commercial developments provide screening when dumpsters are located adjacent to streets or residential properties and include the dumpster location on site plans.

To learn more about the proposed amendments, review the presentation to the Planning Commission on Sep 29. Visit to learn more. Email questions to