A new Texas law regulating large cities' parkland dedication fees for multifamily, hotel, and motel property development will prohibit Austin from charging them on commercial projects. The city's parks and recreation board met Monday to discuss the impact of the law on its existing parkland dedication ordinance, the Austin Monitor reported.

The ordinance dates from 1985 and requires new developments to dedicate a specified amount of  public parkland on the site of their projects or to pay a fee in lieu of the dedicated land. Austin instituted a parkland dedication requirement for new projects intended for office, retail, industrial, and hotel uses in 2022, the first time it's levied such charges on commercial developments.

The state law that essentially overturns that part of the city's ordinance passed in the Texas Legislature in May. It was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott and went into effect June 10. It limits the parkland fees cities can charge any development in order to fund parks and prohibits cities from imposing the fees on commercial development altogether, according to the Monitor report.

The law applies to cities with populations of more than 800,000 — Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth — and is applicable to multifamily and hotel-motel developments only. Affordable units are exempt. According to the Monitor:

The law requires that all areas of the city be designated as either “central business district,” “urban” or “suburban.” CBD will require 0.075 acres per 1,000 residents, urban areas will require 0.75 acres of park per 1,000 residents and suburban areas should have 3 acres per 1,000 residents. The city of Austin’s goal is to provide 24 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents.

The new law reduces the cap for parkland dedication in the urban core from its current 15 percent to 10 percent; the amount is not currently capped in areas designated as suburban. Additionally, it doesn't require the fees to be paid until a certificate of occupancy is issued for a development, overriding the current requirement that they are paid at the the time of initial permitting, according to the Monitor.