Manor landowner told she can't build 'barndominium' on property due to code issues

Manor land owner told she cant build home on own land.jpg.00 00 30 17.Still001

MANOR, Texas (KXAN) — A Manor property owner said city code ordinances have delayed her plan to build the farmhouse of her dreams despite her land being outside Manor’s city limit.

Patsy Graham has long lived in the Austin area. She said she purchased several acres of land in the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction outside of Manor this past spring.

This is a part of Travis County that has not yet been incorporated into the city’s boundaries.

Graham said she purposefully purchased land in the ETJ so she would not have the same permit and building limitations if she were building within the city – or so she thought.

Her plan is to build a barndominium, a metal barn-like structure that’s converted into a furnished home.

Graham said she was told by the City of Manor that she would have to build the home up to codes more typically associated with homes in large subdivisions.

“The building code is quite strict. They’ve told me I can’t have a barn or a barndominium. We’re out in the country,” Graham said.

Scott Moore, Manor city manager, said the city’s Development Services Department met with Graham to discuss the city’s building permit process.

He said Graham’s initial building plan did not meet certain building codes and had a few life safety/fire code issues. Moore said the department recommended that Graham hire a design professional to update the plans before purchasing the building package.

He said city staff discussed the design criteria for single-family dwellings with Graham and that the city has a history of working closely with families building different types of structures.

Moore also said the city tries to work with property owners on plans like these to avoid landowners pre-paying for plans that will not be allowed.

“We have witnessed a few property owners taken advantage of in the past, which could have been avoided if a pre-development meeting had been initiated,” Moore said.

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