Bayview farmer struggles to receive greenhouse permit, engineer approval needed

Local News

BAYVIEW, Texas (KVEO) – Urban farming does more than provide local produce for the Rio Grande Valley, it combats food insecurity and dietary-related diseases, and one farmer in Bayview is being denied a permit to build a greenhouse even when it complies with the city’s ordinance.  

Jesus Navar has been farming organically for six years and recently sold his greenhouse to invest in property in the town of Bayview, but the mayor of the town has taken over a month to respond to Navar’s application and is running low on resources.  

Jesus Navar, Bayview farmer

“I consulted with my realtor before buying the land to see if I could build them there, it was on this condition I bought the land,” said Navar. 

It is written in the town’s ordinance and in their lease agreement to build greenhouses.

Navar says he also spoke with USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) who said Navar and farmers were approved to buy the material they wanted for their greenhouse.  

“I bought the material in Mexico, then the Department of Agriculture said there wouldn’t be any problems with it,” said Navar.  

However, Mayor Gary Paris of Bayview said they need a certified Texas engineer to approve their materials and plan.  

According to the Randle Law Office LLC, cities in Texas may no longer restrict building materials approved in international codes. 

And according to chapter 1001, Texas occupations code, agriculture and farming are exempt from needing an engineer’s approval.  

Navar says he believes they are discriminating against him. 

“They thought I wasn’t the landowner, they thought I was a worker, because of this when the inspector saw me, he didn’t acknowledge me,” said Navar.  

Navar says that with the current climate of COVID-19, accessibility to healthy food is crucial to the Bayview community.

“Right now, my goal is to produce healthy food, because how things are right now you need to produce healthy food for the good of the community.”  

The town of Bayview plans to meet this Thursday to discuss their permit’s approval.  

To learn more about the Texas law on building structure, visit the links below:

http://www.jgradyrandlepc.com/local-governmental-entities/cities-texas-building-materials-international-codes/

https://www.nbtexas.org/1170/When-is-a-Professional-Engineer-Required

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/OC/htm/OC.1001.htm

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