Hidalgo County has a new planning director in town.

“The individuals living outside the cities in our county, we TMre looking at a population of over 300,000. So, if you want to compare something similar to that population that would be the city of Corpus Christi,” said TJ Arredondo, the new Hidalgo County Planning Department Director.

Few housing and zoning regulations in the county are a result of lack of ordinances. Municipalities and cities can pass them but the county cannot.

“As far as the county is concerned, we have to rely on state laws to get passed. So, we do have some laws available to use that allow us to adopt certain orders in the county,” Arredondo said.

Due to the lack of zoning regulations, commercial businesses end up next to subdivision residences. However, Arredondo said that the lack of regulations is partially why many of these subdivisions developed so quickly.

“Lack of building codes and a lot people actually use that to their advantage as far as avoiding the bank ” avoiding hiring contractors. They can place a mobile home; they can live in these mobile homes for a period of time until they are ready to build a permanent structure, he explained. So, I guess that TMs somewhat of a positive in that respect.

The new director is pushing for new legislation aimed at eliminating problems in older colonias.

“Where we’re standing at right now is a subdivision that has all the proper infrastructure, streets, drainage, water, and waste water. Those are some of the key things that the legislature has passed to allow counties to enforce regulations of subdivision development,” Arredondo said.

For officials, it TMs not just about safety but also helping residents obtain a better quality of life.

“We are looking to continue to build on that to improve on what we have in place, and to look for more to make it better for our residents,” said Arredondo.

The planning department recently improved safety of some commercial businesses by Val Verde and Dillan roads.

Results are show through constructed street parking designations to be utilized by fire crews in emergency situations.

In 2013, legislation was passed for Hidalgo County to begin to regulate roadside vendors located in areas without off street parking which can pose as road hazards, he told Action 4 News.

If you see a concern or would like to report a violation to Hidalgo County, contact the Planning Department at (956) 318-2840.