Proposal would require Austin homeowners to install insect screens

Austin

The city of Austin’s Code Department is asking for your input on a proposed ordinance that would require Austin homeowners to install insect screens.

They’re looking to recommend the implementation of the screens to the City Council in June, but before they do they want to hear from you. Those interested in chiming in have until April 30.

It’s not a new thing, many people across the Austin area already have them.

“I think they do serve a lot of different purposes particularly now in the springtime and also as we get into the summer months to prevent mosquitoes from coming into your house and spreading diseases like Zika or West Nile,” said Hyde Park homeowner David Gill.

However, some do not want the requirement for aesthetic reasons, and some simply use them seasonally to keep bugs out. Gil is one of those people. 

He says the insect screens came with his home when he bought it 11 years ago, but he takes them down during the winter when bugs are not a big problem.

Gil says he would like to have a say in when he can take them down and put them up.

“I think as a homeowner we would like the option to have them on and off of the house because we kind of treat it seasonal,” he said. 

The city’s Code Department is looking at homes and apartment complexes across the city. They’re modeling the proposed ordinance on international standards they got from the 2015 International Property Maintenance Code after the city council adopted it last October.

It states homes with air conditioning would not be required to have insect screens, but Isis Lopez with the Code Department says that could change. 

“It would depend on the feedback,” she said. “So, if the community members suggest this should only be for new homes, we will take that into consideration, if community members suggest this should only be for apartments but not for private residential homes, we will take that into consideration.”

If you would like to share your thoughts, you’re asking to complete an online survey or email the Code Department at codecommunications@austintexas.gov.

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