My wife and I purchased a plot of land to build a house, and have been informed by the city (in Texas) that we must make a land dedication for a hike and bike trail to be built at an unknown date through our front yard. The city's unified development code states that land dedications or a fee in lieu of a land dedication must be made on new developments, but we have been told that the fee is not an option for us by the city. Do we have to give the city this land, and if so do they have to pay for it as an eminent domain acquisition? This would be a forced dedication via the platting process, and would not be voluntary on our part. Also, should the city have notified the previous owners of the land of their intention? No one on our street was aware of this even though the city claims that affected residents were notified (Probably through a newspaper posting or via the city website). We would not have bought the land if we had known about this.
State/Country relating to question: Texas
We contacted our state representative who said the city could do this, but would have to pay. We contacted the state attorney general's office who said they couldn't comment on this situation. We've contacted the city planning and zoning commission numerous times to see if we can pay the fee or have this moved or if the fee can be paid (the answer is no to both questions), and we are attempting to petition the city council to change this via a variance. Legal action would be next.
Hello, I'm researching your answer now.
Notification is presumed to have taken place through the lawmaking process, that is, elected officials and public lawmaking. Long story short, no one had to be informed or notified because there is constructive notification through the political process.
Also, the only time a forced dedication, otherwise known as an Easement, invokes eminent domain issues is when that easement deprives you of the use of your land that is considered a government taking. This is a very difficult argument to win and requires substantial deprivation of the property.
It would remove 11% of the property from us. Our other issue is the no option other than land dedication when the development code and ordinance states that a fee may be paid in lieu of the dedication. I am not sure if the city council has to be asked if the fee can be done instead.
11% or 50% it doesn't matter. The test is whether you are deprived of your property and only a judge is going to be able to answer that question. And under the circumstances it doesn't look like your property is been taking under eminent domain argument.
As far as the fee is concerned, it is a local government issue. What you want to do about it? You want me to tell you if it's legal or not? The state has a lot of authority and making money is one of them. You may challenge the fee, but realistically it will be more expensive to fight than to pay it. And the chances of winning are slim.
Local politics and property are a very heated and passionate subject area for many people and many court battles have been fought by people like you over the same issue.
Yes I have seen a lot of evidence of it in just our neighborhood alone. We were just curious about legality of the issue more than anything. When we were told we had no options by the city, we wanted to make sure and not just accept that at face value.
Well, you always have options. Take them to court, it's the American way. This way we don't have to beat people over the head with a club.
Under the circumstances though, you do not have an unusual argument.
I think the state has you on this one.
Boats are what moves politics.
Sorry, not boats, votes.
This is really more of a political issue. Local politics.
You will get more accomplished by swaying voters and approaching local government officials then you will trying to fight this out on your own as a sole property owner.
True. Thank you for the answer.
You're welcome, please let me know if I can be any more help. Don't forget to accept it this was useful.
Just to be clear, we would prefer to pay the fee, not fight it. This plan was put together after receiving 400 responses on a parks and recreation survey in a town of 37,000 and has been amended multiple times due to a lack of funds to purchase private land, or in one instance, because the proposed trail system was in another city. The build date for this system is nebulous at best, and would require a multimillion dollar bond to be approved by voters. All of this is to say that the likelihood of a final build out of the parks and recreation master plan is very low. I just don't understand how a municipality thinks it can take land, in this case $10,000 worth, without compensation to the landowners. The city currently has a $230000 park land acquisition fund for the purchase of land, nowhere near enough, and if they have the money I would think they would have to pay for it. Probably 80-90% of the land they intend to take was platted before this plan came together so they would have to acquire that through imminent domain. Also, is there a difference between a forced dedication and a statutory dedication?
We intend to approach city council members individually, but it would be nice to have a big stick (theoretically speaking) to wield if the pleasantries weren't enough. Sounds like we may be up a creek. Don't worry, we'll be accepting your answer. Just wanted to see if any of this mattered as the two of us weren't around when the original answer chat occurred.
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