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I live near a city that is trying to change its status to a…

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I live near a...

I live near a city that is trying to change its status to a "home rule" city so that they can annex nearby properties (one of them being my mom's). I am opposed to the annexation, but I can't vote against it because I don't live in the city. My mom has a little over three acres and I read that if a property has a ag exemption they can opt out of annexation in Texas. So if I don't need the tax exemption (mom is over 65 and blind) but would be willing to go to great length to stop annexation, do you have any ideas about what type of ag exemption and how long it would take? I was thinking goats. If I start the process, but the exemption isn't completed would that be of any value?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Bexar county Texas. The city is Helotes.

Lawyer's Assistant: Has any paperwork been filed?

None the annexation is not yet eminent, but it is in their city plans to change to a home rule city so that they can annex the outlying areas with or without their approval.

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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9/28/2017
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Lawyer replied 7 months ago
Damien Bosco
Damien Bosco, Lawyer
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Satisfied Customers: 4,543
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Hello: My name is ***** ***** I am an attorney. Please give me a moment to review your question. I may ask some questions to clarify issues.

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Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

You mention your read that read that if a property has an agricultural exemption they can opt out of annexation in Texas. Bery chance, do you remember where or what site you saw that discussion?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
section 43.035
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
of the texas local government code
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Let me look into this and see if I can find something for you.

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Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

This looks like you would have to show that it is appraised for ad valorem tax purposes as land for agricultural or wildlife management use under Subchapter C or D, Chapter 23, Tax Code.

Unfortunately, it looks like in order for you to have it appraised, it would have to be for three years in use as agricultural. See the statute below. We can continue to discuss if you would like to do so. I know it is not quite what you wanted to hear but it is better to know now instead of spending a lot of money and not getting it approved in time. If you have further questions, just let me know.

Here is the relevant section:

Sec. 23.42. ELIGIBILITY. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (a-1), an individual is entitled to have land he owns designated for agricultural use if, on January 1:

(1) the land has been devoted exclusively to or developed continuously for agriculture for the three years preceding the current year;

(2) the individual is using and intends to use the land for agriculture as an occupation or a business venture for profit during the current year; and

(3) agriculture is the individual's primary occupation and primary source of income.

(a-1) On or after January 1, 2008, an individual is not entitled to have land designated for agricultural use if the land secures a home equity loan described by Section 50(a)(6), Article XVI, Texas Constitution.

(b) Use of land for nonagricultural purposes does not deprive an owner of his right to an agricultural designation if the nonagricultural use is secondary to and compatible with the agricultural use of the land.

(c) Agriculture is an individual's primary occupation and primary source of income if as of January 1 he devotes a greater portion of his time to and derives a greater portion of his gross income from agriculture than any other occupation. The time an individual devotes to each occupation and the gross income he derives from each is determined by averaging the time he devoted to each and the gross income he derived from each for any number of consecutive years not exceeding five years immediately preceding January 1 of the current year, that he has engaged in agriculture as an occupation. However, if he has not been engaged in agriculture as an occupation for the entire year preceding January 1, the time he has devoted to and the income he has derived from each occupation since the date he began engaging in agriculture as an occupation determine whether agriculture is his primary occupation and primary source of income.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
The annexation may be three years from now, but I know it will come sooner or later. Assuming I started today and it took longer than three years for the city to pursue annexation, how would I document my start date? In other words, if I can't apply for three years, but I start now what steps do I need to follow to show that this is my starting date? also, it says the agriculture must be your primary occupation, well my mom is retired and lives alone on the property. If we bought four goats to raise, the income wouldn't be more than her retirement, but does retirement income count, since she doesn't put any time into that "occupation"?
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Usually, you would have evidence to show the land was being used for the sale of agricultural products or services. For example, if you sold something produced on the land and had an invoice of sale. That would be evidence of the first date.

Retirement income is passive income and not an occupation. So, the active income from the land would be the primary occupation.

If you want to discuss further, just let me know.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
if the land is in bexar county texas and we have 3 1/3 acres, how many goats are required for an ag exemption? Do rabbits count? I read about an exemption for timber, if I sold some firewood from an existing tree does that count? or for the timber exemption can I plant guadua angustifolia (a really large bamboo used for building)? does the three years start from the time I buy the livestock or from the time of the first sale?
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

I do not have that information without doing research on it. However, I would imagine that the key elements are reasonableness and viability. So if there is just one goat, it would be hard to make a business selling goat milk or cheese. And if there is one rabbit the same would be true. It should be considered a viable business. Same would be true for the timber. If you want to discuss further, just let me know.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I think you can disregard the timber questions. I don't want to turn over the majority of the land to timber and would feel like if I dedicated just half an acre or so it would not qualify. I think livestock would be better, but how many small animals would qualify me? and does the three years start from the first sale or the purchase of the livestock?
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
nevermind, I have been searching the internet and have found out the answers myself. Thanks anyway.
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

You are welcome. I hope my answers to your questions were helpful. Best regards.

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Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Hello again: I have been happy to provide answers your questions. Please remember to provide a rating between 3 and 5 stars for the services I provided to you. Thank you.

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