Property Tax Reductions: Senate Bill 1 and Hurricane Harvey

REDNews Interviews Senator Paul Bettencourt for an update

BY MICHAEL PAVIA

Senate Bill 1
Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), is proposed legislation allowing for property tax rate elections if county property tax revenues exceeded 4% of what was taken in the year before. Basically, as values go up,
SB1 proposes to roll back tax rates to provide property tax relief. SB1 proposed to decrease the rollback rate from the current 8% to 4%. The Texas Senate endorsed SB 1. Members from the Texas
House and Senate met in a special session on July 26th to vote on the rollback. According to Senator Bettencourt, Speaker of the House Joe Straus was unwilling to appoint a conference committee so the bill was defeated.

Per Lieutenant Governor Patrick, “Whenever the Senate convenes again, either a special or regular session, it is our intention to pass that bill one more time. There will be a lot of reform measures
associated with it, as well. Governor Abbott is supportive and is hopeful that it will pass.”

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Know Your Rights: New Limits on City Government

BY OMAR IZFAR, ATTORNEY

Cities have enormous inherent and statutory powers to regulate land development.

Zoning regulations, economic development regulations, general police powers to regulate for the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the City,\ and many other sources of authority all greatly impact property owners. Every two years, the Texas Legislature is presented with numerous bills designed to change what cities can and can’t do. The 2015 Legislative Session prevented cities from instituting fracking bans. The most recent legislative session continued the trend of reigning in municipal power by enacting several bills specifically limiting a city’s authority over land development. 

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Where Have All the Golf Courses Gone?

BY REID WILSON, CHAIRMAN | WILSON CRIBBS + GOREN

America’s love affair with golf is waning. There are too many golf courses and not enough golfers. The average age of the active golfer is increasing…and the cost to maintain the courses is increasing as well.

Few people realize the golf courses periodically require significant capital infusion to upgrade their facilities in order to successfully compete with newer courses. Physical amenities age and must be remodeled. New high quality residential communities use lakes and other passive greenspace, and even urban farms, as amenities instead of the traditional golf course.

Buyers of golf course lots should be wary and conduct careful due diligence before purchase, so they accept the risk of the adjacent golf course terminating operation and changing use.

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Reconstruction after Harvey: Flood Development Permits & Grandfathered Structures in Houston

BY OMAR IZFAR, ATTORNEY

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, I’ve been receiving questions about how to reconstruct damaged structures, both those in flood zones and not, especially those that don’t meet current codes. Some development regulations and policies that affect reconstruction are pretty simple and straightforward, while others are complicated, vague, and sometimes not even written down anywhere. While Houston may not have a formal zoning code that covers the entire city, it does have quite a few development regulations, all of which would normally be found in a zoning code. Noncompliance can result in denial of building permits, stop-work orders, even revocation of certificates of occupancy. Fortunately, there is a path forward for most projects. It’s important for property owners to know what to expect and what their options are in different situations.

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Deal or No Deal? – Letters of Intent: Lessons from the Enterprise Case

BY REID WILSON

A $469,375,000 Million Dollar trial court verdict based on a “letter of intent,” later reverse  on appeal resonates in the real estate industry, where letters of intent are commonplace.

How it started: Enterprise Products, a Houston based pipeline developer/operator approached Energy Transfer, a Dallas based competitor, to investigate a shared development transaction to transport oil from the important industry storage center in Cushing, Oklahoma to Houston, thereby eliminating a major logistics bottleneck. They signed the following documents for the proposed “Double E Pipeline”:

  • Initially, a Confidentiality Agreement to permit sharing of information, with the intention to work toward a letter of intent for the proposed transaction.

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No Fly Zone! So you got a drone, now what? Who makes the rules?

BY DEREK C. PERSHING
WILSON CRIBBS + GOREN

 

 

 

 

 

 

Derek Pershing is a commercial real estate attorney with Wilson Cribbs + Goren and he holds a Private Pilot License and Remote Pilot Certificate. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) is the governing authority over all aspects of civil aviation in the United States. In 2016, the FAA estimated that there were roughly 1.1 million Unmanned Aerial Systems (“UAS”) (a/k/a “drones”) in the United States. The FAA also expects drone usage to triple to about 3.55 million by 2021. Since December 2015, the FAA has required
mandatory registration for all UAS which weigh more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds. However, a federal appeals court ruled in May that the FAA does not have the authority to regulate “model aircraft” and require mandatory registration. Still, more than 770,000 drones have been registered in the U.S.—more than double the number of manned aircrafts.

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