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April 08, 2005

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LoB

This is an excellent post, Peter. Who are the people who need to know about this most, so that they won't ever fall for any deceptive PR tactics from this outfit of land developers posing as environmentalists?

Peter

I think the target of groups like this is the press. They want coverage to read something like this from the Austin American-Statesman on April 6:


A group of ranchers, land stewards and homeowners Tuesday promoted bills they say reaffirm the right of private property owners to receive just compensation if their land is devalued or can't be developed because of environmental regulations.

The Texas Landowners Conservancy said some stringent land use and environmental restrictions in Texas have effectively stripped private land owners of their investment.

No doubt the politicos pushing this legislation find the phrasing "a group of ranchers, land stewards, and homeowners," infinitely preferable to "a group of real estate developers and land speculators." And they got what they wanted in this case.

So I believe we need to make sure the press isn't fooled by these guys again.

The Express-News didn't quite fall for the PR trick as badly, but they just mentioned the name of group, which is intended to echo the names of conservation groups. So that paper needs to be informed as well.

Of course, the ultimate target is the voters of Texas.

HC

This is a good assessment of "Texas Landowner's Conservancy". But you need to also add T. Martine,also listed as one of the directors to your list. He is a realtor and land speculator as well. And C. Warren, also listed, if checked, will probably not pass the developer sniff test as either. We also might ask what State Rep. "Robby"Cook from...yes you guessed it, not in the Hill Country, but Eagle Pass, stands to gain from this "Conservancy" by sponsoring HB2833, that most direly affects the Edwards aquifer, but has no affect on his district? Does this alone indicate the duplicitous nature of this "Conservancy"? This legislation alone will render useless all the work put in by the very commisions they point out they have served on, not to mention thousands of dollars of donated support, to try and reach reasonable land use and water quality standards for the very sensitive aquifers that many local developers think is the only land available for them to make their very lucrative profits from. Hey speculators...there are uncounted acres of land available east of I35 with moderate to flat elevations, deep soil, and abundant water, and few concerns from real conservationists!! Don't let the ancient and imagined barrier of east Austin stop you from taking a look...just think..lower developement costs and fewer headaches!! What a deal!!

Peter

I suspect you are correct about Martine and Warren, though my brief internet research did not reveal obvious information, so I did not mention them.

slt

You forgot to report the rest of Brad Rockwell's testimony...he said landowners who want to be paid for their land.." are like crack cocaine dealers" and the TML lawyer stated in the same hearing that ..."a 99% devaluation in property value would not be considered a taking".Brad appears to be more knowledgeable in his research than the lawyer. Would you like some info on the contributors to The Hill Country Alliance, SOS and The Edwards Aquifer Alliance? You might be surprised at "landowner developers" in the group.The Dallas attorneys made a good point..landowners have a right today to sue for 100% of the value of their loss if they believe there is a taking. In HB2833 the first 25% devaluation is free for the taking. The baseline for impervious cover is proposed at 45% of net site area (after removal of 100 year flood plain and slopes over 35%). This is approximately the same as the Edwards Aquifer rule of 30% of Gross site area.The gov. gets this first 55% pervious cover free also. How would you feel if a gov.agency asked you to fork over the first 55% of your retirement savings or investment portfolio to buy open space land? This is a fair and just bill which establishes some baseline protections for both sides

Peter
The Dallas attorneys made a good point..landowners have a right today to sue for 100% of the value of their loss if they believe there is a taking. In HB2833 the first 25% devaluation is free for the taking.

I'm no lawyer, but I do believe I know enough about judicial decisions on takings to recognize that, while anyone has a right to sue for virtually any reason, the courts will not award any money as long as the public has a legitimate reason for regulating or unless the property loses all its value. That is why this group of developers wants this new law.

A community asking its landowners to behave responsibly according to certain rules is protecting the property values of its citizens from the destructive acts of a few irresponsible ones.

As I've laid out in other posts on this matter, HB2833 is anything but a fair and just bill. In every scenario, irresponsible developers make out like bandits at the expense of their neighbors and the taxpayers in their community.

slt

Who are the REAL members of this Hill Country Alliance? Is it true that a member of a well-known country singer's band is promoting the confiscation of ranch and farmland? No, this time it's not the Dixie Chicks. So you want to get personal? well grab your..."Home Grown ---" and let's go. Oh by the way check out the Dripping article. Maybe 45% net site is too much to give up Outside the contributing zone..Dripping seems to think so. Austin's eastern Travis Co. area has a 65% allowable imp. cover now.If your tactics now are to personally assault hard-working, tax paying citizens who believe in The Constitutional rights of All citizens thenwe will defend ourselves accordingly. Oh by the way, many of these people know the answer to the question.

slt

Oh yeah? go to the Oregon.org web and look up Measure 37. You might even want to post it on your website in the name of fair and just info- commercials.By the way go check out the new Loewe's under construction in Bee Caves on the banks of Little Barton Creek. This is the result of SOS and eco-extremism tactics. They first wanted to go on 620 or up on Hwy 71. Do you think Roger Pearson, a land planner, would say that this ..."is a good neighbor". Looks like another example of Smart Growth to me.

slt

Eagle Pass is a lot closer to Austin than Chicago, California,or Philadelphia. Need names?

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