No deal yet on Raveneaux golf course property
It has been more than a year since voters approved a park bond proposition that would allow their water district to buy the bulk of the Raveneaux golf club property, and negotiations and a lawsuit are still ongoing.
The Cypress Forest Public Utility District has offered to buy 258 of Raveneaux's 285 acres for $5.5 million and lease back 206 acres to property owner JP Raveneaux Partners, LP/Kera Development, L.P. for use as a golf course for $5,500 per year.
Representatives from both parties say they want to see the deal come to fruition and believe that could still happen. They say they would also like to see the end of a lawsuit filed by the Kleinwood Municipal Utility District against both entities in October 2008.
The original case filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas was dismissed but a similar case was filed by Kleinwood MUD against the two parties in the 215th state district court, said Fred Stump, attorney for Kleinwood MUD.
Unless the 14th Court of Appeals agrees to dismiss based on Cypress Forest PUD's argument of sovereign immunity, which would prevent the district being sued because it is a governmental entity, it will continue in state district court, Stump said. The court of appeals should issue a decision sometime in the near future.
Hopefully there will be resolution for all concerned in the not too distant future," Stump said.
Cypress Forest officials say they are forging forward.
We made a pledge to our community, and we are fighting to the last second of the last day to achieve that goal to get our residents the trails and a park," said Cypress Forest PUD board vice president Linn Smyth.
On the acreage that would not be dedicated to the golf course, the district plans to create a 9-acre linear trail along Cypresswood Drive from the Cypress Creek bridge on the west to a point just west of Meyer Park on the east. About 33 acres located east of Champion Forest Drive near Dry Gully is restricted to detention/drainage use, and could be developed as a park property in the future; and the remaining 13 acres, which is located east of JP Realty's proposed development area near the intersection of Champion Drive and Cypresswood, would also be set aside as a future extension of the linear park that will run along Cypresswood Drive.
Mark Jordan, a partner in JP Raveneaux Partners, LP/Kera Development, L.P., said he is confident the two parties can reach an agreement.
We have worked very hard with them for the past year-and-a-half and will continue to do so that we can do what is best for the country club and neighborhood," Jordan said. We will try to work as hard as we can, and be as flexible we can."
A sticking point with Cypress Forest PUD board members is that the developer has suggested an amendment to the original agreement, which was struck by the two parties in September 2008.
The board message states that in late October 2009, JP Raveneaux Partners LP /Kera Development submitted a proposed change to the agreement that included an additional 10 acres along Cypresswood Drive for development, but no change in price. Smyth said the developer is also requesting fewer restrictions on the development.
According to the Sept. 2008 agreement, there are restrictions on what JP Raveneaux Partners, LP/Kera Development, L.P., can build on the original 27 acres the company would continue to own at the southwest corner of Cypresswood and Champion Drive. Development is limited to high-rise or mid-rise condominiums with a minimum unit size of 1,200 square feet, single-family residential and two-, three- or four-story townhouses; to reconstructing the existing Raveneaux clubhouse; and to building no more than 50,000-square-feet of commercial retail space, none of which can front Cypresswood Drive.
Jordan said the company proposes to build single-family homes on the additional 10 acres. He said no development would take place until the company worked out its agreement with Cypress Forest PUD, because that agreement stipulates that Cypress Forest PUD would annex, and provide water and sewer services to JP Raveneaux Partners, LP/Kera Development, L.P.'s community. No plans could move forward without water and sewer services in place, he said.
At the Dec. 1 meeting, Cypress Forest board members also voiced concern about rumors that JP Raveneaux Partners, LP/Kera Development, L.P. was considering going to Kleinwood MUD to strike a deal for water and sewer services. The developer's original plans to do that were one of the issues at the heart of the lawsuit filed by Kleinwood MUD last year.
Prior to the agreement made between Cypress Forest PUD and JP Raveneaux Partners, LP/Kera Development, L.P., Kleinwood MUD had a contract with the developer to annex the Raveneaux property. The Kleinwood lawsuit states Cypress Forest PUD interfered with that contract.
Cypress Forest officials say the lawsuit is groundless and that the district is protected by government immunity.
Jordan said the case was without merit. However, he said, if the agreement did not go through with Cypress Forest PUD, the company would have to consider contracting with another neighboring district, such as Kleinwood MUD, to get water and sewer services to the development site.
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