It is great to see a project that you have drawn on paper become a reality. Laguna Terrera is a high-end residential project located on Lake Austin near the community of West Lake Hills. Our survey crew is on-site now providing locations for pilings. Soon the utilities will be constructed.
First, here is the likely scenario: You own property, and you want to be able to use it. Maybe you need a parking area or a storage space. So you make some small improvements to your property. You are not hurting anyone, all you are doing is making it easier to use your property.
Then a city inspector shows up and gives you a citation, commonly called a “Red-Tag”. There are threats of fines and legal action. You must Stop Work, says the city inspector. What should you do?
We can help. Our firm has assisted numerous property owners who found themselves in this situation. We can immediately get the city inspectors off your back, and give you time to deal with the situation. Not only can we remove the burden of the Red Tag, but we can obtain permission for you to make all the improvements desired. We even allow for a series of improvements over a period of two or three years.
If you have been Red Tagged, call us. We can give you immediate relief from city demands. Then we can file documents with the city that will allow you to make the improvements you need, all with the blessings of the city. You will be on good terms with city inspectors, and they will leave you alone. You will be in control of the situation. Call Ed Moore at 512-442-0377
City staff persons can attempt to cause unnecessary expense to a developer and the eventual home owners within a development. For example, while obtaining entitlements for a recent land development in the City of Austin, a city case manager told us that we would have to pay into an escrow account an amount of money sufficient to maintain three ponds within our project for a 2-year maintenance period. In addition, this staff person wanted us to provide restrictive covenants that would place the long term burden of maintenance on the eventual home owners within the development.
We found that the city code did not require a developer to maintain ponds within this type of development. Although the city case manager had made written comments requiring us to pay money for maintenance, there was no basis in the code for this expense! The code requires the City of Austin to maintain the ponds serving this development.
We showed the reviewer the portion of the code that covered maintenance of ponds in this type of development (and in this area). The reviewer had to admit we were right, and that we would not be required to pay money for maintenance of the ponds. However, he had a reason why he initially told us we would have to pay for maintenance. He said “The City Council made a mistake, there is not enough funding for the city to maintain these ponds.” Grudgingly, he concurred with us that he did not really have the authority to require us to pay for pond maintenance. I am happy to say that this issue was resolved in our favor.
The lesson from this experience is to check the basis in the code for the requirements made by reviewers. The staff reviewer may be asking for something he would like to see, but is not really a requirement. We always strive to maintain good relationships with the city staff, especially the higher-up staff. But when it comes to staff requests that are going to cost us money and are not requirements, we gently remind the staff person of what the code actually says. Although at times we have had to find satisfaction from a person in a supervisory position, when we know we are right we have always succeeded in obtaining the correct reading of the code.