Fight brewing over land around country club

April 16, 2010 8:55:42 PM PDT
There's a fight going on regarding property at a northwest Harris County country club. Some homeowners nearby claim their public utility district isn't holding up their end of the bargain, and they're afraid it could hurt the values of their homes. It's surrounding the Raveneaux Country Club off Cypresswood. The area is in desperate need of care, say residents, and while there's a plan in place to fix it, residents say that plan keeps changing. So now, they're taking legal action.

"We just want the original agreement," said resident Jim Stevens, who is one of a dozen people now suing the Cypress Forest Public Utility District.

In 2008, the utility district agreed to buy most of the club's 285 acres from a development group. The district needed a bond election to come up with the $5.5 million to do so. Voters passed it with the promise that much of the land would be converted to green space with 18 holes of golf and only minimal high end real estate.

But now, two years later...

"We've heard about possible senior living," said Stevens. "Before you know it, it could be government housing."

"We're just desperate," added Nancy Grayson, who's also suing the utility district. "We don't know what to do to get through to the PUD."

They say the district has continued to change the deal. The current one that includes smaller residential units and less park space have them worried about property values, traffic and flooding.

"This is not what the PUD board represented to voters," said attorney Robert Painter, who's representing the group filing the lawsuit.

Ray Viada, an attorney for the utility district declined an on camera interview but did say, "There's no basis for the lawsuit and no basis to say (the PUD) can't negotiate off the initial contract."

He went on to say, "All the voters did was authorizing the district to distribute bond funding for the acquisition of park space and recreational facilities."

The residents' attorney has a different take.

"Personally, I do think it's a bait and switch," said Painter.

Grayson just wants the land around her home to be pretty again.

"Just do it," she said. "Do what we voted on."

A judge has granted a temporary restraining order to keep the PUD from moving forward with anything. A hearing on a temporary injunction is scheduled for April 26.


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