GeoCarta Has Moved

May 26, 2005

Tarrant v. Denton Dispute Continues

The dispute between Tarrant and Denton counties may not be over yet. Tarrant County officials that had been counting on a financial windfall, when it was decided that over 3,000 acres of prime real estate belonged in Tarrant, not Denton County. Back in December, the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear the case, effectively ruling that the land belonged to Tarrant County. The Supreme Court sent the case back to district court. A surveyor was then retained to draw the final boundary, placing the land in Tarrant County. However, since the work has not been completed yet, Denton County reasoned that the land was still theirs, so the Denton County Appraisal District sent the property owners tax notices. However, the Tarrant Appraisal District stated that also intended to send appraisal notices to the affected property owners, leaving them with tax bills from both counties. Tarrant County was threatening another lawsuit.

The case began with a 1986 agreement between Tarrant, Denton, Dallas & Collin Counties which fixed the northwest corner of Dallas County. In 1997, Tarrant County sued Denton County arguing that since the border between the two counties called to begin, “at the northwest corner of Dallas County” the agreement effectively fixed their common border as well. The case eventually made to the Appeals Court which ruled in favor of Tarrant County. The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case left the Appeals Court ruling in force, awarding the land to Tarrant County.

May 20, 2005

Texas Legislature To Give Zoning Powers To Border Counties

The Valley Morning Star has reported on that the Texas Senate is considering a bill to give broader powers to border counties to regulate residential development. Senate Bill 684, would give counties along U.S.-Mexico border the power to enact building and zoning regulations for housing developments. The regulations were proposed as a way to prevent more colonias from being developed along the border.

Under the Texas Constitution, Texas counties' power to regulate land use is extremely limited. Some county governments have enacted their own laws, though I personally question the constititionality of them. The proposed bill would extend city-like powers to counties to regulate density, height, location, even the ability to require building permits. While the bill would not require counties to regulate development, it would allow them to do so. While the bill would only apply to border counties, I'd bet money that if enacted, more counties would come back in the next legislature and ask for the same powers.

Meanwhile, while Texas considers new land development regulations, Wisconsin is considering abolishing theirs. The Wisconsin legislature's budget committee voted last week to end the state's "Smart Growth" Law. The law requires Wisconsin communities to adopt a comprehensive plan by 2010. Though endorsed by some builders, realtors and environmental groups, it's been unpopular with some landowners and other opponents as an enfringement of private property rights.

May 9, 2005

Realtor Commissions Under Fire?

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department is threatening to sue the National Association of Realtors.

The Feds have threatened to sue the group to keep them from implementing a rule they say would erect a new barrier to firms that target the internet to reach customers.

The NAR's proposed rule would allow brokerage firms to block one or more other members of an MLS from putting the information on public Web sites, hurting their ability to attract business.

The Realtor's have planned to make the rule effective this July, though it had been delayed several times while they tried to address the government's anti-trust objections. At the same time, the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have warned several states about creating rules that would block discounters from offering a limited range of services for lower prices.

The move comes at a time when rising home prices have been increasing traditional Realtor's commissions. The move would appear to help such sites as and Suche sites typically offer to find an agent for buyers or sellers.

May 6, 2005

America's Team's New Home

America's Team is about ready to let us in on exactly where their new home will be. Word is that they have selected an approximately 50 acre site southeast of Ameriquest Field in

May 5, 2005

"Sprawl" vs. Property Rights

A very interesting article was published recently by The Heritage Foundation. In it, author Ronald D. Utt, Ph. D shatters some of the myths regarding urban sprawl. Read the article here.


So I bravely enter the cyber-world of blogging. I'm not sure I know what I'm getting myself into, but here goes.