All Gregory George wanted was some peace and quiet. In 2013, the 41-year-old former Texas General Land Office agent and his wife Staci bought a 10.8-acre plot just outside of Dripping Springs, in a development protected by residential-only deed restrictions. Their plan was to build their dream home and start a family. But that dream turned into a nightmare, George said, when his neighbors decided to open up a wedding venue right next to his new home. Now, he spends his days meeting with lawyers, and nights canvassing his property line with a sound meter.
According to George, his neighbor Jani Saliga came over three days before he poured the foundation for his house and told him she was planning to turn her existing home into a wedding venue. George was surprised: His property came with a neighborhood covenant that prohibited commercial business, and he was told by his real estate agent and his title company that it applied to the properties on both sides of his lot. Saliga, however, says she was unaware of any deed restrictions on her property. George went ahead and built his home adjacent to Saliga’s, on the highest point on his lot, sure the covenant would work. Saliga and her husband also proceeded with their plan, turning their home into what is now the Garden Grove Wedding and Event Venue.
When they began to host weddings in April of 2016, tensions escalated between the Georges and the Saligas. The weddings, which George claims sometimes include live bands that play until midnight, occur about 250 feet from his back porch. George and the neighbors who live on the opposite side of the Saligas’ property filed a lawsuit against them and Garden Grove to enforce the residential-only covenant in June of 2016.
Meeting to discuss North Rutherford Development Project
Thursday, April 19, 7:00pm
Southern Hills Church of Christ
3740 RR 967
Buda, TX 78610
Organizer: Jeannine Inbody <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From our northern Hays County neighbor Ryan Krause:
And from our northern Hays County neighbor Mark Strauss re: this same project, a petition:
A Concept Plan Presentation will be made by the Rutherford North Owner’s Representative during the April 24, 2018 Planning & Zoning Commission meeting at 6:30pm at City Hall located at 511 Mercer Street, Dripping Springs, Texas 78620. A Public Hearing will follow the presentation, during which time all interested persons have the opportunity to be heard regarding the proposed Rutherford North Development Agreement. No action will be taken during this meeting. The subject property is approximately 781.23 acres of land located southeast of the city limits in the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, north RR 967 and west of Oak Forest Drive.
The proposed development will be a master-planned residential community with open space and environmental preservation areas. The proposed Development Agreement will include several provisions, including but not limited to the following: provision of housing; provision of parks, open space, and recreation; environmental and water quality protection; maximum density and impervious cover; outdoor lighting; and signage. The proposed project includes, but is not limited to, the following proposed variances/alternative standards: building setbacks; maximum impervious cover; lot widths and depths; minimum lot area; sidewalks; street standards; and cuts and fills.
The draft Development Agreement is available for public inspection during regular business hours at City Hall. If you have any questions or comments, please contact City Hall in writing at P.O. Box 384, Dripping Springs, TX 78620, by telephone at (512) 858-4725, or by email to email@example.com.
Three tracts combine to form the proposed project site, all of it sited in the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.
By Chris Davis
HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – The owners of more than 12 acres of land in Hays County, who were recently sued by their neighbors over their occasional use of the house they built as a wedding venue, filed a lawsuit of their own this month against those same neighbors.
A judge ruled last October that Jani and Shon Saliga were allowed to keep renting out their home between Buda and Dripping Springs to host weddings. The couple filed a lawsuit this month against the neighboring property owners who sued them, alleging the neighbors are intentionally disrupting weddings held there.
Jani Saliga told KXAN she originally bought the land and built the home for her and her husband to retire to, and it wasn’t until real estate agents suggested it could be a venue that the pair turned it into Garden Grove. Read more…
by Robert Wilonsky, City Columnist, Dallas News
…. Frank had attached a lengthy Facebook post from Amanda Austin, owner of the Dallas Comedy House on Main Street, in which she detailed how the comedy club and improv workshop was getting the boot from her Deep Ellum digs by a carpetbagging landlord — Black Market Investments, out of Lockhart — wanting to sink yet another barbecue joint in the neighborhood. Austin would tell me later that she tried to keep the whole thing a secret, hoping it would be resolved to everyone’s benefit, till it became painfully clear her days were numbered….
Austin, who has two years left on her lease, has known for three months that her days on Main could be winding down. In mid-January she discovered her building had been bought by something called Black Market Investments — so named for Terry Black, a Lockhart CPA, and his children Christina, Michael and Mark Black. Michael and Mark also own Terry Black’s Barbecue in Austin, so named for their dad after a legal tussle with their uncle Ken left them unable to use the original Black’s Barbecue moniker made famous by their grandfather Edgar Clarence Black Jr.
The lengthy letter alleged she was violating the lease by holding shows there. And by hosting classes and workshops. And by serving food and drink. And so on. The new landlords also alleged the building was one giant code violation. Kane’s letter said Austin had 10 days to fix everything or else. And so began the back-and-forth between Black Market’s attorneys and Austin’s lawyers.
On March 2, J. Michael Ellis, who reps Austin, told Kane that Black Market might want to reconsider its attempts to oust Dallas Comedy House for a barbecue restaurant. Ellis wrote that the Lockhartites’ “contrived efforts to remove Dallas’s largest and longest continually-active comedy theater from its space are unlawful, in violation of the Lease and represent a malicious scheme that will certainly interest the Dallas courts, local publications and the Dallas community.” Read more…
Dallas Comedy House owner says she ‘won’t be bullied’ by company trying to push her outDallas Comedy House owner Amanda Austin said the new landlord has been looking for alleged defaults in her lease for months, and she is now facing a termination of tenancy notice.
DALLAS – A Lockhart, Texas-based investment company is trying to push out a local comedy club from the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas, according to the comedy club’s owner.
Black Market Investments, the group behind Terry Black’s BBQ in Austin, bought the 6,800-square-foot space on Main Street in January, records show. Read more…
‘I’m hostage on my own land’ | Local wedding venue, neighbors in legal battle
“I’m just waiting to be served any day,” said the homeowner.Controversy has filled the air in the wedding capital of Texas.Homeowners in Dripping Springs are fighting a back-and-forth legal battle with a well-known wedding venue off FM 967.
The City Council approved the Mark Black Wedding Venue at 130 W. Concord Circle in Driftwood at its Tuesday March 13 meeting.
Present for the council meeting were Mayer Todd Purcell, Mayor Pro Tem Bill Foulds, Council Member Taline Manassian, and Council Member Wade King. The venue passed by a vote of two to one, with Foulds and Manassian voting for, and King voting against. Not present for the meeting were council members Travis Crow and John Kroll.
After weeks of debate, the Dripping Springs City Council Tuesday approved a permit application for the Mark Black Wedding Venue by a split 2-1 vote.
Council member Taline Manassian and Mayor Pro Tem Bill Foulds approved the agreement, while Council member Wade King cast the lone dissenting vote. Council members John Kroll and Travis Crow were absent from the meeting.
Approval of the Site Development Permit Application for the venue was contingent on adding a note to the Water Quality Sheets regarding vegetative filter strips. Requirements called for a minimum 75 percent vegetative cover before final acceptance of the project and implementing additional cross-sections and details regarding temporary sedimentation ponds to its plans.
Prior to the vote, concerned residents of a neighborhood near the venue packed into Dripping Springs City Hall to voice their discontent. Dripping Springs City Hall Tuesday was at capacity, according to the Hays County Fire Marshal….
…. Muckler said an appraiser told him that, in his opinion, the venue would have no impact on the property values of neighboring properties.
Andrea Lohmeyer with Cochran Engineering said the site is in an area without access to several utilities. She said the facility would likely need a large septic system and a well for water.
The buildings also would need sprinkler systems, she said, which would likely require a holding tank.
Lohmeyer said even with the buildings and parking lot, the Mucklers would maintain the area’s green space and preserve the natural look.
As far as traffic is concerned, Lohmeyer said according to a MoDOT study, Highway OO is only used by 2,108 cars per day. With the venue maxing out at 300 guests, she said the traffic impact of 140 cars a few days a week would be minimal.
Andrew Lammert, an attorney representing Muckler, reminded the board it needs “clear and convincing evidence” to not award the permit. Lammert said, in his view, Muckler meets all the requirements needed to obtain a CUP.
For more than an hour, people stepped forward to address the commission and voice their objections.
Residents living or owning property near the proposed venue expressed a variety of concerns.
“It’s too much, too loud, too long and too (much) light,” said Jerry Wilding, who is concerned about the size of the venue, the size of crowds, noise pollution, light pollution and other issues… Read more…
The first ordinance was to clarify where special events venues, which mostly host weddings and receptions or other private parties, can operate either as an allowable use or as a use by exception.
It’s an important distinction because business owners who want to host special events as a use by exception have to go before the Planning and Zoning Board. That’s a public hearing where public comment is allowed.
“It allows for neighbors to make comments on the impact (to the area),” city Planning and Building Director David Birchim said.
Zoning areas where special events venues are allowable are Commercial Medium One (CM-1) and CM-2. The zoning areas where it is a use by exception are: Commercial Low Two (CL-2), Historic Preservation Two (HP-2), HP-3, HP-4, Residential General One (RG-1), RG-2, Residential General Office (RGO) and RGO-A.
Birchim also reminded the commissioners that the use rests solely with the applicant. It doesn’t transfer with the property should it be sold.
The ordinance has slowly evolved over the course of the past year to deal with what has become a growing business in St. Augustine. The city has been attracting more and more people as a wedding destination, and there is a scarcity of appropriate venues. That’s caused some property owners to start hosting events as the demand increases.
So city politicians and staff members are trying to accommodate the growing business while trying to keep it from causing trouble in residential neighborhoods.
Still, Commissioner Leanna Freeman said she was worried the ordinance might open too many properties to be used as special events venues without must chance to stop it. … Read more…