Injunction sought against developer of Texas estates

Nick Rees Nov. 3, 2009, 4:44pm


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (Legal Newsline) - An enforcement action has been filed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott against the developer of Sweet Water Estates for violations of the state's colonia prevention laws.

Tracy L. Long, the developer, is accused of unlawfully selling residential lots in Nueces County and failing to install or bond water and wastewater facilities on the lots.

Long, state investigators allege, has unlawfully sold 15 residential lots ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 since 2006 in Sweet Water Estates, a residential subdivision with a total of 64 lots. Long failed to install water or wastewater facilities prior to selling the lots. Long also failed to re-plat the lots to install such facilities or to provide financial assurance for such installation as required by law.

Residential subdivisions in Texas near the U.S.-Mexico border that lack adequate water or wastewater services required by state law are referred to as colonias. Most colonias are outside of city limits or are in isolated areas of a county. Nueces County was added by the Texas Legislature in 2005 to the list of counties that must abide by the state's colonia prevention law.

The State is seeking an injunction against Long compelling her to comply with anti-colonia laws and to provide water and wastewater services to lots that have previously been sold in violation of the law.

An injunction is also sought against Long to prevent additional sales of Sweet Water Estates lots until they are provided with either financial guarantees for installation or installation of minimum required water and wastewater services is completed.

The State is also seeking civil penalties of up to $1,000 for each lot conveyed in violation of the law.

Abbot has filed cases against five colonias in Nueces County this year. The office of the attorney general was provided with additional resources to prevent unlawful colonia developments by the state Legislature during the 2007 regular session.

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