Road Rage

Homeowners in a Denton County neighborhood wage battle against "taxation without representation"

Fortune says that for now, the road district board is left with trying to explain the increasing road tax again and again to new and ever more incensed property owners.

"Every year, we have an annual homeowners' association meeting. I usually get up and give a quick history of the RUD again because it's always new people, and they're always pissed because they don't understand what this tax is," he says.

Real estate agents marketing property in the district today say up front that the area has special taxes. The taxes are even listed on fliers that describe houses. While that appears to be an improvement, even today someone buying a house in Bass' neighborhood would not be clearly told that Centex is claiming to still be owed some $18 million, which will turn into more property taxes when approved by district boards. One state official who even suggested potential homebuyers "read the local newspaper" to find out about potential future taxes, says there is nothing illegal or improper about a developer asking to be paid back for development costs.

Developers say that without their influx of cash, the whole Vista Ridge Mall area never would have been developed the way it is today. Area homeowners are upset because they say they didn't know the area was mired in debt when they agreed to buy.
Peter Calvin
Developers say that without their influx of cash, the whole Vista Ridge Mall area never would have been developed the way it is today. Area homeowners are upset because they say they didn't know the area was mired in debt when they agreed to buy.

"Most purchases in the state of Texas are 'let the buyer beware,'" Susan Walton, a utilities specialist with the conservation commission says.

It may be legal, but Bass and others remain unconvinced that homeowners should be stuck the way they are in the Vista development.

"We'll be paying for these roads...oh my God, the bonds are amortized for 20 or 30 years," Bass says. "We're going to be paying for these roads forever and still owe more."

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