Property Rights Counseling & Litigation

Womack McClish Wall & Foster, P.C. focuses on representing landowners and developers in matters involving property rights and vested rights throughout the state of Texas. We practice almost exclusively in the area of land use, and our dedicated practice has given us a comprehensive understanding of the legal and practical issues involved in land development. Our attorneys have significant experience counseling clients on these matters, as well as representing them in related litigation.

Vested Property Rights in Texas

Texas Local Government Code section 245.002, et seq. , grants property owners and land developers the right to develop property according to the permitting and land use zoning orders, regulations, ordinances, rules, expiration dates, and other requirements in effect at the time the original application for the permit is filed for review, or at the time a plan for development of real property or plat application is filed with a regulatory agency. This right is commonly called a "vested right" because the right to develop the land is not affected by later rules and regulations which negatively affect or constrict the rights of the property owner or developer to develop the land as planned.

Because local municipalities are constantly changing the rules and regulations applicable to land development, project completion has become increasingly more complex and costly. As a result, vested rights are crucial to protecting businesses' and individuals' investments in land development projects and land purchases.

Room for Interpretation in the Law Often Leads to Legal Complications

Unfortunately these vesting laws often leave open the question of when the rights vest. Section 245.002 states that the rights vest when the application, plan for development, or plat application is filed, but the application, plan or plat must give the municipal agency "fair notice of the project and the nature of the permit sought." This requirement leaves room for interpretation, making it important that landowners and developers proceed carefully when moving forward with development projects because the time when the rights vest is often subject to challenge by the local government entity involved. There are also numerous exceptions to these vesting rules which allow certain new rules and regulations to apply, even after the application, plan, or plat is filed.

Experienced and skilled legal counsel is often an essential part of protecting your investment in a land development project or purchase. Our experienced property rights lawyers have significant experience in counseling landowners and developers, as well as successfully defending them in litigation matters involving Texas' vested rights laws. We handle both civil trials and appeals, and our partnership also includes a Civil Trial Law and Civil Appellate Law Specialist, certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Call Womack McClish Wall & Foster, P.C. at (512) 474-9875 for a free initial consultation.

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