Dallas Country Club Sues Central Appraisal District Over "Unfair" $15-Million Valuation

OriginalDCCClubhousejpg.jpg
Courtesy Justin Cozart
The original Dallas Country Club clubhouse as seen in the 1920s, before its demise in the '50s
Three years back Realtor Jeff Duffy wondered how in the hell could the Dallas Country Club, more than 100 acres nestled within Highland Park, be worth a mere $10 million according to the Dallas Central Appraisal District: "Do country clubs fall under the church and school categories when it comes to property taxes? Am I missing something here?" Well, yes: As Wick Allison noted in D last year, "The Dallas Country Club is privileged to sit on 118 very valuable acres that are now tax-exempt as real property." Which means, as the HP-home-owning magazine's publisher put it, folks like him "subsidize racial discrimination."

Now, jump to this morning: DCAD's finally upped the valuation of the country club ... to a whole $15 million. Which, it insists, is "an amount in excess of the appraised value required by law," according to court docs I stumbled across on the Dallas County website that were filed not two hours ago. According to Addison attorney Kathleen Donovan, the country club, whose golf course just underwent a major overhaul, protested the valuation back in May, but the review board wasn't having it. Hence, the lawsuit, which reads, in part:
The value placed on the Property represents a value in excess of fair market value. The appraised value is unfair and discriminatory, arrived at through the adoption, application, use and enforcement of a fundamentally erroneous and unlawful plan, method and formula of valuation and assessment.

Plaintiff alleges that the adoption and use of such a fundamentally erroneous and unlawful plan for establishing the appraised value of the Property has resulted in a substantially excessive valuation in violation of the Constitution, Property Tax Code and Statutes of the State of Texas which provide that no property shall be assessed at a value greater than its market value.

Plaintiff alleges that the value placed on the Property is based upon an appraisal method which is antiquated, unfair, and erroneous and which does not take into account all relevant factors and indicators of market value, and that the appraisal so made is void, unlawful and should be cancelled and set aside.
Read the whole thing on the other side. Dallas Country Club v Dallas Central Appraisal District

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38 comments
Texas Land Sales
Texas Land Sales

Now let's take a look at ATV implements for your food plot work. There are two general categories: seedbed preparation implements and forage-maintenance that you will need on hand to handle all your needs. As you will see when working your machine there will be some overlap like with a sprayer, lime spreaders, plows, disks, cultivators, harrows, seed and fertilizer spreaders and cultipackers.

Patrick McHugh
Patrick McHugh

There are no exemptions; it's just taxed low. I'm assuming the CC's argument is that the highest and best use based on its location is as the country club. The CC is probably complaining they can never build any homes on there so it should never be taxed like buildable land; because they contribute to campaigns and you don't (at least not at their level), the chief appraiser will most likely urge that they settle with the CC because there is no reason to make them inconvenienced.

Whodunnit
Whodunnit

$15M is still way too low. The property is hardly "public" so the exemption is bogus. Pay your fair share, DCC members. Unless, of course, you'd like to convert to a public course.........'thought not.

Wick
Wick

It is only fair and correct that this local getaway be exempted from real estate taxes.  Please remember the site does not make money, rather it simply is the reflection of money.  If one goes to our water features on the course and gaze into the stillness, they will see $$ - ie themselves.    We do not throw coins in a fountain,  rather we go around town and gather up coins to build our own fountain.      -W    

Goldstein
Goldstein

at 8 mil an acre, or 6, or 3, there is a real fmv of 150-300 mil plus of land. repeal this exemption and collect 30-60 mil/year in taxes! robinhood

Artspo
Artspo

Hey Rich folks, Taxes are a Bi#ch, man up!

Guest
Guest

The Texas Property Tax Code sets forth different appraisal standards for not-for-profit land that is deed restricted as " "Recreational, park, or scenic use." I would guess Dallas Country Club falls under this distinction, which means "sales of comparable land not restricted...may not be used to determine" its value. In other words, Dallas Country Club is probably not valued based on other HP residential and commercial sales. Instead, it is probably valued based on other land that it is deed restricted as " "Recreational, park, or scenic use" (golf courses, parks, etc.). But to be honest, I have no idea if this is the case, just a guess.

Sam
Sam

What is the cost of the new club house they are building?

Guest
Guest

DCC doesn't pay property taxes on its land, just the buildings, a fact that seems to have been missed by many of the commenters. Interesting thought experiment: If the exact same buildings were in South Dallas with no land, how much would they be worth? Or more accurately, if the buildings were sitting on trailers ready to be delivered to the location of your choosing, how much would they be worth? I don't know the answer. I've never seen what the DCC looks like (the DCC "poor alarms" would go off the second I stepped foot on the property).    

The mystery to me is why the DCC doesn't pay property taxes on the land. I can't see any good reason why they don't have to pay them. Some of that money should make its way into the county budget (I couldn't care less about what it does to the HPISD, etc.). 

Ben Dover
Ben Dover

I'll buy the country club for $15 million! For that amount I could build enough section 8 housing for lots of people with no housing at all ,take my money from the government and live like a king, but I wouldn't want to live in Highland Park.Not with section 8 and low income housing right there.I could builld a damned nice discount mall anchored by a Dollar Store and have a nice clinic space for Parkland. Gosh,I could put a Hurrricane harbor in there and since HP is already voted wet, let the party begin. I might pay $50 million......118 acres ,so I could build housing for over 1000 low income and an annex for the Bridge. Call me if you want to sell due to the unfair taxation.Here's a $1 for my earnest money!

RealTV
RealTV

Dallas Country Club discriminates against all races other than white, and they have the audacity to use the "discrimination" word as part of their pleading................unbelievable.......ahhhhh, i forgot, this is where the Dallas Citizens Council plays golf............now I understand.....

Cujo
Cujo

Let them eat 9-irons!

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

You can discriminate against Jews, Black  and Mexicans and STILL be tax-exempt?

Sweet. No where but Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas, . . .

Montemalone
Montemalone

You're damn right it's unfair.They left off a zero.

Paul
Paul

Hmmm HP land at $10k/acre ... where do I sign up?

Slippery Slope
Slippery Slope

The Dallas Country Club must be hoping to settle, because they wouldn't win this case if it went to trial. . .besides, the implications on either side are too great for the loser that the Court is going to try it's damnedest to stay out of this one.

Imagine.. .If the Appraisal District wins. . .then it's open season on a lot of undervalued commercial properties in North Texas (because I assume other County tax assessors will be watching this case). If the Country Club wins, then the number of challenges to Dallas County appraisals will skyrocket. . .probably resulting in lower valuations, and thusly lower revenue for the County

Sticky Wick-ette
Sticky Wick-ette

Hmm. I noticed you didn't say if Wick was still living in his HP house. Is he still living in exile at his Dallas condo?

jesdynf
jesdynf

I've always figured tax appraisals should let any interested party buy the property for replacement value. There's no reason a property owner should be paying taxes based on an inflated assessment from a third party, and there's no reason why the market shouldn't have an override on a deflated assessment from that same party.

Couple ways that could be gamed, though. Have to think about it.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

This is just another example of why the county appraisal district is a problem and our Republican Governor and legislature who will not fix this problem.   Our residential values go through the roof and business and country clubs have the lowest appraisals around.  And if they do not like it then they sue where as the lowly resident can't and gets screwed.

blue pencil
blue pencil

Oh, c'mon. Let's be realistic. If Highland Park ever had a church it believed in and bowed down to, it's the HPCC.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

If the Dallas Country Club were ever actually put on the market for $15 million, I'm guessing there would be a veritable stampede of investors beating down their doors, checks in hand.

Guest
Guest

What standard requires the property to be "public"?

Artspo
Artspo

Whatchu talkin bout Willis?

Eastdallasgirl1
Eastdallasgirl1

 I expect that may increase values...the lot value of the 18 hole course might be a bit more than $15mil.  And, did anyone get the cost / investment of the multi-million dollar addition and renovations in process that began in 2010? The sum of the parts may be greater than the whole...

Montemalone
Montemalone

When valuations decline, rates go up.

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

Wick Allison talks out of both sides of his saggy ass. 

Facebook User
Facebook User

I argued this same thing when I argued our valuations with the board. They were suggesting my home was worth more than 40% more than I eventually sold it for. I had it on the market for 20% less than they claimed it was worth for 4 years. They didn't care. So it works both ways.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

Mister_Mean, I get your point, but people routinely appeal their valuations without an atty. You just need to be organized and do your research.

Paul
Paul

Guess I shouldn't hold my breath ... 8-D

I wonder what the land value is on the HPV just across Preston?  Anybody have any idea?

John on a Carphone
John on a Carphone

Don't underestimate the lawyers hired by DCC.  Geary Porter & Donovan are the best law firm in town at contesting appraisals.   The folks there live, breathe, eat, sleep, and shower with every tax and property law on the books in Dallas County.   

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Dear Bill:The real issue is that commercial valuations/taxes have a much lower contribution to the overall tax basis than residential.  Commercial properties are dreadfully under valued.  Take in point the land for the tax payer funded hotel was on the tax books at around 7 million and sold for around 47 million (can’t remember the exact figure).   The weighing of tax burden should not fall on the home owner.    Aside from that protesting your values at the county tax appraiser is like going to Wonderland (Alice).    Not only is the parking horrible but the smoke and mirrors that some of them use defies imagination.   I use to do my own and would call down there for the comparables and they would supply them; but the last time I called the guy on the phone said ‘what do you want us to do?  Help you protest your values!”   “yes” I replied, “by law you are required to do so-this is not the Soviet Union.”    They want you to spend as much time as possible trying to defend your self – to wear you down.    I have heard repeated cases where the DCAD uses the highest values (comparables) possible to justify their valuations.   The average home owner does not have the where with all, the skill, or the time to fight them.   Beside the fact that each of the taxing entities can not keep out of the news for waste and pet pork projects that they support (look at the DISD, the City (and the suspension bridges, tax payer hotels, and Trinity Toll road to name a few), and now the county scandals).MM

Apples and Oranges
Apples and Oranges

...but the DCC appears to be taking it one step further than the routine appeal and is filing suit.

Patrick McHugh
Patrick McHugh

The district will just settle out of court; they usually do at this point. The only cases that usually get seen are the higher dollar commercial properties where the district found a recent purchase price for the subject property.

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