Lakewood Country Club, Also Unhappy With DCAD, Sues Over Its $6.95 Million Valuation

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One week ago today we noted that the Dallas Country Club, which sits on 118 acres in the heart of Highland Park, is suing the Dallas Central Appraisal District over its valuation -- a whole $15 million. Today we brings news of yet another country club taking on DCAD: Lakewood's 99-year-old gem on Gaston, which covers around 120 acres -- and sits on the tax rolls at a grand total of $6,950,950 right now. And that, says the complaint filed Friday, is too damn high.

The lawsuit -- which, like the DCC's complaint, is brought to you by the Addison firm of Geary, Porter & Donovan -- follows. Jennifer Tobin, the attorney repping the Lakewood Country Club, wasn't available; Kathleen Donovan, who's handling the DCC's complaint, says through a rep that she'll contact us via email. And no one at DCAD wants to talk about it -- or can. I left a message for Ken Nolan, DCAD's chief appraiser. Long story short: This is an injustice. As in:
Plaintiff alleges that the value placed on the Property is unequal compared to a sample of properties consisting of a reasonable number of other properties similarly situated to, or of the same general kind or character as the Property subject to this appeal. Plaintiff further alleges that the Property is appraised unequally because the appraised value of the Property exceeds the median appraised value of a reasonable number of comparable properties appropriately adjusted.

Plaintiff alleges that the levying of a tax on the Property based on a higher than fair market valuation is an unlawful levy, creates an illegal lien on the Property and is a cloud on Plaintiff's title. Furthermore, Plaintiff may be compelled to pay property taxes based on an erroneous valuation unless the Court intervenes to prevent such injustice.
Just for grins, the next-door Whole Foods, which sits on around three acres, is on the tax rolls at around $4.7 million.

Update at 3:10 p.m.: Donovan responds via email, "It is the policy of Geary, Porter & Donovan, P.C. not to comment on pending litigation." LAKEWOOD COUNTRY CLUB v DALLAS CENTRAL APPRAISAL DISTRICT
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19 comments
LaceyB
LaceyB

neither have it quite as bad as Woodhaven, which has the fortune of upping its property value by hosting "Big Rich Texas".

RTGolden
RTGolden

I searched long and hard, scrutinizing all my 2000 washable places, and can't seem to find an ounce of sympathy for a country club.

freddy
freddy

Well at least Lakewood is more egalitarian than DCC. I know it had minority members going back to the 1970s.  It hosts school events and reunions that would scare Parkies to death!

guest
guest

Am I totally confused? I thought we determined last time this came up with DCC that the valuation is for the buildings only. The land is exempt somehow.

whodunnit
whodunnit

If the members of the "club" were selling it, they would be arguing that $6.95 Million is only a fraction of its value.

Alan
Alan

Just out of curiosity, when this gets to trial, does the court or jury have the power to find that the property is undervalued, and order DCAD to increase the appraised value?

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Just one more example that the appraisal system is BROKEN.   And what did the legislature do about this?  NOTHING.   They have known the discrepancy of commercial (I assume that his is commercial-certainly not residential) vs residential appraisals and tax burdens for over a decade but nooooooo we can't do anything to help the home owner from being screwed by the county appraiser.

space2k
space2k

How dare they expect our kind of people to pay taxes? John Wiley Price blah blah blah...

Ed D.
Ed D.

So the defense is "hey, lots of country clubs are appraised far too low" and we can't revalue any of them, uh, ever because of this? Astounding.

Noah W. Bailey
Noah W. Bailey

What a load. That's some of the most valuable real estate in the city--7 million is generously low if you ask me.

Human Being
Human Being

Many "Parkies" are members at Lakewood.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

It's called a deed restriction, which means country clubs are valued the way they are because they can be nothing other than a country club ... forever. I spoke with someone at DCAD late today about these suits, and she said, "It's very difficult to appraise country clubs because of those deed restrictions, which gives them a much, much diminished value." Only the buildings are put on the tax rolls, and even then ...

More tomorrow.

Alan
Alan

You're right to fix blame on the legislature, but don't blame the appraisers.  They'd be thrilled if the legislature would require sale price disclosure of commercial properties, so they could get meaningful comparables like they get for residential on MLS.  Texas may be the last state left that doesn't require such disclosure.

Alan
Alan

That sounds like the kind of deed restriction that can be removed at the owner's discretion.  So if Lakewood CC wanted to sell out to a developer, they could remove the restriction before selling.  If so, the land should be valued on that basis (well, that and zoning and other inhibitions on development).

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

I seem to recall that former Republican Rep. Fred Hill (who won awards from North Texas municipalities) was the person who killed any sales disclosure reform on commercial property.   This was the same guy (who after he left office and turned lobbyist) was hired by the city of Plano and Dallas (Dallas Country too) to lobby for the city at a tune (combined) of $600,000.00 in 2009.   Your tax dollars at work!

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