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relapse98

Spillgate failure on Lake Dunlap

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37 minutes ago, SuingToGetAMessageBoard? said:

so these are all just going to be little creeks now?  is that what this means?

Basically. Natural flow of the Guadalupe, with the rest of the original “lake bottom” becoming greenbelt. For McQueeny, the canals would become greenbelt for people cruise around in their UTVs most likely.

 

The plan appears to be to file as many injunctions as possible to delay dewatering and give the communities time to assemble their own water authorities, but no way they will have enough time to accomplish that. Dewatering is going to happen, it’s just a matter of whether they’ll be able to assemble a water authority that can rebuild the dams and fill them back up. And as Relapse said, there’s a big price tag associated with that which would have to come from the home owners under that plan. Put simply, the outlook doesn’t look good that I’ll be putting around the lake with a Lodge-a-rita in hand again any time soon. 

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42 minutes ago, relapse98 said:

*cough* With what money?
The Preserve Lake Dunlap Assocation people are trying to start a water district to raise the needed $30 million by taxing themselves, the water front owners, something like $6-$8 linear waterfront foot per year for the next 30 years. GBRA has said they will sell them the dam for $1. That $30 doesn't cover maintenance, I don't believe, and since that's everyone's big contention, they might need to figure out the funding.

What I think probably should be done is the legislature, in 2 years, grant GBRA the ability to tax adjacent property owners and use that money to repair and maintain the dams. SARA is the only river authority that currently has taxing ability. But give GBRA that 6-8/ft/yr, let them get the bonds (as an existing government entitity) and repair the dams and use the money going forward for maintenance since they are shutting down the hydropower side.

The legislators involved could have asked hot wheels to call a special session, this all happened toward the end of the regular session, but they were asleep at the wheel and so here we all are.

Threaten to build an abortion clinic on the riverbed and Donna Campbell will actually do something for her constituents and come up with the money to replace the dams.

I know:  CR --->

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Curious about ownership under water law precedent. Probably not much case law on ... abandonment? Not sure what to call it. Gonna be some interesting questions on navigability, and maybe more importantly on wording in the original deeds. If some of those were “to the water’s edge” that’s going to cause some issues for the gubmint.

 

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7 minutes ago, SquishMitten said:

Curious about ownership under water law precedent. Probably not much case law on ... abandonment? Not sure what to call it. Gonna be some interesting questions on navigability, and maybe more importantly on wording in the original deeds. If some of those were “to the water’s edge” that’s going to cause some issues for the gubmint.

 

That's what I was thinking.  If a deed describes your lake front property line as a water line, would you now own the land all the way down to the new water line?  This is an issue, among other times, when a stream meanders and an oxbow is formed.  In law school I knew the answer . . .

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1 hour ago, Rusty Shackelford said:

So maybe on 2 of the 6 that are getting drained.  But McQueeney is not being considered yet, and has more property value than the other 5 combined.

the website you quoted and the article that was from the Seguin paper said all the lakes will be drained including McQueeney

there is no way hey could not include McQueeney especially with the argument that it is about "liability".....if that dam failed and there were injured or death or major property loss it would look terrible in court to say they did not drain that lake because it has so many more houses worth so much more money while that was of no consideration for the other lakes

plus it would give as much or more ammunition to the other lake front property owners that they are being screwed over by an authority that claims they have no money for maintenance yet they kept the one lake filled with the most property owners and the most owners that have high dollar properties....and the lake that currently has no public access 

I would imagine they are doing this as some type of move to try and get the property owners to take over and rid themselves of the burden or to get the state to act.....I would imagine this will not end the way the GBRA thinks it will and more than likely if the state steps in the GBRA will be gone

or if the property owners take over the GBRA will lose the hydro power water rights and probably a lot of other things as well that will make them as good as gone

I would think that when all this really starts being looked into the GBRA will probably look like shit......the whole moving the headquarters thing looks like shit as it is and I would imagine the hydropower aspect has been poorly managed and probably is not set up properly to take advantage of any federal tax advantages like wind takes advantage of and the GBRA probably could have found a way (or still could find a way) to take advantage of that and is just fucking it off because selling power is harder than selling water and other shit

I would not be surprised that if they really looked into it with some basic investments in the past and some demand/supply modeling it is found the hydropower aspect could have done a lot better than it is....but again that requires more than just sitting on your ass and selling water

2 hours ago, relapse98 said:

*cough* With what money?
The Preserve Lake Dunlap Assocation people are trying to start a water district to raise the needed $30 million by taxing themselves, the water front owners, something like $6-$8 linear waterfront foot per year for the next 30 years. GBRA has said they will sell them the dam for $1. That $30 doesn't cover maintenance, I don't believe, and since that's everyone's big contention, they might need to figure out the funding.

What I think probably should be done is the legislature, in 2 years, grant GBRA the ability to tax adjacent property owners and use that money to repair and maintain the dams. SARA is the only river authority that currently has taxing ability. But give GBRA that 6-8/ft/yr, let them get the bonds (as an existing government entitity) and repair the dams and use the money going forward for maintenance since they are shutting down the hydropower side.

The legislators involved could have asked hot wheels to call a special session, this all happened toward the end of the regular session, but they were asleep at the wheel and so here we all are.

this article says the Upper Guadalupe River Authority can levy taxes as well

https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/mwu03

 

 

 

 

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^^^ I'm not sure that's  what he was saying about McQueeney.  Yes, it's getting drained, but there are no plans, yet, to start or fund any repairs.  

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3 minutes ago, HouTex said:

^^^ I'm not sure that's  what he was saying about McQueeney.  Yes, it's getting drained, but there are no plans, yet, to start or fund any repairs.  

Yep, that's what I said.  No idea what all the psychobabble above is about, and really don't care.  /putting him back on ignore.

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10 minutes ago, SquishMitten said:

Curious about ownership under water law precedent. Probably not much case law on ... abandonment? Not sure what to call it. Gonna be some interesting questions on navigability, and maybe more importantly on wording in the original deeds. If some of those were “to the water’s edge” that’s going to cause some issues for the gubmint.

 

that is a good question....looking at the lakes there is really no way the new found property could be put to any reasonable use and no way it could be built on or would be permitted to do so

but you could easily end up with a situation like Medina where when the water is low the property owners do not own to the waters edge and people are free to use the land between their property and the waters edge (and often do) and conflicts erupt especially when the lake is way down and stays down for an extended period

I would think somewhere in the deed from when the lakes were built there is an answer, but then again each deed could be different depending on what was sold and what was then resold after the lake was built....you never know what people split out of a property deed when they sell or why they do it....there could be a few people that might be fucked if they bought from someone that set a property boundary at a particular spot and then kept some land that at the time was under water...not sure why anyone would do that, but people do a lot of things that seem odd at the time

of course you still have to maintain the ownership of that underwater property by paying taxes ect over time as well and I would imagine that gets more cloudy with the amount of time that has passed

worst of all for the property owners would be if their property had a set boundary and now the new dry land is turned into a park or public river access.....sort of like when the railroad abandons property and some public entity steps in and claims the ROW for a public trail (which often times is actually against what was legally in place when the land was taken from the property owners, but the owners do not have the deep pockets to fight it and enforce what was in the deed when their land was taken)

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^^ The first part of that about Medina is pretty settled law. Ownership doesn’t change due to drought/low-flow situations. But when a dam is removed and the flow will NEVER return to those lands? Not sure there’s much precedent there.

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i'm a little surprised the Guadalupe River authority never taxed any of the homeowners on those lakes

I know my Mom pays annual tax/fees to the Trinity River Authority for her boat dock on Lake Livingston and her use of water for her lawn irrigation system.

Maybe the Lake McQueeney folks do as well, but its not covered anywhere on the river authority website.

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2 hours ago, SquishMitten said:

^^ The first part of that about Medina is pretty settled law. Ownership doesn’t change due to drought/low-flow situations. But when a dam is removed and the flow will NEVER return to those lands? Not sure there’s much precedent there.

but with Medina it is settled because the lake changes in depth so much and all the fights have been fought many times and settled that the property owners do not own to the edge of the water they own to their defined property line and after that the land is open if not under water

with these lakes the water level is pretty much constant so there has never been exposed ground (perhaps with a few exceptions) since about the time the lake was built and most property owners probably have no real clue what they own to...the middle of the river or to a defined property line with most of the land under the lake (or soon to be formerly under the lake) owned by someone else

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15 hours ago, MAROON said:

i'm a little surprised the Guadalupe River authority never taxed any of the homeowners on those lakes

I know my Mom pays annual tax/fees to the Trinity River Authority for her boat dock on Lake Livingston and her use of water for her lawn irrigation system.

Maybe the Lake McQueeney folks do as well, but its not covered anywhere on the river authority website.

There is a permit fee of $600 (currently being waived) for any construction including ramps, retaining walls, docks, etc. And a $100 annual fee for those.

But what GBRA should have done, and should do now, is ask the legislature to give them the ability to tax adjacent property owners and that way the lakes can self fund and go on forever without the now being shuttered hydropower business.

What will happen is that lawsuits will be filed - and I think a judge will probably tell the plaintiffs to fuck off as there is no money to operate the lakes, None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. And to boot, the lake users never gave a dime for lake operation, so they should be happy they got to use them this many years for free. People will continue to cry, the legislature will pussyfoot around and maybe figure out a way to tax every Texas citizen to give GBRA the money to repair the dams, in 2 years.

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2 hours ago, relapse98 said:

the legislature will pussyfoot around and maybe figure out a way to tax every Texas citizen to give GBRA the money to repair the dams, in 2 years.

That'd be fine as long as there is some sort of public lake access.  

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50 minutes ago, dingleberryswitzer said:

That'd be fine as long as there is some sort of public lake access.  

That won't make the McQueeney folks happy.  They've enjoyed what amounts to a private lake for decades.

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6 minutes ago, HouTex said:

That won't make the McQueeney folks happy.  They've enjoyed what amounts to a private lake for decades.

If it comes down to a publicly accessed lake or no lake at all, which would they choose?  

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This really is a play by the GBRA to put pressure on the local municipalities to provide funds to fix the gates.  The local governments are going to be hit with economic losses from businesses closing (marinas/boat repair/waterfront construction) in addition to property tax losses as the property values of the homes now possibly, as mentioned above, not being waterfront homes.  

This feels like nothing more than a negotiation and strong arming tactic from the GBRA which may or may not back fire on them.  Lake Wood didn't have many people or people with deep pockets living on that lake.  McQueeny, Dunlap, and Placid certainly do.  Meadow Lake (Lake Nolte) is the real wild card here.

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On 9/1/2019 at 11:16 PM, NeverMarryAStripper said:

The state refusing to pay for their private lake is getting bent over?

The fact that they got enjoyment of a lake, for free for decades, without paying anything for the upkeep of said lake = getting bent over.

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1 hour ago, Neonmoon said:

When do they plan to drain Lake McQueeney?

https://gvlakes.com/

Drawdown of Gonzales starts on 9/16. Something like 3 days per lake moving upstream.
I hope the adjacent property owners are paying attention and pulling boats out. Dunlap didn't have that advance notice and it's been a bitch getting some of those boats out - some dude has this boat thing with a ramp that he gets close to your lift and then pulls the boat onto it... much easier to get boats out now than when there is no lake and just mud to drive on and the natural river.

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14 minutes ago, NorthLoop said:

They should just pile all their boats up in one spot. Problem solved. 

Didn’t work so well for Abaco.

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2 lawsuits were filed today (why they don't pull resources, I'll never know).

Both want a temporary restraining order to stop the drain. Hopefully these 2 lawsuits didn't say that any deaths and injuries from dam failure would be the fault of the GBRA board - that's what got them into this drain pickle in the first place.

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My McQueeney friends are confident that the injunction will be granted and that a deal will get done eventually.  They have a friendly judge and too much money would be lost in property tax revenues due to the dramatic drop in appraised values.  

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7 minutes ago, HouTex said:

My McQueeney friends are confident that the injunction will be granted and that a deal will get done eventually.  They have a friendly judge and too much money would be lost in property tax revenues due to the dramatic drop in appraised values.  

So the poors can have their lake drained but not the richies?

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7 minutes ago, Neonmoon said:

So the poors can have their lake drained but not the richies?

Yes.

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1 minute ago, Neonmoon said:

So the poors can have their lake drained but not the richies?

As Earth Wind and Fire sang, ". . . that's the way of the world."

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The McQueeney folks realize that they likely will have to pay for the repairs themselves.  Their engineers estimate the cost per lake-front property owner is in the low five figures.  They'll pay that in a heartbeat to keep their values up and to continue to enjoy their "private" lake.  I have no idea if that's BS or a real number.

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so if the friendly judge grants the injunction and then they have a catastrophic damn failure and loss of life downstream, is the GBRA off the hook?

 

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5 minutes ago, MAROON said:

so if the friendly judge grants the injunction and then they have a catastrophic damn failure and loss of life downstream, is the GBRA off the hook?

 

Yeah I would love to see the liability language in these new contacts. Ha 

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5 minutes ago, MAROON said:

so if the friendly judge grants the injunction and then they have a catastrophic damn failure and loss of life downstream, is the GBRA off the hook?

 

I have no idea.  I'm told part of the proof at the TRO hearing will be that the McQueeney dam is sound and that there is no immediate threat of a failure.  As every lawyer knows, you can get an expert to say just about anything.  That said, no judge will want a dam failure on his hands.  The evidence better be damn (that's a lot of dam/ns) good if they want to win the TRO.

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19 minutes ago, HouTex said:

The McQueeney folks realize that they likely will have to pay for the repairs themselves.  Their engineers estimate the cost per lake-front property owner is in the low five figures.  They'll pay that in a heartbeat to keep their values up and to continue to enjoy their "private" lake.  I have no idea if that's BS or a real number.

If know anything about large scale government funded construction, is that the projected figure is never close to the actual figure .  

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14 minutes ago, Neonmoon said:

Yeah I would love to see the liability language in these new contacts. Ha 

maybe the judge and the McQueeney home owners become the liable parties?......Ha., who am I kidding!

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4 hours ago, HouTex said:

My McQueeney friends are confident that the injunction will be granted and that a deal will get done eventually.  They have a friendly judge and too much money would be lost in property tax revenues due to the dramatic drop in appraised values.  

Is that judge one of the 3 District judges in Guadalupe that just recused themselves? I'm going guess... yes. At least one of those judges lives in a neighborhood adjacent to Dunlap, his house is across the street from the former lake.

Judges probably aren't going to take reduced property valuations into account - I mean, it makes a neat emotional story, but that's not all that relevant to the safety issue.

Edit: And what deal? Are they going to form that water district? The Dunlap one is going for 30 million over 30 years and get bonds based on that. But I haven't heard a word about dam maintenance funding mentioned - remember that's the thing that got everyone into the current situation. If they don't come up with a sound way to maintain the dams after they are rebuilt, then it's doomed from the start. And that's not even taking into account that at least some percentage of people won't want additional taxes from the water district. Or they somehow bamboozle the state to pay for the dams on their private lake (there are 2 ramps the public could use on McQueeney - one requires an expensive membership to Lake Breeze, the other requires a membership or possibly day use fees to the marina). For all intents and porpoises, it's a private lake, unlike Dunlap with it's dam under 35.

Edited by relapse98

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3 hours ago, HouTex said:

 I'm told part of the proof at the TRO hearing will be that the McQueeney dam is sound and that there is no immediate threat of a failure.

I'm told there were 6 dams built at the same time 90 years ago and that 1/3 of them failed within 3 years of each other and that the projected lifetime for the dams was 50 years. Anyone saying McQueeney, built at the same time as the others by the exact same people using the exact same methods and materials, such as the pot steel that failed on the Dunlap gate.. is out of their gourd. They may not want their lake drained, but calling it sound? That's a fruitcake.

Edited by relapse98

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29 minutes ago, relapse98 said:

 

Is that judge one of the 3 District judges in Guadalupe that just recused themselves? I'm going guess... yes. At least one of those judges lives in a neighborhood adjacent to Dunlap, his house is across the street from the former lake.

Judges probably aren't going to take reduced property valuations into account - I mean, it makes a neat emotional story, but that's not all that relevant to the safety issue.

Edit: And what deal? Are they going to form that water district? The Dunlap one is going for 30 million over 30 years and get bonds based on that. But I haven't heard a word about dam maintenance funding mentioned - remember that's the thing that got everyone into the current situation. If they don't come up with a sound way to maintain the dams after they are rebuilt, then it's doomed from the start. And that's not even taking into account that at least some percentage of people won't want additional taxes from the water district. Or they somehow bamboozle the state to pay for the dams on their private lake (there are 2 ramps the public could use on McQueeney - one requires an expensive membership to Lake Breeze, the other requires a membership or possibly day use fees to the marina). For all intents and porpoises, it's a private lake, unlike Dunlap with it's dam under 35.

All good points.  I'm relaying what I've been told.  My understanding is that the property owners are discussing something like a MUD district with taxing authority to pay for the upkeep.  They realize it's better than losing six figures of property value if the lake goes away.  I'm sure they would like public money but I doubt they want to lose the private nature of the lake that that might require--of course, there's the legal issue of whether the lake is really private in the first place.  As for what the judge might do, of course it depends on the evidence, but if they can show that this dam, for some reason, doesn't pose the same threat, the judge will be loathe to render a decision that will cut the school district's tax revenues (substantially) and cause everyone else's taxes to go up.  If they can't make that showing, based on the argument you pose or for some other reason, then if I'm the judge I would deny the TRO.

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I still want to see some home sales. I think the Guadalupe County Judge really screwed up when he said they would drop 50%.
River property is still very highly valued around here. So while they may not be on a lake anymore, and the current homeowners might not necessarily like what's happened, there are some people who do like what's happened at Dunlap - it's made it a lot quieter and they no longer have wake boats blasting music right outside their docks all day long. I think there will still be a pretty hot market once it's deteremined if the lakes are going to be refilled or not.

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8 hours ago, relapse98 said:

I still want to see some home sales. I think the Guadalupe County Judge really screwed up when he said they would drop 50%.
River property is still very highly valued around here. So while they may not be on a lake anymore, and the current homeowners might not necessarily like what's happened, there are some people who do like what's happened at Dunlap - it's made it a lot quieter and they no longer have wake boats blasting music right outside their docks all day long. I think there will still be a pretty hot market once it's deteremined if the lakes are going to be refilled or not.

That Treasure Island neighborhood is going to go to trash, though.

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Hearing tomorrow at 9am at Guadalupe County Justice Center on a restraining order. Judge Ables out of Kerrville is the judge, the 3 Guadalupe District judges recused themselves.

The former chair of GBRA (still on the board), and from all reports a good guy, Rusty Brockman announced he was running for mayor last Thursday. Talk about kicking a hornets nest, the lake residents are now all upset with him though very few can actually vote for or against him since the majority of Dunlap adjacent property is out of the city limits and none of the other lakes come close to NB.

Texas Tribune posted an article about the lakes:

These dams needed replacing 15 years ago. Now Texas will drain four lakes instead — causing other problems.
 

I'm still not sure what the fix is. The dams were built at a time when there was hardly even any farming around the lakes. Then communities built by the lakes assuming (you know what you get when you do that) that they would always be there. GBRA probably should have better worked with the elected officials to let them know the conditions of the dams and see what the state could do and for all we know, they did, that's just never been discussed and in the Sunset review last session, they were kinda quiet on it.

I'm not sure I'm all that exicted about the other 28 million Texas residents paying for what are in practice private lakes - Dunlap has the I35 ramp that's free. McQueeney has 2 ramps - 1 requires a membership to the Ski Club, the other may or may not be open depending and has a charge. And if the residents want to pay for it (none seem to be really jumping for that outside of Dunlap residents), then the new WCIDs should be required to develop future maintenance funding plans, otherwise it's all for naught.

I personally don't think turning the lower Guadalupe back into a more natural river is a bad thing.

Edited by relapse98

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