U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Texas > Austin
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
 
 
Old 01-17-2008, 08:06 PM
 
27 posts, read 63,529 times
Reputation: 19
Default Howard Ranch in Driftwood

What are everyone's thoughts on this community?
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-17-2008, 08:29 PM
 
Location: South Austin (Circle C)
260 posts, read 874,515 times
Reputation: 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by d.h.badger View Post
What are everyone's thoughts on this community?
Do you mean closer to Dripping? New community. High growth area. 1 acre or so lots. it's not going to be a very big subdivison (as it's platted now) Has city water and is on a community septic system, no gas yet, propane. It has some decent topography but the site was mainly a field before it was a subdivision so not a whole lot of mature trees and a lot of open grass. That, I think, is it's biggest downfall. Homes are mainly craftsman style.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-18-2008, 02:00 PM
 
27 posts, read 63,529 times
Reputation: 19
Yea, I know about the subdivision (i'm a builder there), I'm just trying to get people's opinions on it. It just hasn't taken off like I thought it would.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-18-2008, 02:09 PM
 
1,158 posts, read 1,249,671 times
Reputation: 1103
Default Beware of the "Planned Communities"

Quote:
Originally Posted by d.h.badger View Post
What are everyone's thoughts on this community?
These declarants are setting up the subdivisions so that you are forced to purchase from vendors that they have financial arrangements with forever.

Look at the CCRs for Howard Ranch. Note any provisions obligating you to 1) install propane appliances, 2) purchase all of your propane forever from the specified propane vendor. Note that there is no obligation on the vendor to even be around tomorrow. However, the biggest concern is that propane is economically unregulated which means that they can charge you whatever they want to for propane and you have absolutely no choice but to grin and bear it.

Study any restrictions that have the effect of forcing you to rely upon any privately-held water company for your water as well.

This propane scam is occurring in subdivision after subdivision throughout central Texas. Natural gas is economically regulated - propane is not. You will have no choice as to vendor, quality, or price. If you attempt to utilize a different vendor, you can rest assured that you will be threatened with fines and foreclosure on your home by an action to enforce deed restrictions.

The HOA is the declarant's enforcement mechanism to force you to support the declarant's designated vendor. The declarant will likely control the HOA for quite some time. One might suspect that the propane vendor and declarant have a side deal that is not being disclosed to purchasers.

Although some industry-folks claim that deed restrictions preserve value, I guess you have to ask "for who?" This restriction has nothing to do with aesthetics, but rather is set up to trap residents into a particular vendor - forever. Aside from the possibility of being bilked while you are there, the habitability of your home will be tied to the welfare of the propane and water vendors. The marketability of your home will suffer if either vendor has a bad reputation, however, the converse is not true.

There are a number of companies going into the "business" of central propane systems because its extremely lucrative. The vendor has an absolute monopoly on an economically deregulated resource - propane. You won't realize you've been had until long after you move in.

Be very wary of those central propane systems. The argument is that they are "economic and efficient" or that they "benefit the community". However, they primarily benefit the declarant and vendors setting them up. Unless you have alternatives, they have zero incentive to please the customer on price, quantity, or quality.

In addition to the price per gallon for consumption, many of these vendors also require a monthly account fee for the privilege of maintaining your customer account. Most consumers are not able to tell whether they are being had because the monthly bill illustrates consumption as gaseous cubic feet (like natural gas), but propane is priced on a per liquid gallon basis.

Think about it and why the system was set up.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-18-2008, 07:03 PM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
71,136 posts, read 31,484,449 times
Reputation: 16576
That's a joke..right ? I've been on propane for 10 years. I was free to choose who I wanted and able to switch at any time. I'm happy with my choice. I'm a route customer and as such get a $.10/gal discount. I do compare prices annually with the competitors though just to make sure I'm paying fair prices.

Although this year..YIKES !!! I just had them out to fill up the tank and it's 1.5 times what it was last year.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-18-2008, 11:24 PM
 
27 posts, read 63,529 times
Reputation: 19
I hear what you're saying. I've never built in a community with central propane before. Our propane provider stinks! Well, as far as the install goes. Takes forever to get the yard line to the house, I've almost had to beg them to come out and let me pay them to work.

We're on city water so no problems there, but the propane does seem to be expensive (this time of year).
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-19-2008, 01:25 PM
 
1,158 posts, read 1,249,671 times
Reputation: 1103
Default No joke

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyTexan View Post
That's a joke..right ? I've been on propane for 10 years. I was free to choose who I wanted and able to switch at any time. I'm happy with my choice. I'm a route customer and as such get a $.10/gal discount. I do compare prices annually with the competitors though just to make sure I'm paying fair prices.

Although this year..YIKES !!! I just had them out to fill up the tank and it's 1.5 times what it was last year.
No, it's not a joke. This is happening in a lot of these newer subdivisions. You may not be able to determine it from the restrictions, but the HOA will be controlled by the declarant (the developer) and his affiliates for decades. They will use the HOA to ensure that you have no choice but to purchase from vendors that they have arrangements with. The central gas system is owned by the propane vendor and the CCRs will be designed to either 1) affirmatively require you to purchase gas from that vendor or 2) instill the control of the Architectural Committee in the declarant to ensure that you cannot get permission to install your own tank.

In these Central Propane Gas systems, the developers require the homeowners to 1) install propane appliances, and 2) purchase all of your propane from their vendor affiliate - forever. This is so fundamentally opposite of what people are accustomed to, they don't even know to inquire about it or be suspicious about it.

The propane vendor dictates whatever price they want to and typically tacks a monthly account fee onto the bill in addition to the price you pay for the gas consumed. It's quite a scam to impose this via restrictive covenants. It's so lucrative that it has caught on like wildfire with the developers throughout central Texas. Here's a list of just a few subdivisions with these central propane systems: Howard Ranch, Belterra, Lake Pointe, Rob Roy Rim, Hills of Lakeway, Sterling Acres, Maravilla, Forest Bluffs, Riverbend, Austins Colony, Costa Bella, Hornsby Glen, Preserve at Barton Creek, Dry Creek Estates, Century Ranch, Lakewinds Estates, Preserve at Barton Creek, etc., etc.

You definitely don't know it when you buy in there. In fact, in some subdivisions it will be represented to you that you can install a buried propane tank - but the developer will control the Architectural Committee to ensure that you never get approval. Propane vendors are paying developers for the opportunity to get into these subdivisions.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-11-2008, 12:21 PM
 
26 posts, read 64,998 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
No, it's not a joke. This is happening in a lot of these newer subdivisions. You may not be able to determine it from the restrictions, but the HOA will be controlled by the declarant (the developer) and his affiliates for decades. They will use the HOA to ensure that you have no choice but to purchase from vendors that they have arrangements with. The central gas system is owned by the propane vendor and the CCRs will be designed to either 1) affirmatively require you to purchase gas from that vendor or 2) instill the control of the Architectural Committee in the declarant to ensure that you cannot get permission to install your own tank.

In these Central Propane Gas systems, the developers require the homeowners to 1) install propane appliances, and 2) purchase all of your propane from their vendor affiliate - forever. This is so fundamentally opposite of what people are accustomed to, they don't even know to inquire about it or be suspicious about it.

The propane vendor dictates whatever price they want to and typically tacks a monthly account fee onto the bill in addition to the price you pay for the gas consumed. It's quite a scam to impose this via restrictive covenants. It's so lucrative that it has caught on like wildfire with the developers throughout central Texas. Here's a list of just a few subdivisions with these central propane systems: Howard Ranch, Belterra, Lake Pointe, Rob Roy Rim, Hills of Lakeway, Sterling Acres, Maravilla, Forest Bluffs, Riverbend, Austins Colony, Costa Bella, Hornsby Glen, Preserve at Barton Creek, Dry Creek Estates, Century Ranch, Lakewinds Estates, Preserve at Barton Creek, etc., etc.

You definitely don't know it when you buy in there. In fact, in some subdivisions it will be represented to you that you can install a buried propane tank - but the developer will control the Architectural Committee to ensure that you never get approval. Propane vendors are paying developers for the opportunity to get into these subdivisions.
And this is somehow worse than being forced to buy these things exclusively from the government...at whatever price they want...forever and ever?
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2008, 02:35 PM
 
1,158 posts, read 1,249,671 times
Reputation: 1103
Yenko, your comment makes little sense. No one proposed purchasing anything from "the government".
What has happened is that these developers have set up mini-fiefdoms where you are forced to purchase from their vendors. I don't think you understand that you have no choice as to the price being paid because you have no choice about being a customer. Any changes in terms are unilaterally dictated by the vendor and you must simply accept them. When your house is full of propane appliances (mandated by CCRs) you have to have propane.

The developer uses the HOA to force you to be a customer of its affiliated vendor. The vendor in these cases has an open license to charge you whatever they want because you will be forced via restrictive covenants to be a customer. Don't like the service? Too bad. Don't like the price? Too bad. Monthly account fees doubled starting next month? Too bad.

I'm not sure what gave you the idea that the alternative was purchasing from "the government". At least one alternative is individual choice as to vendor.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-21-2009, 11:59 AM
 
5 posts, read 9,850 times
Reputation: 14
As the developer of Howard Ranch, I can tell you that all the utilities were structured as a matter of convenience and economy for the homeowners. We have central propane as a matter of convenience; residents have a meter, do not have to schedule deliveries, and there is not a constant flow of propane trucks on our streets. Residents have the option to opt out of the propane agreement should they decide, for a fee. Our utilities are lower than any of the other communities that I know of. Our POA fees are $500 a year and we have a separate irrigation suppy. We changed service providers for Propane to Ferrell gas (from Sharp Propane) which is the largest independent propane provider in the country. We do not have a Mud district as do many other developments, and subsequently have lower taxes. We are happy to answer any questions and also provide access to our residents for any concerns or feedback.
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2011 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $79,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Texas > Austin
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top