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Old 09-17-2013, 08:05 PM
 
4 posts, read 6,522 times
Reputation: 10

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Short version (well...I tried):
My sister and her husband are building onto their home. The city approved original plans. At some point along the way, the neighbor started to be concerned with what was being done. They live in Hyde Park. Their house/lot is tiny. There is not a whole lot that they can do (they are not building a mansion by any means 800 sqft to 1200 sqft). Along the way, it was determined the new build was out of compliance (unknown of course...the city approved the plans). Ok fine. They will fix it. Well, the neighbor decided to sue instead. Oh yeah, the neighbor happens to be an attorney in the attorney general office.

My sister has two small children (ages 4 & 1). They have had to halt all construction b/c of the neighbor who keeps finding issue with any new plan that is submitted. It is gotten to the point that the neighbor gets to dictate the color they paint their home. A family of 4 is living in one small room of their house (has been for months) b/c of this.

How is it that this neighbor has so much control? How is it that they can not do anything until the next advisory board meeting....each month they present their case/new plans...each month the neighbor comes and finds something to dispute. How is this fair to a family that is trying to be compliant?

What can be done? Yes, they have an attorney...but I don't feel like this should even be allowed. Make it stop! Let them finish construction and live their lives. The children are suffering because of this!!

Any suggestions are welcomed!!
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:14 PM
 
Location: central Austin
7,232 posts, read 14,460,793 times
Reputation: 3900
Are they building this themselves? They need a good general contractor and a permitting specialist.
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:22 PM
 
4 posts, read 6,522 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you for your input. No, not building it themselves. They acknowledge mistakes made along the way. However, they thought they were in compliance with everything. Gotta get past this lawsuit b/4 they can continue with GC and such.

Just a frustrated sister watching kids and marriage deteriorate over this....
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Hutto, Tx
9,247 posts, read 24,842,497 times
Reputation: 2826
I could ask my sister to run this past her sister in law. The sis in law works for the Williamson county DA. I know Williamson County isn't Austin, but the DA may be familiar with Travis County rules.
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:43 PM
 
Location: central Austin
7,232 posts, read 14,460,793 times
Reputation: 3900
Quote:
Originally Posted by teecaz View Post
Thank you for your input. No, not building it themselves. They acknowledge mistakes made along the way. However, they thought they were in compliance with everything. Gotta get past this lawsuit b/4 they can continue with GC and such.

Just a frustrated sister watching kids and marriage deteriorate over this....
Sounds like you are gliding over quite a bit here! Anyway, better than a lawyer is a land development consultant/permitting expert with extensive experience with the CoA. I'm sure the neighbor would tell a very different story -- delays and mistakes and wrangling over code issues is very common in Austin. Actually, being sued is not very common. I don't see how a neighbor would have standing to sue, is the neighbor suing the city for not enforcing code/regulations? Or is the City suing your family for non-compliance? Both are crazy rare circumstances.
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:46 PM
 
Location: central Austin
7,232 posts, read 14,460,793 times
Reputation: 3900
Quote:
Originally Posted by teecaz View Post

How is it that this neighbor has so much control? How is it that they can not do anything until the next advisory board meeting....each month they present their case/new plans...each month the neighbor comes and finds something to dispute. How is this fair to a family that is trying to be compliant?
Sounds like they probably need a bunch of variances from the Board of Adjustments. Neighbors do have a say there. Asking for a variance is essentially asking for a favor, it is not something that a homeowner has a "right" to, it can be a long and tricky process.
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:58 PM
 
4 posts, read 6,522 times
Reputation: 10
Again, thank you for your input.
Of course I am leaving out lots of details for sake of making it a short read...to gauge interest and input.
Yes, the neighbor does tell a different story...as there are always two sides to every story. Regardless, my sister and husband have tried to do everything to comply with her requests. They are submitting and resubmitting plans that are in compliance with city ordinance/codes...which yes, is very frustrating in Austin. At this point, I feel she is fighting for the sake of fighting...hence my bully reference.
No, neighbor is not suing the city...just my sister. Can you really sue the city and win?? I have heard it is ridiculous to even try.

At this point, I want to sue the neighbor for pain and suffering as this has affected our entire family (I've been told it can't be done). My parents have spent time taking care of children, stressing over the well being of the family, they have my sisters dog and are all around depressed over the situation. I had the dog for 2 months and have helped with babysitting just to get the kids out of that environment.

I just don't think one person should have this much control over a situation.
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Old 09-17-2013, 09:00 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
9,079 posts, read 17,871,839 times
Reputation: 5185
So this neighbor works for the Attorney General? Namely, Greg Abbott's office? As in, the guy running for governor who keeps getting in trouble for his twitter feed?

If so, I'd imagine the media (or a political opponent) might be interested in the story of someone from the Attorney General's office bullying their neighbor and forcing a family to live in a single room. Just a thought.
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Old 09-17-2013, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,837 posts, read 41,286,881 times
Reputation: 24431
Quote:
Originally Posted by atxcio View Post
So this neighbor works for the Attorney General? Namely, Greg Abbott's office? As in, the guy running for governor who keeps getting in trouble for his twitter feed?

If so, I'd imagine the media (or a political opponent) might be interested in the story of someone from the Attorney General's office bullying their neighbor and forcing a family to live in a single room. Just a thought.
This is the first thing that occurred to me - if the situation is as described, the media would love to be all over it. Add into the Greg Abbott connection, even moreso.
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Old 09-17-2013, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Holly Neighborhood, Austin, Texas
3,912 posts, read 5,938,624 times
Reputation: 2736
"It is gotten to the point that the neighbor gets to dictate the color they paint their home."

I didn't think there was anything in city codes about the color of homes. Can you be more specific?
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