Appeals court reverses Clear Lake Golf Course lawsuit
The First Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's decision, ruling that the Clear Lake City Water Authority was justified to condemn the Clear Lake Golf Course for drainage and flood control uses.
In the Feb. 25 decision, the appeals court sent the case back to the lower court, instructing the judge to award the property to the water authority upon payment of a $5.1 million valuation determined by the jury.
In January 2002, Renaissance Golf Group purchased the property and ran it as a golf course. In 2005, however, the country club closed the golf course after it became unprofitable and announced it would sell the property for residential and commercial development.
In April 2007, the water authority filed a petition in the trial court seeking to obtain the property by condemnation. A judge ruled that the golf course must be appraised as a golf course and not a multi-million-dollar development project.
The jury ultimately agreed with the country club, finding that the water authority "acted fraudulently and arbitrarily when it decided that the property should be taken for the purpose of constructing a storm water detention facility," the opinion states.
Based on the jury's verdict, the trial court dismissed the water authority's condemnation proceeding and awarded the country club $1.43 million in attorney's and appraiser's fees and other expenses.
The water authority appealed the decision to the First Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court's decision on Feb. 24.
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