Forestar (USA) Real Estate Group, Inc. has filed suit in the 335th Judicial District in Lee County against the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District and its Board of Directors (Case No. 15,369). The suit is 1) an appeal of the Boards’ decision to deny Forestar’s application for 33,000 acre-feet per year of the 45,000 acre-feet per year of groundwater it requested, and 2) a claim for the taking or damaging of its property, and for its damages and attorney’s fees due to the District’s actions (a takings claim).
Forestar (Plaintiff) includes as Defendants not only the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District (District), but also eight members of its Board of Directors “each in their individual capacities and in their official capacities as directors of the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District.”
Forestar claims that 1) “the District’s and the Board members’ decisions, findings, and conclusions violate Forestar’s rights,” and 2) “the District’s and the Board members’ decisions, findings, and conclusions have caused an uncompensated and unconstitutional damaging or taking of Forestar’s property”.
Forestar argues that its “uncontested application” should have been granted in full, and that the Boards’ decision “is not supported by any competent evidence in the record” because the Board relied on “public comments”. Quoting from Forestar’s petition, “the erroneous decision necessarily must be predicated on the Board’s unauthorized disregard of the uncontested evidence and its impermissible consideration of incompetent statements or other improper factors outside of the record. The only other statements made before the Board on which the Board’s refusal to grant the permits in full could have been base were “public comments” opposing the Application.”
Forestar further complains that the Board “extensively cited and relied on the information” provided by the District’s hydrologist in statements and slides presented during a special called Board meeting.
As public advocates of conservation and protection of these valuable groundwater resources, we are gratified that the information and concerns provided by Environmental Stewardship and others were convincing, and that the Board gave our concerns serious consideration in their decision.
We continue to be very proud of the Lost Pines Board and thank them for standing strong in light of the harassment, intimidation and threats they have faced from Forestar … a not-so-friendly corporate citizen.
We understand that this struggle is not over, and look forward to working with them over the next year to strengthen their ability to manage our precious water resources.
Thank you, we have your back.