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Once deemed ‘illegal,’ subdivision now up to standard and approved

Prairie Acres on Burnet-Williamson county line

Prairie Acres, a subdivision on the Burnet-Williamson county line, was given final plat approval by Burnet County commissioners after nearly two years of back-and-forth with the developer on the legality of the subdivision’s creation. Courtesy photo

A Burnet County subdivision reached final approval after nearly two years of back-and-forth between county officials, the developer, and outraged property owners waiting to build. Final approval for Prairie Acres on the Burnet-Williamson county line came during the Burnet County Commissioners Court’s meeting on June 27.

“This (final plat approval) has been two years in the making, using the statutes to hold (the developer) to the rules,” said Commissioner Damon Beierle, who represents Precinct 2, home to most of the 247-acre subdivision. “(The developer) has worked extra hard with everybody to make sure that we get this right.”

The subdivision was initially deemed illegal when developer Brad Parker and real estate agent Jerry Seay sold 19 lots of about 11 acres each without an approved plat, despite clear legal requirements to do so. 

In November 2021, lawsuits were threatened by both the county and landowners who unknowingly bought land in an unapproved subdivision. Caught in the middle of the power struggle between the county and the developer, all 19 landowners can now obtain 9-1-1 addresses, install septic systems, acquire adequate electricity, and move forward with construction. 

Burnet County commissioners Damon Beierle and Joe Don Dockery
Burnet County Commissioner Joe Don Dockery looks over the final plat of the Prairie Acres subdivision. The Commissioners Court approved the final plat after nearly two years of negotiations over state and county requirements. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Beierle told that Parker and Seay were aware of the law before they proceeded with their project in 2021.

“We told them the rules. They told us we were wrong and did it anyway,” he said.

The main issue was the installation of a road on the property for the explicit use of the subdivision’s residents. Normally, the county would have little say in how land is used if the lots are over 10 acres, according to Section 232.0015 (f) (1) of Texas Local Government Code. That law does not apply if a road is installed for communal use. 

Beierle explained that if a road has no clear owner, then it can easily fall into disrepair with nobody being held responsible because it is used by everyone. Ultimately, the road was built by the developer up to county and state standards, and all 19 landowners signed a road maintenance agreement that would spread the cost of maintaining it among them.

“(The developer) came into compliance the way it was supposed to be,” Beierle said. “(Parker) did all the things he would have to do, just in reverse order.”