In this month’s letter, we’ll cover part Part
2 of the Cypress Forest PUD and Raveneaux deal.
For Part 1
read the March 2014
With constable directing traffic, cars parked
on Landau Park Lane, Kroger’s and Klein Funeral
Home besides filling our parking lot, as
neighbors and media came to hear Kera’s
Development plan for Raveneaux. The
narrative began that Raveneaux is an asset for
our community and how their plan would bring
greater benefits to our community.
The plan called for 3 phases of development
approximately 48 acres with the first being 3
story brownstones along Cypresswood from
Champion Drive to the Temple’s property.
The property would be walled and gated.
Kera proposed to the PUD that we annex the land,
provide sewer and water utilities and reimburse
them for their cost of installing the utilities,
estimated at $6,200,000. The room was
buzzing. Kera decided to approach
Kleinwood with their deal, since they weren’t
convinced the Cypress Forest PUD saw them as the
White Knight rescuing Raveneaux, as they saw
The Kleinwood Utility District meets Kera’s
demands and hopefully the future tax base will
justify their risk. Kleinwood’s downside
was minimal, even if the development flopped;
whereas for Cypress Forest, the risk was immense
since the development will occur in the heart of
our community along Cypresswood.
Our lawyer’s opinion was there was nothing we
could do to stop the deal. Economically
and legally, it is private property, so
Raveneaux could do what they wanted as long as
they were granted the permits.
An independent appraiser rated Raveneaux’s
highest value potential was high density
residential, exactly what Kera was planning.
Additionally, three other golf courses in the
Houston area were facing similar circumstances,
selling off land for development. Each
would be shuttered for a long period of time and
only one would ever reopen as a golf course.
The Directors recognized Raveneaux as a key
asset to community with its open space and its
manicured golf course but was divided on how to
bring the deal back. Some wanted to
work with Raveneaux and Kleinwood on the deal,
while others felt over our dead bodies would we
A plan was developed. First, a petition
to register neighbors against the development
called “SOS,” Save Our Sponge. The signers
feared the loss of our floodplain to the
development would increase our risk of flooding
to our neighborhood. The petition was presented
to the County Commissioner. Second, begin
negotiations to buy land along the complex for a
trail to buffer ourselves from the development.
If they didn’t want us, we didn’t want them.
Third, gradually build a relationship with the
Raveneaux’s owners that we would be a better
partner in the long run.
Cypress Forest considers purchasing the land.
Our lawyer says we can’t own a golf course.
We argue we not buying a golf course, we’re
buying the land beneath it, but our lawyer keeps
insisting we can’t operate a golf course.
So, instead buy the land and lease it back long
term for someone else to operate. Is it
doable? We would need the TCEQ, our utility
regulator’s approval, and then the State’s
Attorney General OK. It was never done in
While working on the buffer trail, we learned
that the PUD, not only has an easement on
Champion Gully, but actual ownership of a
small strip of land along the Gully that
basically splits Raveneaux’s land in two.
This was the game changer in the negotiations.
A Raveneaux’s spokesman voiced this would add a
$1,000,000 to their cost if they working without
At one meeting a resident said, “giving
Raveneaux annexation without restrictions would
be like giving a teenager keys to the car,
without knowing who he’s with or where he’s
going or when he’s returning. “ The deal must
restrict the builder in quantity of units, size
of units and average costs of units to protect
our quality of life.
Cypress Forest PUD will pay cash $5,600,000
for land, annex the property and reimburse only
$1,430,000 and will receive the deed for 258
acres, building restrictions and the generated
tax base. The developer up fronts the
utilities' costs and later is reimbursed by the
utility district after a tax base is generated.
Recall the original reimbursement of $6.2 M, but
the smaller footprint reduces the cost
significantly. Raveneaux will retain ownership
of 27 acres, receives utilities, annexation and
reimbursement plus the cash.
Sept. 2, 2008 Raveneaux Redevelopment
Agreement between Cypress Forest Public Utility
District and JP Raveneaux Partners LP and Kera
Development, L.P., entered into.
Nov. 13, 2008 The Board adopted the Order
Canvassing Returns and Declaring Results of Park
Bond Election and Operation and Maintenance Tax
Election held November 4, 2008.
Results: 991 votes were cast for and
243 votes were cast against issuance of bonds,
notes, or other obligations for the acquisition
of land for park and recreational facilities and
the levy of taxes in payment of the bonds,
notes, or other obligations; 982 votes were cast
for and 251 votes were cast against the issuance
of bonds, notes, or other obligations for the
development and maintenance of recreational
facilities and the levy of taxes in payment of
the bonds, notes, or other obligations; and 999
votes were cast for and 237 votes were cast
against the use of the District’s operation and
maintenance tax for parks and recreational
facilities. Director Petrick thanked the
citizens and the judges for their participation
in the election. The Board concurred that
the election has resulted in favor of the
following: the issuance of $6,200,000 in
bonds, notes, or other obligations of the
District for the acquisition of land for park
and recreational facilities, payable from taxes,
on the terms and conditions described in
Proposition I voted in the election; the
issuance of $2,000,000 in bonds, notes, or other
obligations of the District for the development
and maintenance of recreational facilities,
payable from taxes, on the terms and conditions
described in Proposition II voted in the
election; and the use of the District’s existing
operation and maintenance tax for parks and
recreational facilities as well as for operation
and maintenance purposes and for any lawful
purpose in accordance with the January 15, 1977,
operation and maintenance tax election.
Next month the fight to seal the deal.