RETRN

CAUSE NO. 18-6796-393
JOHN T. THORNGREN
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IN THE DISTRICT COURT
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v.
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OF DENTON COUNTY, TEXAS
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DENTON CENTRAL APPRAISAL DISTRICT §
393RD JUDICIAL DISTRICT
PLAINTIFF’S FIRST AMENDED PETITION AND REQUEST FOR DECLARATION
JOHN T. THORNGREN, INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS OWNER OF PROPERTY LOCATED
AT 203 GOTCHER, LAKE DALLAS, TEXAS 75065, DENTON COUNTY and for cause of
action would respectfully show the court as follows:
I. DISCOVERY CONTROL PLAN
1.1 Pursuant to Tex. R. Civ. P. 190.4, plaintiff moves the court for a Level 1 Discovery
Control Plan.
II. PARTIES
2.1 Plaintiff is a Texas resident in Denton County residing at 514 N. Garza, Shady
Shores, Texas 76208. Plaintiff’s mailing address is P.O. Box 718, Lake Dallas, Texas 75065.
2.2 Denton Central Appraisal District is a governmental entity located at 3911 Morse
Street, Denton, TX 76208.
III. VENUE AND JURISDICTION
3.1 Venue is proper in Denton County, Texas under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies
Code § 15.002(a) (1-3) because all or a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to
the claims made in the basis of this lawsuit occurred in Denton County, Texas, and because the
Defendant resides and operates in Denton County.
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IV. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
4.1 On June 6, 2018 the Appraisal Revue Board, hereinafter referred to as ARB, for the
Denton Central Appraisal District, hereinafter referred to as DCAD, ruled to uphold a market
value for land of $ 94, 129 on a vacant lot owned by the Plaintiff at 203 Gotcher, Lake Dallas,
Texas, Denton County, and said 2018 market value increased last year’s market value by
$ 52,729 from its value in 2017 of $ 41,400 to a new total of $ 94,129, more than doubling its
appraised value and subsequent tax liability.
4.2 The property noted in 4.1 is located in the City of Lake Dallas, is an approximate
3/4 acre lot, zoned residential, bordering the Lake Dallas Park and Library, is a tree shaded with
6 mature pecan trees and over a dozen other large oaks, and has a deep water well.
4.3 The $ 41,400 market value established for last year, 2017, was determined from an
Arbitration Case in 2016 where plaintiff was awarded some relief based upon evidence showing
the DCAD used incorrect comparable sales data from a distinctly different area far removed
from 203 Gotcher and also showed DCAD displayed lower values for identical property across
the street from 203 Gotcher, herein noted as 206 Gotcher, as well as that for a family trust on
commercial property at the intersection of Swisher and North Shady Shores Road in Lake Dallas
noted as 502 North Shady Shores Drive as well as five more properties adjoining 502 North
Shady Shores Drive.
4.4 In March, 2016, the DCAD changed the appraisal formula for land on Gotcher Street.
The property across the street from 203 Gotcher as noted in 4.2 as 206 Gotcher saw its appraisal
jump from $ 50,000 to $ 83, 817. Note that this total increase represents a jump in the land
from $ 40,800 to $ 50,000, and the house from $9,200 to $ 21,417. However, by 11/9/2016, that
same year, this total increase was reduced to $62,470. This total decrease represents a return to
the 2015 land value and a reduction in the house to an appraised value of $ 340.00. The house at
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that time was being rented, and all of this was presented to the DCAD in the arbitration case
noted in 4.3, and DCAD did not made any corrections to the $ 340 appraised house which still
has approximately the same value in 2018 and has been remodeled and apparently rented.
4.5 For 502 North Shady Shores Drive noted in 4.3, there is a well-kept brick house on
the property appraised at only $ 4.00. It too was rented at the time of said arbitration case and
the DCAD was aware of this irregularity through said arbitration case, but after said case was
culminated, quickly became vacant. The $ 4.00 appraisal for the house and a value of $ 1.00/ft2
have been unchanged since 2015.
4.6 The property at 502 North Shady Shores Drive has been assessed by the DCAD in
2018 at a total of $ 88,696. This assessed value has essentially remained unchanged since 2015.
4.7 There are approximately 23 acres at 502 North Shady Shores Drive with a low
assessed value because of Agricultural Exemption. Plaintiff does not begrudge the agricultural
exemption but can not discern any farming operation other than growing weeds. It is noted that
this large tract of commercial land is assessed at a lower value than that for Plaintiff’s property.
4.8 The property at 502 North Shady Shores Drive is on the corner of possibly the busiest
intersection in Lake Dallas. North Shady Shores Drive is the only back road connecting the city
of Lake Dallas to two of the other Lake Cities known as Corinth and Shady Shores. Swisher
Road, a busy four-lane street, intersects North Shady Shores Drive, runs east-west along the
longest side of 502 North Shady Shores Drive and connects Interstate 35E with the new Lake
Lewisville Toll Bridge. Said property is in the approximate middle of this fast-developing
corridor on Swisher, about four tenths of a mile equidistant between the new bridge and
Interstate 35E.
4.9 Gotcher is a one block long street given the neighborhood name, Gotcher Addition.
There are 3 vacant lots, 5 businesses, 7 residential houses, the American Legion, a Bar and a
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park; but the DCAD in 2018 arbitrarily decided that Gotcher Addition was Commercia in
Transition and appraised all market values for land (except corners) at $ 3.00/sq ft regardless of
current zoning, regardless of lot size, and regardless of the fact that there have been NO
commercial changes in Gotcher Addition for at least four (4) years, said only commercial change
being the conversion of an old house at 111 Gotcher in 2014.
4.10 The $ 3.00/ft2 blanket noted by the DCAD in 4.9 was NOT applied to 206 Gotcher
across the street from Plaintiffs property. The 206 Gotcher land was appraised at
$ 1.80/ft2 in 2018.
4.11 The house noted in 4.3 was appraised at only $ 340.00 and noted in said Arbitration
Case as being rented. This irregularity was divulged to the DCAD in that case. They made no
corrections. The $ 340 value was increased to $ 348 in 2017. In 2018, the house was remodeled
and appears to be rented. Surprisingly, the house value was reduced to $ 306.00. In essence, 206
Gotcher gets a $ 62,406 appraised value for a lot similar in size to Plaintiff’s and has a rental
house on it.
4.12 The owner of 206 Gotcher across the street from Plaintiff has obtained a zoning
change to a Subdivision. According to 4.9, this is inconsistent with the DCAD’s blanket rate that
Gotcher is Commercial in Transition.
4.13 The Subdivision noted in 4.12 has approved provisions from the city of Lake Dallas
to accommodate thirteen Tiny Homes. These are not Tiny Homes on foundations; these are
Tiny Homes on wheels, AKA Gypsy Homes. Plaintiff strongly feels that such a “Subdivision”
will degrade the value of his property.
4.14 In the ARB Hearing on June 7, 2018, it is noted that DCAD presented four
comparable sales for residential land from distinctly different neighborhoods, the same
incongruous approach as noted in 4.3. One of these comparable sales is on Sargent, the same
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street in the Arbitration Case of 2016 (see 4.3). All of these four properties are in neighborhoods
with brick construction and in entirely different class than the plank houses in Gotcher Addition.
4.15 One of the comparable sales at 510 Ridgewood was noted by the DCAD in the
ARB Hearing (see 4.14) is noted at $ 4.00/ft2. This property is in Oak Lakes Subdivision having
North Shady Shores Drive for its eastern boundary. Directly across North Shady Shores Drive
from Oak Lakes Subdivision are five lots with brick homes in a row next to 502 North Shady
Shores Drive, that commercial property appraised at $ 1.00/ft2. The same family trust, or
relatives thereof, owning 502 North Shady Shores Drive also own all these five homes and lots,
and their land is likewise appraised at $ 1.00/ft2. This irregularity was noted in 4.3. These
$ 1.00/ft2 values have not changed since 2015. Further, the land for the homes across the street
(North Shady Shores Drive) is predominately appraised at $ 4.25/ft2 in 2018.
4.16 Plaintiff has statistically determined the DCAD’s predictive methods for the Market
Value of vacant land are terribly incorrect resulting in a severe potential tax loss to the Lake
Dallas Independent School District in which plaintiff’s property is located, and plaintiff has filed
a formal protest for an audit with the Texas State Comptroller’s Office on July 30, 2018. It is
noted in this report that the maximum ratio of predicted market value of land to sales prices can
be as high as 3.689 per the DCAD’s own admission. This would result in a predicted value for
Plaintiff’s property of
$3.00/3.6985 = $ 0.81/ft2.
V. CLAIM FOR RELIEF
5.1 Plaintiff seeks a judgement from the Court to require the DCAD to accept an
Appraised Value for 203 Gotcher in 2018, hopefully around $ 1.00/ft2 ($31376.27 total) but at
whatever value the Court deems fair. This nominal $ 1.00/ft2 requested is based upon the
average of the values noted in 4.5 & 4.15 ($ 1.00/ft2), 4.16 ($ 0.81/ft2), and 4.10 (1.80/ft2 x a .7
degradation factor from 4.13).
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VI. PRAYER
6.1
Plaintiff is a concerned citizen, in poor health, of modest means, but nonetheless
trying through the courts to correct irregularities noted between the City of Lake Dallas and the
Defendant on the property noted as 203 Gotcher. Plaintiff seeks no remuneration for court costs,
attorney’s fees, or expenses from Defendant, only a reduction in appraised value for the property
so noted. Further, Plaintiff respectfully reminds the court that there is no obligation per Texas
Rule of Civil Procedure 91a.7 to penalize Plaintiff with Defendant’s court costs, attorneys fees,
and expenses and prays such consideration not to do so. Plaintiff also prays for the court to
allow media to be present at trial.
VII. REQUEST FOR DISCLOSURE
7.1 Pursuant to Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 194.1, the Defendant, Denton Central
Appraisal District, is hereby requested to disclose the information or materials described in
Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 194.2 (a)-(i) and 194.2(l). Said disclosures shall be due no later
than 30 days after service of this request and shall be transmitted to the Plaintiff as noted below.
REPRESENTATION FOR THE PLAINTIFF - PRO SE
PLAINTIFF ______________________________
JOHN T. THORNGREN
MAIL: P.O. Box 718
Lake Dallas, Texas 75065
9/18/2018
Tel: 940-497-0133
E-Mail: TEXANDcorp@Charter.net
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