Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dripping: Sequence of events and opposition to the proposed Cypress Creek at Ledge Stone Apartments

Many people are expressing opposition to the project, but their actions indicate that many seem to expect others to step forward and demonstrate the opposition. If that attitude prevails, then we all will probably have to live with the results of having a low income housing project in our midst

( * Poll top left column: Development – Right direction, wrong direction? )

Photo Courtesy Cypress Creek at Ledge Stone website
Note: Here's a belated update from D.S. Our Backyard Our Future on the dealings between the City of Dripping Springs and developer Stuart Shaw (Bonner Carrington) who wants to build a 244-unit Cypress Creek at Ledge Stone apartment project in Dripping Springs. DS Our Backyard opposes the project because, they say, it will place an undue burden on the school system and taxpayers. One of the biggest bones of contention has been that, somehow, the project will avoid paying its fair share in property taxes. Last we heard, the apartment project – if and when the city council gives its approval – will need the blessing of County Judge Bert Cobb in order to make it to home plate. Cypress Creek Ledge Stone has recently added updates to its own website with answers to frequently asked questions about its Dripping project, including answers to where its water supply will come from and its impact on the school district. In an open letter to Dripping Springs "neighbors and stakeholders," Mr. Shaw says concerns by residents over tax avoidances have been resolved. "We are seeking NO ad valorem tax exemption and will pay all our taxes in full," Shaw said. "Let me be clear, we are seeking no tax breaks of any kind from the community."

This has been an interesting case study in community grassroots organizing in opposition to perceived unsustainable development projects in the face of mounting pressures from rapid growth in the region. According to Ledge Stone (see the FAQ link above), water to the apartment project will be supplied by the (formerly LCRA-owned) West Travis Regional water system, of which Hays County has a big stake, and a big need to generate revenue via the Hwy 290 water line recently acquired by the county. Pct. 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant (left) sits on the board of the West Travis Regional water system. The county needs many more retail customers, and revenue, to keep the system viable. So it's easy to imagine the deck could be stacked and this deal will ultimately get the appropriate approvals, it's just a matter of the right timing and lining up a few more face cards.

Send your comments and questions to DS Our Backyard, to Teresa Scott at, to Ledge Stone, to the City of Dripping Springs at (512.858.4725), to County Judge Bert Cobb at, to Pct. 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant at (512.858.7605), or click on the "comments" at the bottom of the report

'No justification for city council to allow the project to be built'

Contributed by Mark, a resident of Ledgestone. Posted by Teresa Scott
at D.S. Our Backyard Our Future.

(Friday June 15) –
Stuart Shaw submitted his first Developer's Agreement (DA) to Dripping Springs on or about May 4. It was incomplete and missing all relevant information needed for the Dripping Springs Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council to reach any recommendation or decision, so it was totally invalid. So what was his motivation in submitting an invalid agreement to the city? Was it to meet some mandatory deadline that none of us were aware of? Possibly, but we just don't know. If it was to meet a deadline, the deadline wasn't met merely by submission of an incomplete and invalid agreement. But let's let that go for the time being and move on.

Mr. Shaw submitted his second Developer's Agreement to Dripping Springs on or about 24 May with the required attachments containing the technical information about the project. The attachments reveal that Mr. Shaw is requesting exceptions to the current 6 ft. "cut and fill" limits. He is requesting multiple variances so his company can cut and fill up to 16 feet in various areas of the project. This is not "slightly over" the standards set by the Dripping Springs city council, but far in excess of them.

Mr. Shaw submitted the PILOT proposal to Dripping Springs on 6 June. As I read it, there is no way for the city to enforce the proposed PILOT payments should Mr. Shaw simply chose not to pay them for whatever reasons. And if you examine his business model and his actual record of none to next to nothing PILOT payments to other communities where he has built these projects, one comes to the conclusion that the probability of his making any payments to the Dripping Springs community is slim to none.

Shaw, right, with Amarillo Mayor
Debra McCartt at ribbon cutting
of new apartment project
, April 2010

As for Mr. Shaw claiming to drop the PILOT proposal and make "full ad valorem tax" payments on his project, I believe he never intended to do that. Even as he was making his public statement to the DSISD board on 17 May, he was talking with people about doing the PILOT program instead because "it would benefit the community much more than paying taxes." His words. It appears his intent is still to apply for the tax exempt and 4% tax credit financing through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) with funding provided by a qualified Housing Finance Corporation (HFC). The original HFC, Capital Area Housing and Finance Corporation (CAHFC), appears to have temporarily withdrawn from this project. However, there are other HFC's that Mr. Shaw could obtain this tax exempt financing through, and it is possible that CAHFC could step back in if necessary. If the special tax exempt financing is granted, I believe the state sanctioned tax exemption would be a higher authority than any PILOT agreement signed with a local community and allow Mr. Shaw to withhold any payments.

This is something the Dripping Springs city attorney should be charged with completely investigating and rendering a legal opinion upon. If the attorney isn't tasked by the city council to do so, then I don't believe the city will have conducted its proper due diligence before voting on a proposal that will have multiple adverse impacts on the surrounding areas.

To sum things up, I will state my opinion, which is solely my opinion. I have concluded that Mr. Shaw's proposed low to moderate income apartment project is blatantly out of place, unneeded, misrepresented, places a large burden on the already highly financially stressed DSISD, is devoid of any benefit to low income people who work in Dripping Springs and would like to live in Dripping Springs (as opposed to living out on the Hays/Travis county line), is targeted to attract mostly people who live and work in Austin and Travis county, adversely impacts the property values of the home owners in the immediate vicinity (ask any realtor), increases the occurrences of social disturbances in the area (ask any police officer), and places a higher burden on the police and emergency services without the supporting taxes that all homeowners and businesses are required to pay.

I see absolutely no justification for the city council of Drippings Springs to allow it to be built.

Many people have expressed opposition to this project. However, the extent of the opposition must be clearly demonstrated to the Dripping Springs city council. We must be present in large numbers at the appropriate public meetings of both the planning and zoning commission and the city council to express the magnitude of the public opposition. If this doesn't happen, the council members might possibly succumb to arguments and pressures from the small number of special interests who stand to benefit if the project were to be approved.

Many people are expressing opposition to the project, but their actions indicate that many seem to expect others to step forward and demonstrate the opposition. If that attitude prevails, then we all will probably have to live with the results of having a low income housing project in our midst.


Anonymous said...

As to the comments by the author of the article who said the following about the housing: targeted to attract mostly people who live and work in Austin and Travis county,

So what.

adversely impacts the property values of the home owners in the immediate vicinity (ask any realtor),

you have no entitlement to having "property values" being held at any particular level. If they go down, great - less you pay in property taxes.

If you don't like it then you can purchase the development site from the owner of the site. You aren't entitled for everything to "stay the way it is" so long as it is convenient for you.

increases the occurrences of social disturbances in the area (ask any police officer), and

Puhlease. The biggest social disturbance is being caused by those NIMBY folks who think their backyards extends over the property of others.

places a higher burden on the police and emergency services without the supporting taxes that all homeowners and businesses are required to pay

The business that will be paying the taxes will be the owner of the apartments who will still have to pay ad valorem taxes.

Vive le difference said...

I have a great deal of respect for people like Mark and Teresa Scott. They stand up for their convictions and act rather than let the mostly corrupt decision making process of public officials in charge go unchallenged.

cannot believe my eyes said...

Dear neighbors,

If there is anything the Dripping Springs and Wimberley areas both need, it is affordable housing.

I am saddened to hear the tone of this message, and wonder how it has come to pass. If this development is done in a sustainable manner, with sturdy construction and decent landscaping and amenities, there is no reason to suspect it will degrade Dripping Springs.

Just because someone does not have as much money as you do does not make them a bad person.

Didn't your Mother teach you this? Didn't your church...or you conscience?

Please, stop putting down this development based solely on whether it is intended to house working class folks. That is disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

To Can't believe my eyes: Welcome to Hays County politics. You should not be so worried. I totally believe the deck is favor of the project. You will get your affordable housing.

The whole reason the county bought into West Travis water system was to provide cheap water for pent up development.

And I totally believe the apartment project will never pay its way in taxes to cover the costs and problems it will create for Dripping Springs. Anybody who says different is flat out lying.

Anonymous said...

The Wimberley-Dripping Springs area may need low cost housing BUT there are very few jobs here. And the ones that are here are low paying.And there is no public transportation. Good luck with the car, insurance and gas they'll need to drive to Austin for work. The taxes this place will pay will never make up for the infrastructure if will need.Kick

Anonymous said...

anon at 12:57

Please tell me what this project will cost Dripping Springs? It is in the ETJ not the city. DS will provide no sewer, no water, no police or fire protection, no electric, no roads.

All Dripping Springs will provide, is being a royal pain in the Butt. Anyone who says any different is the one lying.

Barbara Hopson said...

I don't think most people are concerned about the proposed Cypress Creek at Ledge Stone development because of the low-wage earners who will live there; most people are concerned about the cost to taxpayers already in DSISD to finance Bonner Carrington's (Stuart Shaw's) project. Shaw has been very cagey about how he words his pronouncements on paying taxes. He says he "will pay all our taxes in full," knowing full well that the deal he gets from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) will guarantee him low to no taxes to pay to DSISD. The PILOT program he once proposed (maybe still?) is an even worse rip-off of taxpayers. (PILOT stands for Payment in Lieu of Taxes.)

Again -- as with TCEQ -- we have a state agency charged with protecting the public, but in truth favoring developers over ordinary citizens. The problem is that our State Legislature passes laws and creates "Districts" that give land owners and developers carte blanche. Until our Lege stops
creating laws that do that, the developers will have a free hand because "it's the law."

Time and again on this blog, people have pointed out that development NEVER pays its way. Several recent books have detailed this fact. We've been sold a bill of goods by our State, County, and City governments and Chambers of Commerce. Development justs passes on its expenses to the taxpayers already living in an area, sometimes causing people to leave their homes because they can no longer afford the added taxation.

There have been several articles in the Austin American-Statesman about this lately. The City Council there is wrestling with whether to do away with all tax abatements and reductions (except those legitimized by the Lege, of course). Many Austinites were outraged that the city lured the Formula One billionaire to Austin by giving him enormous tax breaks and outright gifts of money for years into the future. Please don't give me that tired and incorrect argument that the new business and jobs generated by the race track will repay citizens. They will not begin to make a dent in the debt of hundreds of millions of dollars. And the few jobs created will be minimum wage
chores such as sweeping up and directing the thousands of cars where to park. The better jobs will go to people already on the billionaire's staff.

Bonner Carrington has an 80-unit project planned behind Brookshire Brothers, and so Wimberley beware.

By the way, have you heard one peep from Wimberley City Council
about their welcoming this project?

Anonymous said...

to Anon July 6, 3:46 PM--

The CCLS project is in DSISD. There will be 244 units with MANY children in them. DSISD will have to build more schools and hire more
teachers to educate those kids.

Meanwhile, Bonner Carrington skates on having to pay a fair amount of taxes to help pay for the
kids he's bringing into DSISD.

DSISD is already in dire financial straits, and these added children will be the straws that break the camel's back. DSISD already has been laying off teachers and other staff, and the DSISD tax rate is
already the highest in the area.

Do you honestly believe it's wise
to encourage a large development -- that will pay greatly-reduced taxes -- to locate in DSISD? Do YOU want to pay the taxes Bonner Carrington won't?

Anonymous said...

It will be a debacle. Period. I will vote against anyone who supports it, and urge everyone I know and talk with to do the same.

Anonymous said...

anon 5:06

If they paid "greatly-reduced" taxes I would be against it. But the latest I heard they were going to pay fair market value, as set by Hays CAD. This is the same as you or I pay on our homes. Since more than a few units will be empty-nesters with no children in DSISD, I would think the schools will do fine.

The Ledgestone property was set up as a master planned community with res. and commercial real estate. The exact same thing will happen at Belterra at some point(only much larger). I can't wait to goto Target or PetCo in Hays County and quit wasting my money in Travis Co.

tom's uncle said...

Liberals--they love equal rights and diversity, just not in their back yard.

Anonymous said...

To cannot believe my eyes (aka tom's uncle):

The problem is not with the people who will live in Cypress Creek at Ledge Stone; it's with Texas laws which offer, and developers who take, tax abatements.

Bonner Carrington is locating many additional children in DSISD, and DSISD will have to build schools for them, hire teachers, buy football and basketball regalia for, provide busses and bus drivers for, etc.

But the developer is wriggling out of any obligation to pay his fair
share of ad valorem property taxes
on his project -- with the blessing of the Legislature.

You try to make this issue a matter of race or class, but it's simply a matter of tax fairness.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:45 PM--

Believe me, Stuart Shaw WILL pay greatly-reduced ad valorem property taxes, thanks to the Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs. That's not fair to other taxpayers.

And the people in the 200+ units of CCLS won't be paying property tax, either. You and your neighbors are going to make up the shortfall in the DSISD budget.

You might also consider that not many empty-nesters will locate at CCLS because there is no public transportation to/from there, and elders don't usually enjoy hearing the squalls of children.

The residents won't add any sales tax to the treasury of the City of Dripping Springs because it's closer for them to go to HEB and restaurants in Austin than to drive to DS. Also more variety of things to buy. And Austin is where their doctors and dentists are.

Exactly how do you think this project will be good for DSISD and the City of Dripping Springs?

cannot believe my eyes said...

Protest all you want about the tax and development issue, just don't make this about "low-income" people.

New residents should indeed help pay for the schools and other infrastructure.

We do need more affordable housing, though. No everyone can live in a house (or wants to), and these hill country communities need some housing options.

The developer should pay his own way, and the people who move here should contribute to the school system.

p.s. I am not tom's uncle.

Barbara Hopson said...

A Wimberley citizen recently had an interesting conversation with the Tax Assessor-Collector of Potter County (Amarillo). The tax collector told her that Amarillo now has 7 TDHCA-funded housing projects, with more on the way.

Amarillo -- like other cities around Texas -- is waking up to the fact that these TDHCA projects give large tax breaks to the developers (e.g., Bonner Carrington) at the expense of other citizens and businesses in the area. For example, Kyle turned down a BC project recently.

At at time when the Texas Legislature is derelict in its funding of education, it is crucial that school districts not be deprived of the revenue these housing projects should be paying in property taxes.

Anonymous said...

To cannot believe my eyes:

It's all very well and good to say that "people who move here should contribute to the school system," but how are you going to make that happen?

Renters don't pay property taxes. Yes, I know, supposedly the property taxes get passed on to the renter in the form of higher rents, but in TDHCA projects the rents are kept artificially low, and the tax is NOT passed on to them.

Net result: neither the developer nor the residents of the project will pay even close to their fair share of property taxes. All the rest of the citizens of the ISD have to make up the difference.

Anonymous said...

See and search for "Cypress Creek at Lakeline"(another Bonner Carrington
project) in Cedar Park, TX.

On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best), residents gave that complex these ratings:

Construction 3.0
Noise 2.6
Safety 3.0
Parking 2.6
Office Staff 2.6

Livid said...

If you go to the official website ( the Cypress Creek at Ledge Stone project (CCLS), there on the home page -- highlighted in blue -- is the announcement "Important Update: Tax Exemption Issue Solved."

The "update" isn't dated, and so we don't know how current the info is. The update is signed by Stuart Shaw, president of Bonner Carrington, the developer of multi-family (Cypress Creek) and senior (Mariposa)subdivisions in Texas.

One statement from Shaw's update is "Let me be clear, we are seeking no tax breaks of any kind from the community." This statement is classic lying by omission. Right, Shaw ISN'T seeking tax breaks from Dripping Springs - he's seeking, and getting, them from the Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs!

Not only that, Shaw truly hopes to have DSISD agree to PILOT payments instead of traditional tax payments annually. PILOT means he would pay lower taxes up front, just when DSISD would most need the revenue to provide for Shaw's added school children. Shaw would also pay less tax that way. Period.

(Rule of Thumb: If a developer prefers one method over another method, you can be sure his choice more thoroughly screws the public.)

To learn more about PILOT, google "Payment in lieu of taxes Texas."

Stuart Shaw is an "Aw,shucks" guy who is out to fleece us "rubes."

Anonymous said...

And don't forget that CCLS will be getting its water from beleaguered Lake Travis. 244 more families sticking straws into that dwindling source.

They are in line ahead of DS on the West Travis County Public Utility pipeline.

Anonymous said...

Well those claiming it's an issue of "tax fairness" are just covering up for their class discrimination.

The property will be commercial property even though the business is residential housing. The "Robin Hood" plan is alive and well here. What makes you think that a penny of any additional tax revenue from this project would actually be spent within the DSISD?

As far as infrastructure, US 290 is being expanded between Austin and even west of Dripping Springs - for everyone, not just residents of Hays County or Travis County. LCRA put in water lines down 290 years ago. So significant infrastructure is already being implemented irrespective of whether this project comes online. Moreover, none of this was paid for with Dripping Springs or DSISD tax dollars. So what's your real complaint aside from having a bias against renters and children?

Anonymous said...

Given Ms. Scott's email address, perhaps her real concern is competition. Does she fear an environment where residents can get choose housing without paying real estate agent and broker commissions? If this was an issue about schools and water, did she protest when Ledge Stone went in to begin with?

Anonymous said...

Bonner Carrington has faced opposition to its projects before (not approved in Kyle, not approved in League City), and so they are ready with a battle plan to combat opponents of their plans.

First of all, they have a staff which addresses questions about projects through their website. The answers give only the info they want the public to know, of course. I never received an answer to the one question I asked them.

Secondly, they use "Anonymous" posters on blogs such as this to create diversions. Most notably, they are now trying (mistakenly)to label opponents as being racist or against people of low income. They want us to focus our energy on debunking that notion.

CCLS is bad because it unfairly burdens taxpayers already in DSISD while letting the developer get away with paying little or nothing in ad valorem property taxes.

It IS a matter of tax fairness -- not about the nature of the people who might become residents of CCLS.

Anonymous said...

to Anonymous 7:56 PM:

Our "real" complaint -- as it always has been -- is that CCLS will foist new taxes onto DSISD residents without paying much in taxes itself.

Anonymous said...

@anon 8:06 pm

People can already "choose housing without paying real estate agent and broker commissions."

You're beating a dead horse, CCLS hack.

Speaking of WTCPUA said...

The West Travis County Public Utility Agency (WTCPUA), successor to the LCRA 290 pipeline and various plants, has a website where you can learn more about them.

There will be two Board meetings of WTCPUA in July, at 10 a.m. on July 12 and 26. At Bee Cave City Hall, 4000 Galleria Parkway, Bee Cave, TX. Agendas for those two meetings are not yet online.

WTCPUA will have to build a $12 million wastewater plant at Bee Cave ASAP. Supposedly WTCPUA ratepayers will pay for it.

There is a FAQs section on the website.

cannot believe my eyes said...

I have no connection with this, or any, developer.

The original poster, Ms. Scott, just used the term "low-income" too much for my taste and in a way that made it sound very biased and prejudicial.

I am nobody's shill. I just know that our hill country communities need more affordable housing. My preference would be small houses, not a big apartment complex like this one. Not at all, not my style.

I would love to see someone build small houses on decent-sized lots so that people could enjoy the quiet of where they live. Why move to "the country" only to live in a noisy beehive?

And I am very interested in making sure our public school system is well-funded by all our citizens, not just those with kids in school.

Although I never had kids, I see the real benefit to an educated citizenry. And a healthy one. And one with transportation options, not just the same old car model we have been using. We need more public transportation and maybe a shift to golf carts for short trips. Why not? Reduce the oil, clean up the air and it would all be cheaper, too.

Just so you know said...

I believe there are only 2 PUAs in Hays County: Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency & West Travis County PUA. Each one is composed of cities and water companies which intend to supply water and wastewater treatment to a defined area.

How are they financed? In the planning stages of HCPUA (been around years longer than WTCPUA), the cities and water companies paid assessments to the entity. Ultimately the PUA will be kept going by money from revenue bonds which will be paid by fees charged to the end users (customers) of the water.

HCPUA, on its website, disingenuously states that it "May Not Impose a Tax." They conveniently neglect to mention, though, that they can issue bonds, which must be repaid with interest.

Through 2018 the participants in HCPUA will share water sources. When the actual 45-mile pipeline from points east begins, water/wastewater rates for HCPUA customers will skyrocket. We're talking about an extremely expensive project here.

Rates in WTCPUA will rise fantastically, too, despite Commissioner Ray Whisenant's attempts to dampen them. Plus, there is no certainty that any water will be flowing through the 290 pipeline to DS in a few years;
Lake Travis already is under strain to furnish water to all its users.

ALL water in Texas will be vastly more expensive in the future because practially all surface water is permitted, and groundwater will be expensive to send through pipelines to distant locations.

Hello, future.

Anonymous said...

Time to build HUGE Rainwater Collections Systems! Such as Reservoirs. Jake Pickle had a suggestion. Lake Wimberley has a nice ring to it and it would have the added benefit of recharging the aquifer by placing 200' of water above Jacobs Well. Don't worry, In 100 years nobody would remember the well anyway. Take a lot of good Pictures.

Anonymous said...

Time for EACH HOME to have a rainwater collection system!

Reservoirs (Canyon Lake, the Highland Lakes) are huge evaporation ponds. Besides, if there is no rain, what's there to store?

Off-stream underground reservoirs are expensive to build, but they experience far less evaporation than open reservoir lakes.

Anonymous said...

Boy howdy if these apartments are going bring more low wage earners and their attitudes, you can count me out. Can't we do better?

Anonymous said...

Offstream Underground Reservoirs are called Aquifers, Where do you think the water comes from to fill the homeowners rainwater tanks during a drought? Oh, That would be the Aquifer! Thank God the People of this state had the Testicular Fortitude to build Reservoirs in the earlier part of the century. They were not worried about the decimation of the Human Race versue the decimation of a some Snail or Warbler or Dinosaurs (Oh, Sorry, the Sierra Club wasn't around to save them). Humans need to remember that we are at the top of the Food Chain and vegetables don't have rights.

Jasper, come in here right now! said...

Like a previous poster mentioned, not only do lakes evaporate, but they silt up. In fact silting is the demise of lakes and for those of you who think it is easy to just dredge a huge lake, ever considered where all that waste will be piled up or how much money it takes to do this? I didn't think so.

The main reason we are not seeing more lakes built is because they have a lifespan, they are not permanent solutions, they are costly, and not just to endangered species, but to communities of human beings.

We need to stop trying to live water-filled lives in dry areas of the country. There are plenty of places with abundant water and people should consider living in those places, not in the desert.

And for the person who felt he needed to remind us all where we sit on the Food Chain, just remember that when the next virus or flesh-eating bacteria comes your way.

Humans are not in charge and we are one species among many, and the more we learn to fit in, rather than try to take over, the better.

Anonymous said...

I would rather have evaporation from a lake that can be used for drinking water than sending the water to the Gulf of Mexico and letting it evaporate there.

Silt is removed every day in different parts of the country and can be removed here, In the mean time we get 100 years of water.

Anonymous said...

to Anon, 10:31 AM:

How do you arrive at your "100 years of water" amount?

Canyon Lake and the Highland Lakes haven't been around that long, and especially the levels of the H. Lakes are falling. Even as more and more users of them are added.

Anon Jul 8, 6:38 PM said...

Yeah, I'd rather have evaporating lakes than have the water go on to the Gulf, too. But it's not an either-or choice. Reservoir lakes are not the only alternative.

Anonymous said...

Lake Travis was built in 1942 and has been used for Drinking water and other needs since then. I am fairly confident that it will last another 30 years.

Anonymous said...

This is a boon-doggle and one more example of DS "ruling" over its' precious ETJ with no regard to the 30,000+ CITIZENS in it. If DS wants this project so bad - PUT IT INSIDE the precious 1,788 person "City of Dripping Springs". But wait - that CAN'T happen - that would be hundreds of new voters who don;t know who Mr. Purcell is and wouldn't be aware of the STRANGLEHOLD he has on "the city of Dripping Springs".

This prpoject makes NO SENSE at all. There are no jobs here, there is no transportation here, it's only "here" because Dripping Springs DOES NOT WANT IT NEAR THEM.

Liv N. Letlive said...

If this were a free market, growth would pay for itself, because prices would reflect scarcity of resources, encouraging consumers to conserve and allowing them to intelligently allocate their own resources. If this were a free market, corporations would no longer be able to offload their costs onto the public via politically facilitated theft (er, taxation). If this were a free market, I'd have no issue with Ledgestone Apartments because I wouldn't be an unwilling participant forced to pay their costs.

This isn't a free market. TDHCA is a conduit for flowing stolen money (er, federal grant funds) to private developers. Their FY 2012-13 budget is $397 Million. It's such a thriving industry that TDHCA's website lists 2 pages of graft brokers known as "tax credit consultants." (Given Shaw's success, he must employ one of the top people in the field.) They even have their own trade publication, the Journal of Tax Credits.

Don't bother complaining to TDHCA so your comments can go into a development application file and not even receive a response. Stop falling for all the faux-compassionate PR soundbites ("priced out," "very few opportunities," and "affordable housing" among others) that Christian Democrats like Shaw use to whitewash over their projects.

Open your eyes to the game that's being played here, by the political-tax credit-developer-industrial complex. Their game is supplying subsidized housing to low income people (who pay no income tax) to generate subsidized profits to high income people (who pay lower tax rates on their passive income), all at the expense of middle income people, who get neither the subsidized benefits nor the subsidized profits but have to pay the higher tax rates on their employment income. Gov. Good Hair's friends get some cushy jobs, developers laugh all the way to the bank, and the gullible public are none the wiser but certainly poorer.

“The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.” - Lenin