"GREENBELT" - Better Check

Real Estate Agent with Sky Realty, Austin, Texas 0466299

I volunteer for my city on the Planning and Zoning Commission and I have made an observation regarding Greenbelts. On 3 separate occasions we have had members of the public at our Planning and Zoning meetings very angry over greenbelts. Seems they were told by their REALTOR and or builder at the time of purchase that the land behind or beside their home was a "greenbelt" BUT, it was a platted subdivision that was not developed yet at that time. Many poor consumers have paid huge lot premiums, built decks and balconies and more to see the view only to be heartbroken when they find out it was all a lie. As a Commissioner on P & Z, I feel sorry that these people were mislead. I know I have shown property in new home subdivisions with buyers and have been told by the builder's rep. that a particular lot commands a lot premium due to the "greenbelt view". Upon further due diligence I find that the adjacent lot the builder was charging a $45,000. lot premium for was simply owned by a construction company and NOT a dedicated greenbelt. So please, be sure of what you are getting your client and yourself into. Get your client in a great house and keep yourself away from lawsuits, not into them! What you see isn't always what you get. Get the facts, don't lay your license and your reputation on the line. Our job as professionals is to serve, guide and protect our clients. Don't believe everything you hear and don't let your buyers do that either. A buyer with a competant agent would have never had this happen.

Comments (6)

Debi Braulik
www.roundrealestate.com - Maple Valley, WA
Selling Maple Valley to Fife WA Homes For Sale

$45,000 premium to look at another development in the future? I'd be upset too!  Maybe you can do a blog post about your real "greenbelts" so that people will have a reference point to go to in regards to them. Is that possible in your town?

Sep 30, 2010 10:01 AM
Betty Saenz Austin TX REALTOR

Hi Debi,

Thanks for your comment. Yes, there are definitely many TRUE greenbelts, preserves and natural areas around the Austin area. They are dedicated greenbelts, preserves and natural areas too, not just undeveloped land that the developer will put homes, businesses or some other development on at some point in the future. To establish a greenbelt, there is usually a city plan, a restrictive covenant or a land use designation. We need to get something in writing on any supposed greenbelt. In all 3 of the cases I reference in my blog, a person could have seen the "greenbelt" was a platted subdivision that simply had not been developed yet. All 3 were on record. I am living in an Austin northwest suburb called Leander but I work the Austin MetroPlex. I personally love greenbelts, preserves and natural areas and love the ideas and methodolgies of Randall Arendt who is the author of many books including Growing Greener: Putting Conservation into Local Plans and Ordinances.

Sep 30, 2010 10:21 AM
Steve Hysinger


Great comments. I have grown so use to greenbelts in Wimberley that I assume they will always be greenbelts. thanks for jogging my mind on this subject. man o man would that scenario have lawsuit written all over for the buyer rep.

Steve Hysinger
Wimberley Realtor
Sky Realty Austin


Sep 30, 2010 10:23 AM
Laura "Ole" Olesen
Sky Realty - Austin, TX


Yes! As realtors, we need to help our clients with all their due diligence. On one of my client's contracts, we learned that the soil in all the back yards of that side of the street was going to undergo over a year's worth of remeditation by the city. She had a dog and felt it was too risky.

Laura "Ole" Olesen  ::  REALTOR®, CNE, GRI, MBA :: Sky Realty
¡Olé Austin! :: www.oleaustin.com :: c. 512.663.5776

Sep 30, 2010 02:42 PM
Mary McGraw
GLREA - Rockford, MI
2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine!

Great post Betty, and too bad this happens in the industry! You must pull your hair out when something like that comes up to the commission... I love Debi's suggestion for a post on Greenbelts....

Oct 02, 2010 03:12 PM
Jimmie Johnson

Our neighborhood(between Mesa Dr. and Dry Creek and RR2222) were told by the new owners of the property back in 1996-97 that they were leaving 150 feet of "undisturbed" land between the facility they were building and our neighborhood property lines (from Cresthill down to RR2222) and that they were dedicating it to the City of Austin as a "Dedicated Green Belt."  What City office do we check with to determine if this was actually done?  Does it mean that the City owns it or just that it can't be built on and the corporation which built the new facility at that time still actually owns it but can't build on it?  There are City electric lines that run close to our property line which the City has "cleared" of tree growth and then actually moved some of the poles and lines, but other than the electrical line easement, my husband was told by the City that the corporation still owns that land.  Seeing the news of all the wildfires, is there any legal help in removal of the many cedar trees that hang over our properties.  There are still live oak and others but many of the cedars are dead or dying and do present a fire hazard.  In checking with the Austin Fire Dept. they say they have no authority to help us.  Thank you very much for your website, since I have been unable to locate any others with local information about Dedicated green belts.

Sep 06, 2012 04:27 AM