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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In an area of Heath, property owners and the city owned lots in a residential subdivision, which, by deed restrictions, limited use of the land to residential use. The city later obtained permission from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission (TPW) to construct a park on its land. The agreement with TPW provided that the land would not be used for anything other than public recreation. The city then notified TPW that it would using a small area of the land to build a water tower. At this point, the property owners in the area objected to the plan, noting that the city did not hold a public hearing before changing its plan. The property owners sued for injunctive relief to block construction of the water tower and the park project, all on the grounds that they violated the deed restrictions. The city filed a counterclaim seeking to condemn the property from the “real property interests, if any” that the property owners had. A temporary injunction was issued to postpone any construction. A panel of special commissioners awarded $331,280 to the condemnees (the property owners), an award both the city and two of the property owners objected to, which meant the case would be heard before a trial court. The city deposited the amount into the court registry. The property owners then filed a motion to withdraw the funds. The city did not oppose the motion, it was granted, and the property owners withdrew all of the money. The property owners then amended their petition to seek a declaration that the city was violating the deed restrictions. They also mentioned that the city violated its own zoning ordinances, did not comply with TPW requirements and violated its contract with TPW. The city filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, arguing the property owners did not have standing. The trial court dismissed the motion, and the city now appeals. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court points out that even though the city argues not that there is no actual controversy to be decided if the deed restrictions were not “property” in the first place, the city also stated in its counterclaim that it was trying to address the property interest, “if any,” the property owners might have. Furthermore, the city named the property owners as condemnees. Reviewing various other cases, the court ultimately concludes that the restriction on the use of property in this case is a property right for which compensation may be recovered. The court then rules that the withdrawal of the award money does not destroy the property owners’ standing, as the issue of the proper value of the award remains litigable. The court agrees that, in general, when taxpayers are bringing suit as taxpayers, they must either have a statutory right to sue, or they must establish a particularized injury. An exception to this rule, however, is that a taxpayer may sue in equity to enjoin the illegal expenditure of public funds, even without showing a distinct injury. Here, the property owners’ claim is that the city has changed the use of park property without a public hearing required by state law. That is sufficient to confer standing to seek declaratory and equitable relief under the taxpayer exception without a showing of particularized injury. OPINION:Linda Thomas, C.J.; Thomas, C.J., FitzGerald and Mazzant, JJ.

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