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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:DeSoto Wildwood Development Inc. owned, and sought to develop, an approximately 35-acre tract of unimproved real property that abutted Garden Ridge Boulevard within the territorial jurisdiction of the city of Lewisville, a home-rule municipality. When DeSoto applied to the city for approval of the development, DeSoto was informed that an expansion of the existing Garden Ridge Boulevard would be necessitated, and as a condition for approval, the city imposed fees on DeSoto to pay for the costs of expanding and constructing the roadway facilities. The total of the fees paid by DeSoto to the city amounted to $132,988, which were escrowed by DeSoto for the construction of the roadway and improvements. Eight years passed as the development continued, and DeSoto made written demands on the city for refund of the escrow fees because the city had failed to construct the capital improvements and roadway facilities contemplated by their agreement. These requests were rebuffed by the city through its city attorney. DeSoto then filed suit and alleged causes of action against the city for 1. the refund of the “impact fees” pursuant to Chapter 395 of the local government code, 2. breach of the DeSoto-Lewisville agreement regarding the payment of the fees, 3. state and federal takings claims, and 4. the return of the fees because they were excessive. DeSoto appealed the trial court’s dismissal of its lawsuit against the city through the granting of the city’s amended plea to the jurisdiction. HOLDING:Affirmed in part, reversed and remanded in part. In its first issue, DeSoto argues that the trial court erred by determining that it did not have jurisdiction to hear DeSoto’s claims for a refund of impact fees under Local Government Code Chapter 395 , which provides the methods and means by which an impact fee is to be lawfully imposed, if at all. The court notes that, as described in �395.001(4)(B), an impact fee does not include “dedication of rights-of-way or easements or construction or dedication of on-site or off-site water distribution, wastewater collection or drainage facilities, or streets, side-walks or curbs if the dedication or construction is required by a valid ordinance and is necessitated by and attributable to the new development.” DeSoto argues that, 1. because of the plain wording of both the definition of impact fee and exception (B), and 2. because a proposed amendment to make exception (B) include “rededication of rights-of-way or easements, or payment of a fee in lieu of such dedication. . . .” was rejected, fees are not included in the meaning of exception (B). The court determines that DeSoto’s interpretation is correct. The court states that the plain reading of the statutory definition along with the attempted, but rejected, amendment, the clear wording of the companion exception, and the fact that an attorney general’s opinion considered only the colloquy cited as authority for its conclusion, lead the court to conclude that the fees imposed in this case were not subject to exception (B) and were “impact fees” as defined by �395.001(4) of the local government code. But the city argues that even if it is determined that the fees were impact fees the trial court lacked jurisdiction because DeSoto lacked standing to demand return of the fees because they were not a party entitled to return of the fees. To resolve that issue, the court examines the language of �395.025(e), that “All refunds shall be made to the record owner of the property at the time the refund is paid.” Based on that language, the court holds that DeSoto must be a present property owner to request and receive a refund and to have standing to pursue the claim. Because DeSoto had admitted that it did not own the developed property, the court holds that that DeSoto did not have standing to seek return of the impact fees because DeSoto was not an “owner of the property on which an impact fee has been paid.” The court also holds that DeSoto does not have standing to pursue its contract claim or its state takings claim, but that these claims should have been abated by the trial court to afford DeSoto an opportunity to cure the exhaustion-of-administrative-remedies jurisdictional defect. Therefore, the court holds that the trial court’s judgment as to the return of, and refund of, impact fee claims is affirmed. The court reverses the trial court’s judgment as to the contract and state takings claims and those claims are remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. OPINION:McCoy, J.; Holman, Gardner, and McCoy, JJ.

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