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Medina Lake court case not relocating

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Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 12:00 pm

A nearly six-year-old court case between two regional water regulatory entities over jurisdictional rights at Medina Lake will remain in Bandera County, a state district judge ruled on Thursday, July 18. 

Judge Rex Emerson denied a change of venue motion filed by the Bexar-Medina-Atascosa Counties Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 to move the legal dispute with the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District to Medina County.

 The river authority brought suit against the water control and improvement district in 2013 to determine if the BMA could wield regulatory powers in Bandera County at Medina Lake, which straddles the border between Bandera and Medina counties.

Greg Ellis, the river authority’s lead attorney in the case, said BCRAGD had to sue the BMA because the water control district “claimed jurisdiction over parts of Bandera County that are in the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District jurisdiction.”

“The law does not allow two regulatory entities with similar powers to regulate the same property,” he said.

While Emerson’s ruling will keep the case in Bandera County, what impact the ruling will have on the progress of the dispute was unclear.

Ellis said the river authority “will discuss the best way to proceed now on the case.”

No one from the BMA could be contacted to comment on the ruling earlier this week.

Emerson’s ruling followed a hearing on the request to transfer the case to another county on July 16.

The original lawsuit challenged the BMA’s claims to certain water rights in Medina Lake and to regulatory authority the improvement district was seeking to assert over shoreline properties, lakeside wells and septic tanks in Bandera County.

The river authority has sought a declaratory judgment denying BMA the authority to inspect water wells and enforce rules concerning groundwater and surface water in Bandera County.

The BMA challenged the claim and the court’s jurisdiction in the matter since it said it had not attempted to exercise the powers that plaintiffs had claimed.

While the borders of the BCRAGD coincide with Bandera County, and the borders of the BMA are limited largely to Bexar, Medina and Atascosa counties, the issue is complicated by the fact that the BMA uses irrigation water from the lake to service farmers downstream from the lake.

Ellis said that BCRAGD earlier won a favorable ruling on the case from a district court before the Fourth Court of Appeals found problems in the way the case had been filed.

The appeals court said the river authority should have brought the case against the BMA’s individual directors instead of BMA as a whole.

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1 comment:

  • ATP posted at 10:58 am on Wed, Aug 14, 2019.

    ATP Posts: 35

    BMA: I'm in charge!

    BCRAGD: No! I'm in charge!....

    BMA: I'm in charge, and my lawyer costs more.............

    BCRAGD: Well, I've got a judge......


    Bunch of squabbling kids.

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