Morning Walk: New Neighbors

One of the benefits of living in Country Place is the ability to take walks surrounded by trees and many beautifully landscaped yards. It’s also a great place to catch up with neighbors, as I did last Monday morning. One of the folks I ran across is Aaron Finley. He and his wife bought the home we sold for the Tiller’s home on Great Oak Circle and have been busy updating to accommodate their three children. We talked about the pandemic, the economy, the election…but mostly about photography, websites and fishing. The Finley’s are enjoying the neighborhood, and it’s a good feeling to have had a small part in making that happen.

Protesting Your Property Taxes

Several of our neighbors have called recently, asking for data to help in protesting their new property tax valuations, some of which have been 10% higher than last year’s. That is an unusually large increase, and coming in a tumultuous year like this one, looks overly aggressive, at least in many cases. So, in order to help those wishing to protest, here are several documents designed to help those folks.

CountryPlace_CMA_2019 (note that these are only those sales which were included on our multiple listing service)


Oakbrook Sales, 2019 to Present

We have more information on individual properties, but the links only last a few days so if you are interested in getting that link, just shoot me an email: or text to 903.714.7090.

Homes Still Selling in Country Place

Well neighbors, mask and gloves be-darned, Country Place continues to attract buyers even during the Covid-19 scare. Both 18650 Big Timber (the former Hildebrand/Alexander home) and 19043 Lakeshore Dr (the Magee’s) are under contract, going through the 10-day option period when inspections are being done. The only Country Place properties currently for sale on our MLS are the Victorian at 3040 Ridgetop and the five lots between Hidden Lake and Lakeshore (McClellan’s). We have clients in California and Colorado who haven’t been able to travel also looking to relocate to our area and we look forward to seeing the country healthy again and travel safe. Meanwhile, for all you CPCA members, enjoy the fishing!

Phase II Votes on Rentals

Last year, Phase I passed an amendment prohibiting rentals in Country Place. This year, Phase II is voting to adopt the same amendment. There have been a lot of grievances involving renters over the years, as listed below.

Dear Country Place Homeowner –

The CPCA HOA Board noticed that over the last several years we have experienced a disproportionate number of issues arising out of the handful of rental properties in Country Place. This started a discussion regarding whether the Board should propose a change to the deed restrictions prohibiting rental properties in Country Place. The Board, acting alone, cannot change the deed restrictions. Any proposed change to the deed restrictions must be approved by the owners of 55% of the acreage. The discussions were varied but some of the more significant comments and feedback from Country Place residents included:

  • Renters usually are not aware of the Country Place rules and restrictions and often do not follow them. The board has no recourse with the tenant and in the past the owners have not always been
  • We had a hostage situation in a rental property with a hostage and Smith County SWAT had to resolve
  • One renter who was admittedly having financial problems over-fished Lake
  • We have had complaints of renters parking their cars in the front yard on the
  • We have no information on who is living in a rent house, they can often be short term creating high turnover and renters have no real incentive to help us maintain our
  • Many realtors have reported that buyers are very concerned about the presence of rental properties in Country Place and this makes sa_les more difficult and potentially suppresses the value of our
  • With the increasing popularity of VRBO, Air BnB, we could have short term rental residents in the neighborhood that we know absolutely nothing about.
  • As the homes in Country Place age there is a concern that rather than maintain and update the homes some would be converted to rental properties to the detriment of the rest of the

It was the opinion of the Board that a change to the deed restrictions prohibiting rental properties would be in the best interests of Country Place and would be supported by the vast majority of the residents. Because of the unique legal filing structure of Country Place (Phase 1 and Phase 2), the Board voted unanimously (with one member absent) to propose the change to Phase 1. Phase l property owners have passed a deed restriction to prohibit rental properties, within Phase l only. This has been filed with the Smith County Clerk’s office and will be available on the Country Place website as well. Following this action, the board of directors has voted to propose the same deed restriction change and process for Phase 2. You are receiving this letter and package because you are an owner in Phase 2.

Amendment to Phase II Restrictions

Country Place Subdivision

Country Place Subdivision, Phase II, in Smith County, Texas, is subject to certain restrictive covenants which are entitled “Phase II Restrictions – Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions,” which were executed on June 2, 1981 and recorded at Volume 1878, Page 329 of the real property records of Smith County, Texas (hereinafter “Declaration.”

Paragraph 6.07 of the Declaration allows the restrictive covenants to be amended by “written consent of the owners of a minimum of fifty-five percent of the acreage” in the subdivision. Country Place Community Association, Inc. is the property owners’ association governing the Country Place Subdivision, Phase II. The Association’s Board of Directors recommends that the property owners adopt the following amendment to the restrictive covenants:


  1. Rentals generally prohibited: Beginning on the Effective Date of this section as stated below, no person may obtain or exercise the right to the use or occupancy of any Lot or any structure in the Subdivision by virtue of a lease or rental agreement, except as specifically authorized by this section. The “use or occupancy” of a lot or structure shall include but not be limited to occupying any structure as a residence, storing property on any Lot or in any structure, making any other use of any Lot or structure, or coming on or about any Lot or into any structure. This prohibition shall apply regardless of the duration of the rental agreement and whether the agreement is in writing, electronic, verbal, or otherwise.
  2. Grandfather clause for current tenants: A tenant who resides in a residence in the Subdivision as of the date of this amendment may continue to occupy that residence pursuant to the existing lease or rental agreement for the lesser of the remaining portion of the current term of said agreement or one year from the effective date of this After a period of one year has passed following the Effective Date of this Amendment no person other than an immediate family member of a record owner may occupy any structure in the Subdivision pursuant to a lease or rental agreement. The right to continue such tenancy may not be assigned, delegated, or transferred to any other person. Such property may not be leased or rented to any other person, or to a tenant who ceases to reside in the residence then wishes to reoccupy it, unless another exception applies.
  3. Leaseback following sale: Following the sale of a lot with a residence, the seller(s) may continue to reside in the residence for up to six calendar months following the sale, if the leaseback arrangement is documented by a written lease agreement signed by the seller(s) and the buyer(s).
  4. Immediate family: An immediate family member (spouse, sibling, parent, or child) of a record owner of residence located on a Lot in the Subdivision may reside in that residence by virtue of a rental or lease agreement or other arrangement with the . record owner, regardless of whether the record owner(s) reside in the residence with the immediate family member(s).
  5. Enforcement: The Board of Directors may take any steps necessary to enforce this restriction, including but not limited to imposing fines and civil damages, suspending the right of the owner and/or tenants to use common areas, and pursuing legal action seeking damages and/or injunctive relief. Any owner, tenant, occupant, or family member shall upon request provide copies of the lease agreement, proof of family relationship, or other relevant documents or information to the homeowners’ Any fines or civil damages imposed for violation of this section shall be considered a special assessment, and shall be secured by the lien on the Owner’s Lot(s).
  6. Meaning of “lease” or “rental”: For purposes of this section, a person “leases” or “rents” a structure if he exchanges anything of value for the right to occupy, use, and/or enjoy any Lot or structure in the Subdivision. The consideration provided to the owner need not be paid in cash or similar monetary means. The agreement does not have to be in
  7. Effective Date: This section shall become a part of the restrictive covenants governing the Country Place Subdivision, Phase II, as referenced’ above, and shall be effective beginning on the date it is filed with the real property records of Smith County, Texas after being duly adopted by the members (the “Effective Date”).