Mathew Howard owns four acres at Lake Alan Henry. "I have put off building a house and I know a lot of people that are property owners are not doing anything."
Howard is waiting to see if the city will ever budge on the easement restriction, which does not allow any structures to be built within 300 feet of the water. What constitutes a structure? In the 1986 memorandum of agreement it specifically defines water wells, septic tanks, cesspools, sheds, barns, place of dwellings and boat docks as structures or facilities. But could it be too defined? Some land owners believe it is.
"I wanted to put in a swim platform for my kids to use, I was looking at more of a temporary inflatable kind," says Howard.
Howard was told by the city's legal department his inflatable device was considered a floating structure or boat dock. He could not tie it up to his land and let it float.
One private land owner built a cabana in the easement. He's being sued by the City of Lubbock. But the question at hand is, could this cabana be defined as one of these structures in the 1986 MOA? We asked City Attorney Anita Burgess. "We've taken an expansive view or a structure and there's a number of lawsuits that have been defined on items that we are of the opinion to constitute a facility or a structure."
But then land owners are pointing fingers back to the city. Howard says if land owners can not build how is it that the city can build boat docks and piers within the 300 foot easement?
"It's a do as we say not as we do, so they've put out the docks they have put the facilities in the 300 foot setbacks. But yet, they won't enforce it themselves? But they threaten everyone with lawsuits?" Howard says.
Burgess says since the city has complete control over all aspects of its property by law the city is exempt of its own agreement.
Lubbock Mayor Marc McDougal says this issue may have to be settled in court. He also says the 20 year MOA agreement needs to be done away with and replaced with a newer version in order to put an end to the confusion.