Federal Lawsuit’s Dismissal Paves Way for Barisi Village Development
Chris Ramirez, Corpus Christi Caller‑Times Published 5:02 p.m. CT Feb. 9, 2017 | Updated 6:32 p.m. CT Feb. 9, 2017
A federal judge on Thursday threw out a lawsuit that could have halted plans to construct a mixed‑use development on a former golf course.
The Dallas firm behind the project is ready to go to work.
U.S. District Judge Hilda Tagle, in a 14‑page order filed Thursday in Corpus Christi, said she doesn’t have jurisdiction over the matter and ordered the case be dismissed. The dismissal essentially clears a path for construction to commence on Barisi Village, an Italian‑inspired development planned for what was once the Pharaoh Valley golf course.
“The case is simply out of court at this point,” said John D. Bell, a lawyer who represented John Hardie, a defendant in the case. “There’s no other court to hear it.”
Construction on the 42‑acre site is anticipated to begin in less than six months, said developer Jeff Blackard, of Blackard Global.
“I’m happy for the community,” Blackard said of the dismissal. “Moving forward, there is great responsibility on our part to build a village that not only the majority of our neighbors are excited about, but also hope and pray the few people who oppose this will be excited about it in the future.”
When reached late Thursday, Corpus Christi attorney Gay Ellen Gilson, who represented plaintiff Francis Garrigues, declined comment, saying she hadn’t had a chance to fully examine the judge’s order or go over it with her client.
Plans involve the construction of a $300 million commercial and residential development on the long‑defunct golf course. It closed in 2010.
Blackard said work on Barisi Village has continued to move forward and several of the buildings already are in the design stage. The development is slated to include space for housing as well as business, and an additional 85 acres of property would include green space, parking and a nine‑hole golf course.
Among them was a challenge of the constitutionality of a Texas law that took effect in September 2015 that became a central argument between the parties.
Opponents of the project have generally argued they purchased homes in the area with the understanding that the golf course would remain a golf course under a deed restriction, and that the site was not intended for development.
The golf course was deed‑restricted. The new law allowed for deed restrictions to be changed with the support of 75 percent of adjacent property owners.
There were at least 267 votes needed favoring the deed modifications to pave the way for the development to come to fruition. At the end, 296 votes supported the changes.
Kirsten Crow contributed to this report.
Chris Ramirez (@Caller_ChrisRam) | Twitter