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Five Benefits of Hiring an Expert Witness in Dallas, TX

You’re prepping for an upcoming trial. You’re lining up all the facts, getting evidence ready to submit and reviewing questions with your witnesses. Are you as prepared as you can be? Perhaps not. Have you considered hiring an expert witness in Dallas, TX?

If not, you could be missing out on a key strategy to win your case. Expert witnesses offer five significant advantages. Don’t let these benefits slip by without harnessing them for your next court case:

Expertise:
This type of witness is so named for a reason. They possess expert knowledge in their field. The court values their opinion, ideas and input due to their high-level of understanding of the situation. Their specialized skills make them a weighty weapon. Their insight into a situation can help sway a judge or jury to render the verdict you desire.

Explanation:
Some cases involve complex toxicology or other scientific procedures. An expert witness in Dallas, TX can break down complicated topics to clearly explain them to a jury. The witness will help the jury understand and process all the information necessary to deliver an appropriate verdict. Their testimony is persuasive because it cuts through any jargon the jury may not comprehend and makes the situation clear.

Experience:
An expert witness in Dallas, TX has experience on the stand. While other witnesses may freeze up, forget what they had planned to share or provide information that is not helpful to your case, an expert witness is a seasoned testifier. They will be able to provide the information you need to clearly state your case. Their education and training in their field as well as their experience on the stand combines to create the ideal courtroom participant.

Exit:
The fact that you have an expert witness in Dallas, TX prepared to testify may make the other side nervous. They may exit the proceedings entirely by settling outside of court. Your use of an expert witness can shorten the process drastically. Rather than dragging through years of litigation, your case is settled up front, with a fair and reasonable settlement with which you and your client are satisfied.

Expenses:
Not only can the expert witness reduce the amount of time in trial due to their expertise, they can reduce costs. First of all, time is money. The expert witness in Dallas, TX saves you and your client money by shortening the proceedings. Secondly, an expert witness can provide a testimony that offers the same weight as two or three other witnesses who offer fewer credentials. You can save time, money and hassle by arranging for a single witness rather than several.

Reap the Benefits

Could you use the benefits of an expert witness in Dallas, TX for your impending proceedings? Contact Masterplan today. Masterplan provides consultation to businesses, individuals, utility companies and government agencies in all matters relating to land use, including zoning, subdivisions, building permits and other development approvals.

Established in 1981, Masterplan has successfully obtained thousands of governmental approvals for clients. Take advantage of our expert witness services today for better results tomorrow.

Annexation in Texas: How It Works

Texas state law provides a variety of regulations that deal with annexations of property, and many cities have their own annexation ordinances to consider as well. Cities of more than 50,000 people have the authority to annex property that is contiguous and within three and a half miles of current city limits, in accordance with the procedures outlined in Chapter 43 of the Texas Local Government Code.

Texas grants its cities the authority to annex territory in two main ways:

  1. Annexation can be requested by the owner of a piece of property in a process called the voluntary exempted process
  2. The city can annex a property without consent of the owner in a process called the non-voluntary process

Annexation allows cities to grow their boundaries by square miles, correspondingly increasing their population and tax revenue. It is also a process that allows for more jobs and new experiences for all citizens affected by the annexation.

The process of annexation begins every year in February. There are many factors that determine whether or not a city will annex a property—usually the primary driving factors are economics and new development. Once the city annexes a property, each parcel gets an Individual Service Plan created for it. Then, the newly annexed piece of land will be entitled to the same (or similar) services the city already provides.

Here are some examples of some of the services and benefits a resident will gain from being annexed into a city:

  • Police and fire department services
  • Solid waste collection, with cities requiring conversion to the provider within two years after the annexation is complete
  • Access to city-owned parks, recreational facilities and programs at resident rates.
  • Code enforcement for various ordinances.
  • Voting rights in all city elections and the ability to run for any city office.
  • Protection of natural resources located in the city.
  • Comprehensive drainage management solutions provided by the city.
  • The operation and maintenance of public streets.
  • The enforcement and inspection of building quality standards.
  • Opportunities to serve on city boards, committees or commissions.

Clearly, there are many benefits that come with annexation into a new city. Residents who have the ability to voluntarily be annexed into the city will want to weigh these benefits against whatever benefits would come with remaining separate from the city looking to annex the property.

Keep in mind that annexation will not result in a change of address or school district. Any school district your children currently belong to would remain their district, so you would not have to worry about uprooting them from their school, friend groups and activities in which they are already involved. This is understandably a common concern among homeowners who are also parents, and one that state and local laws address clearly.

For more information about the annexation process and the various benefits associated with it, we encourage you to contact Masterplan with your questions about annexation and zoning in Dallas, TX and we will be happy to provide you with detailed answers.

A Crash Course in Understanding Zoning Laws

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Zoning laws exist to determine the kinds of structures that can be built in certain areas, as well as to highlight whether or not existing structures can be repurposed or replaced with something new. Even if you are not considering making any such change on property you own, zoning laws can have an influence on your neighbors’ property, and if one of them attempts to make a change that goes against local zoning laws, it could have a detrimental effect on your property value.

Here’s some information you should know about zoning in Dallas, TX.

Why is zoning important?

Zoning laws help prevent the usage of land in ways that are not in the best interests of the people. For example, they separate incompatible land uses in a way that minimizes the potential impact of one type of zoning area on another. They also help make for orderly development of a city and are important in the providing of public infrastructure.

Essentially, zoning gives communities a map and set of rules that influence how the city will grow and the kinds of districts it will have in each of its physical areas.

How does it work?

Zoning starts with the formation of a comprehensive plan (or master plan) that outlines how a city will be developed and how that development will help the city achieve its goals with regard to economic, social and physical development. Comprehensive plans generally have long-term outlooks, from several years to several decades.
A comprehensive plan will include pictures, concepts, ideas and outlines of where important infrastructure will go. This plan will affect landowners—if you wish to develop your property or sell it to another person, you might want to have your voice be heard in the comprehensive planning process. After all, zoning is meant to be done for the good of the people, so the people should feel free to make their opinions known.

After the city has a comprehensive plan in place, it then focuses on zoning ordinances, the regulations that govern how the land will be used and how structures will be constructed within that local area. Zoning ordinances tend to be approved with the help of staff and planning consultants. Those ordinances will be presented at a public hearing to get input from property owners, and revised drafts will eventually be handed to the planning commission for review and ultimate approval or disapproval.

There are different types of district categories within zones, including historic districts (which exist to preserve historic structures), planned use districts (usually for mixed-use developments), floating districts and mixed-use districts.

Zoning decisions are made by city staff and a city’s planning commission, which is comprised of residents appointed by the city council. Commissioners are often required to have real estate, engineering, legal or other valuable experiences.

This is a very cursory overview of zoning in Dallas, TX, so for a more detailed look at zoning and what you should know about it, contact the team at Masterplan today.

Masterplan Wins Important Zoning Cases in City of Dallas

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Masterplan, a company that provides consultation services to businesses, individuals and government agencies in matters relating to land use, is pleased to announce it recently won a pair of cases related to zoning in Dallas, TX.

The applicant for the first case was the Union Uptown Dallas, LLC, represented by Santos Martinez of Masterplan. Union Uptown requested an amendment to Planned Development Subdistrict No. 110 within Planned Development District No. 193, the Oak Lawn Special Purpose District. The goal was to amend the sign regulations to accommodate brand new signage for a grocery store (a Tom Thumb franchise) in the lower level of the development. That application was approved.

“We were pleased to have our application approved to allow Union Uptown Dallas, LLC to move forward expeditiously with their project,” said Martinez.

The second case featured an application submitted by the Dallas Independent School District, represented by Karl A. Krawley of Masterplan. The DISD applied for a new subarea on the property zoned Subarea 4 within Planned Development District No. 298, the Bryan Area Special Purpose District with Historic Overlay H/77 for the Fanning Elementary School.

The purpose of the request was to create a brand new subarea that would allow for reduced parking requirements, which would in turn accommodate the recent conversion from an elementary school to a high school, as well as the proposed expansion of the existing school building. Thenew subarea will be subject to landscape and development plans. The request was approved.

“We were glad to be able to consult with the Dallas Independent School District for what promises to be an outstanding and beneficial project for children and parents in the area,” said Krawley.

Masterplan specializes in providing consulting services for businesses, individuals, utilities and government entities related to zoning in Dallas, TX. For more information about Masterplan, its work and some of its recent case successes, visit the firm’s website at masterplantexas.com.

Thinking About Growing Your Restaurant Brand in Texas?

Are you interested in growing your restaurant’s brand in the great state of Texas? Over the years, our team of consultants has worked with many restaurateurs to increase their market share or bring their first franchise into the state. Our ability to do this comes in large part thanks to our ongoing commitment to education and networking here in the state.

We’re going to be at the upcoming Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) Marketplace Conference, where we’ll be speaking with hundreds of business owners about building their restaurant brand in Texas. We encourage you to come out and see us there!

The event runs July 15 and 16 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX, and registration is now available open! Click the image to find out more

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The TRA Marketplace Conference

Every year the TRA Marketplace Conference brings together some of the leaders in the restaurant industry who offer presentations andeducation about some of the leading trends in food, technology, beverages and much more. Attendees also have the opportunity to check out some of the latest products and services designed to help increase their restaurant’s efficiency.

For those of us whoare exhibitors at the event, it’s a great chance for us to meet face to face with restaurant owners, chefs, purchasing agents, caterers, franchisors/franchisees, corporate executives and representatives from all types of food service facilities and organizations. But for everyone, it’s simply a great opportunity to talk with the “who’s who” of the restaurant industry and find people who can help improve their business.

This year, the event is hosting its first Startup Showcase, which will put the spotlighton some of the most innovative new technologies and processes from companies of all sizes. The showcase will run both days of the convention, and participants in the showcase will have an onstage pitch session on the 15thfrom 2:30-3:30 p.m. at the Big Bend Ideas Stage. During this session, representatives from each company will provide attendees with a short overview of their company, their progress and their growth, as well as the various industry challenges they’re looking to address.

This is the 80thyear of the TRA marketplace, and over these many decades it has become the largest convention of its kind in the southwest. More than 500 exhibitors participate in the event each year, showcasing their food products and beverages, as well as linens, technologies, security products, kitchen equipment and supplies and more.

As Texas consultants who work with restaurant owners, we believe this to be an outstanding opportunity for us to connect with people looking to make their mark in the state. Texas is currently one of the hottest growth markets for the restaurant industry, and we can help restaurant owners achieve their growth goals.

If you’re interested in learning more about the convention or simply want to schedule a time to talk to our Texas consultants, we encourage you to contact Masterplan and we’ll be happy to provide you with further information. We look forward to seeing you at the TRA Marketplace Conference!

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