Tim Love’s Woodshed restaurant returns to court for property tax exemption



Tim Love on the roof of his Woodshed Smokehouse restaurant.

Star-Telegram Archives

The Tarrant Appraisal District is devoting more hearing time to restaurateur Tim Love.

TAD is appealing a lower court ruling that allows Love to avoid paying property taxes on his trendy 5,300 square foot wood-burning smokehouse along the Trinity River because the land on which he was built actually belongs to the Tarrant Regional Water District.

The agency’s notice of appeal, which was filed with the Fort Worth Second Court of Appeals on February 7, came as no great surprise as TAD firmly said the land was taxable.

“I’m not at all surprised by the call,” said Bill Warren, Love’s attorney. “The good thing about the issues is that they’re focused and pretty sharp… there’s not much in there to confuse everything. “

Tarrant’s chief assessor, Jeff Law, said his agency believed “the facts and the law supported his position.”

“The higher court’s directives on this issue have far-reaching consequences for many other properties owned by government entities but leased to private for-profit companies,” Law said in a statement.

For those of you who can’t remember the issues, let us give you a little background.

In 2011, Love signed a 10-year lease with the Trinity River Vision Authority, a political subdivision of the Tarrant Regional River Basin District. Love was drawn into the project because both organizations wanted to encourage development along the Trinity River. They were so excited about the idea that they put $ 2.4 million into the project.

As part of the deal, Love agreed to finish the restaurant and pay 4% to 6% of her income mostly in rent. He also agreed to allow public access to the property, even those who are not customers. In four years, the Woodshed has donated $ 800,000 to the district.

Since the Water District land is generally tax exempt, he didn’t think Love or the restaurant owed property taxes. District attorneys likened it to concessions at places like Dallas / Fort Worth Airport. Love’s attorneys also argued that state laws do not allow him to be tax exempt and override the state tax code.

But the Assessment District disagreed, saying that since so much of the property was under private control, it should be put on the tax roll.

To fight the decision, Love hired Warren. In November, the state’s District Judge Wade Birdwell agreed and said the land was indeed exempt from tax. He also said the District / Love did not have to pay the $ 23,197 in taxes owed from 2012 to 2015.

The money will stay in a fund until the appeal process is complete, Warren said.


Esther L. Steinbach

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