''Non Residential Activities'' In Texas

In Sharpstown Civic Association, Inc. v. Pickett, 679 S.W.2d 956 (Tex. 1984), the disputed property, which was subject to a residential-only deed restriction, abutted a two-lane residential street on one side and a four-lane city street on the other. See id. at 957. In 1969, the property's owner moved a 12' by 38' one-story wooden building onto the property for use as a real-estate office. See id. Also, with no complaints from neighboring homeowners, the owner leased space in the building to an insurance salesman and to an attorney. See id. This non-residential use of the property was continuous from 1970 to 1979, when the property was sold. See id. The new owner also used the building as an office until April of 1980, when he announced his intention to build a commercial car wash on the property. See id. The Texas Supreme Court held that the enforcement of the residential-only deed restriction was waived as to the office building. See id. The court limited its holding, however, to enjoin the property owner from conducting non-residential activities of a "more substantial nature" than that of the office building. See Pickett, 679 S.W.2d at 958-59; See also City of Houston v. Emmanuel United Pentecostal Church, Inc., 429 S.W.2d 679, 681-82 (Tex. Civ. App.--Houston [14th Dist.]), writ ref'd n.r.e., 433 S.W.2d 680 (Tex. 1968) (per curiam) (involving a residential-only restriction that was waived where a church had operated in a subdivision for four years).