As reported in an earlier post, entitled New York Pagan Phryganium Wins Real Property Tax Assessment Appeal, the Third Department recently held that the Town of Catskill improperly denied a pagan religious group a real property tax exemption under 420-a. See Maetreum of Cybele, Magna Mater, Inc. v. McCoy 975 N.Y.S.2d 251.
In our previous post, we noted that the time for appeal had passed. However, we have learned that the New York Court of Appeals granted the Town’s motion for leave to appeal. Appellants raised three issues on appeal, namely: (1) was it an abuse of discretion to reverse the trial courts “specific, fact-based findings as to the lack of credibility of witness and the lack of religious activity at the subject residence;” (2) was it an abuse of discretion to reverse the trial court’s holding that the “primary use” of the property was residential, rather than religious; and (3) is there is an “identifiable quantum of religious activity” that would entitle the property to satisfy the requirement under Real Property Tax Law § 420-a that a property be “used exclusively” for carrying out the religious purpose of a religious corporation.
We will continue to follow this case and will provide updates.