Property Tax & Valuation Topics: Summer 2017

by Pullman & Comley, LLC
Contact

Pullman & Comley, LLC

In This Summer 2017 Issue:


Declaratory Judgment Not the Correct Remedy 

Danping Li sued the Town of Woodbury with regard to the assessments of three properties she owned in that community.  One of the counts of her complaint seeking a declaratory judgment was entitled “Woodbury’s rigged tax appeal process violated the due process clause of the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution.”  The Town struck back, stating that a claim for a declaratory judgment was improper since the taxpayer had perfectly valid recourse through the standard tax appeal process.

Not surprisingly, sitting in the Judicial District of Waterbury, a Superior Court had little difficulty in disposing of this portion of her lawsuit.  It ruled that a declaratory judgment would add nothing to  her tax appeal claims since she was asserting only that her assessment was excessive under the guise of a constitutional argument.

The Court’s ruling underscores the wisdom of not straying from conventional assessment appeal remedies unless, which was hardly the case here, there is reason to do so.

Danping Li v. Town of Woodbury, Docket No. CV-16-5017752 (January 6, 2017)


Easement Can Impact Value

It is not often that a residential tax appeal can offer a helpful nugget of information for those concerned with commercial valuations.  However, this is the case in a recent New Haven tax appeal decided by Judge Steven Ecker.

At issue was the value of an upscale home in Branford as to which the court wryly observed that the appraisers “show(ed)” partiality . . . in favor of the party who commissioned them.

In the course of reducing the assessor’s market value by about 10 percent, the court noted that the Town’s appraiser failed to “adequately account” for an easement over the property which gave the owner of an adjacent home vehicular entry over the subject residence’s land to a tidal creek providing access to the Long Island Sound.

The decision points to the importance of understanding title to a property whose value is being litigated and in accurately gauging the impact of any rights reserved to others.

Lovejoy Family, LLC v. Town of Branford, Docket Number CV-15-6054381-S, May 1, 2017.


When Real Estate and Culture Mix!

Hartford’s Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, a cultural mainstay in Connecticut’s capital city for almost 90 years, has seen its formerly residential surroundings dissolve around it.  As Connecticut’s workforce grew, state and private office buildings proliferated.  Suburban government commuters required free parking, resulting in the acquisition of acres of properties which were demolished to provide oceans of parking lots that now characterize the Bushnell’s neighborhood.

As so often happens in America, only when a problem reaches its critical point do government and private interests step in.  According to the reporting of Gregory Seay in the Hartford Business Journal of February 28, the arts center is now in the process of planning Bushnell Square, a “multi-million-dollar vision” that would eventually transform adjacent state-owned parking lots into high-rise apartments, condos, office and retail space.  Mr. Seay advises that the Center and the State of Connecticut, under the aegis of the Capital Region Development Authority, will create a development partnership to move the project forward.

“This project is kind of a return to first principles,” said a consultant to the project.  “The Bushnell cannot move,” he wryly notes, “but the rest of city around it can change.”

While the cost of Bushnell Square is not yet known, the initiative appears to have some steam as a result of infrastructure improvements in the area and the scheduled opening of the University of Connecticut’s new downtown Hartford campus a few blocks away, among other developments.


Multifamily Real Estate Bubble Ready to Pop?

Eric Rosengren, President of the Boston Federal Reserve Bank, expressed concern about the rapid rise in the selling prices of multifamily properties which, according to Jonathan Spicers’s note in Reuters Business News of March 21, “may signal financial instabilities which (rising) interest rates may not be able to contain.”

In remarks delivered to a banking supervision conference, the Boston Fed President expressed concern that inflated apartment values could “amplify whatever problems emerge when we at some point face an economic downturn."

The emphasis on apartment prices is quite appropriate insofar as the Connecticut multifamily market is concerned.  Increases in unit selling prices over the last several years have driven cap rates to anemic levels, raising concerns about the long-term viability of some of these investments as well as unexpected exposure to increased property tax assessments based on transactions over the last 24-36 months.

A contrary view was expressed by Rebecca Kavanagh in the Q1 2017 issue of Valuation, an Appraisal Institute publication.  Dwelling on certain markets, such as Seattle, which have enjoyed strong demand for apartments due to a red-hot housing market (with “starter homes” selling at around $1 million near the central business district), Ms. Kavanagh, a freelance Detroit based writer, nevertheless closes her article with a note from a CB Richard Ellis executive projecting softness for the remainder of 2017 with a return to “balance” in 2018.  At the same time, she appears to minimize warnings such as of a Florida MAI who projects a “cool-down into 2018 if income-to-rent ratios are not able to support the underwriting of apartment complexes.”

PTVT readers can decide for themselves whose forecasting is more credible.


Property Taxes in Texas

The Texas Senate approved legislation which would send a municipality’s decision to increase taxes by more than 5 percent to an automatic vote of residents.  Senate Bill 2, adopted on March 22, 2017, reduces the current cap from 8 percent.  The issue of voter input on property tax rate increases – not assessments – in Connecticut is addressed on a town-by-town basis.

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Pullman & Comley, LLC | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Pullman & Comley, LLC
Contact
more
less

Pullman & Comley, LLC on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.