Board of Civil Authority Meeting Minutes: August 18, 2016

Present:Mary Ann Clarkson, Priscilla Cotton, Bob Crego, Gloria Cristelli, Marion Dowling, Gary DeliusandRichard Marek

Absent:Ellen Darrow, Sandra Dowley, Mike Fitzpatrick, Carol Hatcher, Todd Lawley, and Greg Record

Listers: Lynn Forrest, Doris Knechtel, and Frank Suponski

Appellants: Margot Mayor, accompanied by Archer Mayor, Billie-Jo and Jeff Gouger, and Jeffrey Holmes

Priscilla Cotton, chair, called the meeting to order at 6 p.m.

Gloria Cristelli, Town Clerk, collected the signed oaths required for the Board of Civil Authority members to sit for tax appeals. All of the above mentioned members who were present signed the oath.

The Chair administered the oath to the appellants and Listers as mandated by law. She also outlined the proceeding schedule: listers to introduce property briefly, appellant to present his materials, and BCA to ask questions. Each BCA member, lister, and appellant had a copy of the general procedure. It was noted that the Justin Fitzpatrick property on South Wardsboro Road had been withdrawn by the Sposas by telephone call and email.

First appellant: Margot Mayor, owner as of April 28, 2016, of property owned by Cecile and Joseph Pontecorvo on April 1, 2016. Parcel ID # 00B031, located at 6 South Wardsboro Road in Newfane village.

Before the Listers presented their information, Ms. Mayor stated that the bedroom, kitchen, and porch were removed because of the dangers presented from rotting floors.

Doris Knechtel, representing the Listers,distributed four (4) copies of the Listers’ materials, and presented the following information:

The property consists of 1.0 acre with a conventional building built around 1890, having a grade of D- (Poor). It has a clapboard exterior and a metal roof with no kitchen, bath, or bedroom. [See later discussion about the kitchen, bath, and bedroom.] The sale of the property was not done through advertising, so was not an at-arms-length sale. In terms of consideration in the State’s sales study for the Common Level of Appraisal (CLA), this sale would not be included.

Ms. Knechtel pointed out that the CLA is presently 108.05%.

In June 2016 Margot Zalkind Mayor, who purchased the property on April 26, 2016, received permission from owners Joseph and CecilePontecorvo to grieve their property assessment. Ms. Mayor provided the Listers with an appraisal, photographs, and a written list of issues with the property. On June 22, 2016 the Listers conducted a site visit during which time they noted that the front porch and storage area which existed as of April 1, 2016 had been removed after the sale. As a result of the site visit,the Listersmade the following changes: lowered the grade from D+ (Fair) to D- (Poor), removed the kitchen, bathroom and heat. Also they added -20% influence for ledge and another-20% for no water or septic. These changes resulted in an overall decrease in the assessed value of $49,300, or 38.67%, reducing the assessed value from $127,500 to $78, 200. Ms. Mayor bought the house for $15,000.

Ms. Mayor was represented by Archer Mayor. Mr. Mayor distributed the three (3) copies of two (2) packets of information. Mr. Mayor indicated that he had hired Todd Brown back in November 2015 to do an appraisal because of Mr. Brown’s certification, expertise, and reputation. Mr. Brown’s appraised the property as $19,500, stating that this was fair market value. Mr. Mayor presented the appraisal as the first part of Exhibit A. He had also compiled a list of comparables in two categories: size and sales price. Mr. Mayor had compared 00B30 land as having the same steep ledge. Sine this property has four (4) acres more than Ms. Mayor’s property, he deduced that the land’s value is only $17,000 per acre as compared to the $64,000 for the parcel under consideration. Gloria Cristelli pointed out that it is important to understand that the first acre of land in the village is assessed at $100,000 per acre, so the additional acres of parcel ID # 00B30 are valued far below $17,000 per acre. Mr. Mayor also noted that the Pontecorvos did not have potable water even when they had the water for the septic system. He also noted that the septic system had been dug up (after April 1st), and he had filled in the hole for safety sake.

Richard Marek, Marion Dowling, and Mary Ann Clarkson agreed to conduct the site visit on Monday, August 22, 2016 at 9 a.m. The present owner was not going to be present, but Ms. Mayor indicated that the team had permission to go into the building.

Second appellant: Jeffrey Holmes, Parcel ID # 00B183.3, located at 1064 VT Route 30, Newfane. Because Mr. Holmes arrived after the oath had been given, the Chair administered the oath to Mr. Holmes.

Doris Knechtel, representing the Listers, described the property as 4.98 acres classified mainly as Miscellaneous Land (MISC LAND) with a 4,800-square-foot garage built abut 2015, having a grade of C (Average), having a cement slab foundation, corrugated steel exterior and metal roof. There are no bedrooms or bathrooms.

In June 2016, Mr. Holmes grieved the assessment of his property. He claimed that the property should be classified as Miscellaneous Land, not commercial. He did not refute the removal of the -25% (negative twenty-five percent) influence on the land for no access. He provided documents to support his claim that the building should not be classified as a garage. The Listers reviewed the information and made the following changes: land classification to MISC LAND with a -20% (negative twenty percent) influence on the land for no water or septic resulting in no value change. The building was recategorized as a yard item—garage. These changes decreased the overall value of $24,200 or 14.911%.

Mr. Holmes presented the BCA with a packet of material consisting of aerial photos of his property from the onlineNatural Resources Atlas. He indicated that the majority of his property is in the flood plain and cannot be built upon. He included a copy of the lister card printed June 21, 2016 that did not reflect the changes the Listers made after his grievance. Mr. Holmes made reference to his Inspection Report and Final Decision of his grievance from the previous year, indicating that there was a discrepancy in the numbers.

Priscilla Cotton, Bob Crego, and Gary Delius agreed to be the site inspection team to visit the site on August 22, 2016 at 5 p.m. Mr. Holmes indicated that he would be there.

Third Appellant: Jeffrey and Billie Jo Gouger, Parcel ID# 00D163, 422 Vermont Route 30, Newfane, VT

Doris Knechtel, representing the Listers, described the property as 1.0 acre with a conventional building built around 1941, having a grade of C (Average) with a clapboard exterior and an asphalt roof with a total of 4 bedrooms, 1 kitchen, and 2 bathrooms. In addition, there is a 24×40 garage C (Average) and a 6×16 shed C (Average). The house consists of 1,988 square feet of finished area.

In June 2016, the owners, Jeffrey and Billie Jo Gouger grieved the assessment of their property. The Gougers provided an appraisal dated May 24, 2016. As a result of the hearing, the following change was made: the grade of the garage went from a B (Good) to C (Average). The change resulted in an overall decrease in the assessed value of $3,400 or 1.46%.

The Gougers presented the BCA with a packet of information, the first pages of which showed how much noise affects real estate. The Gougers had put their property up for sale and did not receive any inquiries for it in that year. The property has since been taken off the market. They attribute lack of interest to the noise level from Route 30 traffic, the noise from Duttons, and the dangerous driveway. They included the appraisal they had done by a bank appraiser. The Gougers provided comparables with photos. They also included a diagram of the property as assessed by the bank assessor as well as a short list of the square-footage difference between what the Lister card indicated after the grievance and what the assessor measured and tax implication.

In their letter requesting the tax appeal hearing, the Gougers expressed their confusion about the increase in their property’s assessed value of $13,600 since 2012. They had not received information that showed the reasoning for such a large increase. In 2015 their tax assessment was $218,600, before their grievance the assessment was $233,200 and after the grievance this year it was lowered to $230,200. They emphasized their understanding that they needed to pay their fair share and were mainly concerned about the difference in square footage.

Bob Crego, Gloria Cristelli and Gary Delius agreed to be the site team and set September 12, 2016 at 5 p.m. to meet at the Gougers.

The Chair recessed the hearing at 7:18 p.m. to be reconvened on September 15, 2016 at 6 p.m. in the Town Office building.

Reconvening of BCA Hearing
September 15, 2016

Present: Mary Ann Clarkson, Bob Crego, Gloria Cristelli, Marion Dowling, Gary Delius and Richard Marek.

Absent:Priscilla Cotton, Ellen Darrow, Sandra Dowley, Mike Fitzpatrick, Carol Hatcher, Todd Lawley, and Greg Record

Listers: Lynn Forrest, Doris Knechtel, and Frank Suponski

No appellants were present.

Richard Marek, Vice-Chair, reconvened the Board of Civil Authority’s Tax Appeal Hearing started on August 18, 2016.

Mary Ann Clarkson read the Inspection Committee’s report for the Pontecelo (now owned by Margot Mayor. Bob Crego moved to accept the report. Marion Dowling seconded the motion. The Inspection Committee recommended upholding the Listers’ decision after grievance. It was noted that the Listers had been generous in their decision since they reduced the value of the property because of the lack of water and septic even though the appellant’s appraisal indicated that these were failing but were there as of April 1, 2016. The motion to accept the report as written passed unanimously of those present.

Bob Crego read the Inspection Committee’s report for Jeffrey Holmes’s property. Gloria Cristelli moved to accept the report ad Gary Delius seconded the motion. The Inspection Committee recommended upholding the Listers’ appraisal after the grievance in June. Mr. Holmes’s concern about not having a right-of-way for ingress and egress was deemed an unnecessary concern since previous deeds to the property indicated that the property has a provision for the right-of-way that goes along with the property into perpetuity. The motion passed unanimously of those present.

Gloria Cristelli read the Jeffery and Billie Jo Gouger’s Inspection Committee’s Report. The Inspection Committee recommended that the second floor square footage should be reduced from 616 square feet to 560 square feet because the second floor is not a true second floor but has unusable finished space because of the knee walls. The Committee also recommended a reduction in square footage of the basement. Their measurements indicated only 567 square feet as opposed to 668 on the Lister card. The Committee recommended a total reduction of the tax appraisal of $6,561. The tax appraisal amount was $230, 200 after the Gougers grieved to the Listers. The Committee recommended a total appraisal value of $223,639. The report as read with one correction on page one where $230,600 was mistakenly typed and should read $230,200 was unanimously approved of those present.

Gary Delius moved to adjourn the. Gloria Cristelli seconded the motion and the meeting adjourned at 6:28 p.m.

Richard Marek will write the final decision for the Mayor property. Bob Crego will write the final decision for the Holmes property, and Gloria Cristelli will write the final decision for the Gouger property. The decisions must be given to the Town Clerk and mailed within 15 days of the reconvened meeting of September 15, 2016.

Respectfully submitted by,

Gloria J. Cristelli