Board of Civil Authority Minutes – 7/16/19 – Draft

DRAFT
TOWN OF PITTSFORD
BOARD OF CIVIL AUTHORITY
July 16, 2019

The meeting was called to order by C. Shaw at 6:37 p.m.

Attendance:

BCA Members Present: Matthew Candon, Patricia Carter, Ernest Clerihew, William Drummond, Alicia Malay, Susan Markowski, Helen McKinlay, Craig Pelkey, Hank Pelkey, Walter Poor, Charles “Butch” Shaw, Bonnie Stewart

Lister Present: Nicholas Michael

Appellants Present: Robert Christian, Derek Saari, Peter W. Hadeka

Others Present: Liz Willis, Asst. Clerk/Treasurer, Kellee McLean

Organization of the Board of Civil Authority
The Board of Civil Authority reviewed the agenda. A motion was made by Matt Candon to adopt the agenda. The motion received a second from Hank Pelkey. The BCA voted unanimously to accept the agenda as presented.

The reorganization of the BCA began with a motion from Matt Candon to appoint Butch Shaw as Chairman, a second to the motion was made by Patty Carter. The BCA voted unanimously to elect Butch Shaw as Chairman of the BCA. A motion was made by Sue Markowski, second from Butch Shaw to appoint Matt Candon as Vice Chairman of the BCA. The BCA voted unanimously to elect Matt Candon as Vice Chairman of the BCA.

Other Business that may come before the Board
Butch reviewed the Grievance Hearing process which is printed in the following two documents: “Rules of Procedure for Conduct of Tax Appeal Hearings”, dated July 12, 2012; and “Appealing Your Property Taxes to the BCA”. The BCA reviewed the documents and a motion was made by Matt Candon, seconded by Patty Carter for the BCA to adopt these documents for use by the BCA. The motion passed unanimously.

Butch reported to the BCA regarding a meeting he had attempted to set up with the Lister’s and a few members of the BCA. Though the idea was wonderful, through legal counsel in Montpelier he was advised this would violate the Open Meeting Law. The meeting as discussed would be determined as an improper communication due to the way the law is written and could potentially impact any decision.

A request for an abatement has been received from Donald Mosher regarding his property located at 4388 U.S. Route 7, Parcel ID # 1203. The BCA is unable to review this abatement at this meeting as it hasn’t been warned properly. The BCA will add this to their agenda for review on Wednesday, July 30th.

Motion to recess from Hank Pelkey, with a second from Walter Poor. The BCA voted unanimously to recess the Board of Civil Authority meeting at 6:48 p.m.

The BCA reopened the meeting at 6:55 p.m. with Helen McKinlay giving the oath to all BCA members present prior to hearing BCA tax appeals. 32 V.S.A. § 4405. The BCA reviewed the agenda for Grievance Hearings. Matt Candon made a motion to correct the hearing times as listed, Hank Pelkey second. Helen McKinlay reported a second document “Notice of Board of Civil Authority Hearings” had been posted and sent to the Appellants with the correct times. The BCA voted unanimously to amend the agenda to correct the times of the hearings. At 7:00 p.m. the first hearing began:

Charles Shaw, BCA Chair

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Helen McKinlay, Town Clerk

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DRAFT

1. Robert Christian, Parcel ID 0472, located at 3129 U.S. Route 7

C. Shaw asked if any member of the BCA had a conflict of interest or had any ex parte communication with regard to the Christian property. No conflicts or ex parte communications were noted on this property.

Robert Christian, Appellant and Nicholas Michael, Lister were given the witness’s oath, 12 V.S.A. § 5810.

C. Shaw indicated that the Board of Civil Authority received a letter from Mr. Christian. C. Shaw explained the hearing process to Mr. Christian.

The property was described as a home and .45-acre parcel located at 3129 U.S. Route 7, Parcel ID # 0472. R. Christian explained as his appeal letter stated the property had been listed by Colwell Banker Realtor since June 2017. The property was assessed at $74,400.00 at the time of purchase. Grievance to the Lister’s had resulted in a lower assessment of $74,400.00. Mr. Christian described the barn as being in rough shape with the roof being caved in. The house also, in need of work needs a furnace and has no running water on the premises. Mr. Christian stated he did not have an arms-length agreement of any other special agreements with the purchase of this property. Mr. Christian presented a project worksheet he had prepared prior to purchasing the house completed by himself to estimate the work cost of completing the improvement of this property. This estimate was presented as evidence as A-1.

Lister, Nicholas Michael and the BCA introduced themselves to each other. N. Michael distributed a packet to the BCA and Appellant which included Listers Grievance Worksheets, Letter of Grievance from Appellant to Listers, Letter of Grievance from Appellant to BCA, Listers Card for Subject Property dated July 2019, Listers Card for Subject Property dated April 2019 and Listers Response. The packet was marked into evidence as L-1. N. Michael asked all to go to page 6, Listers Response. The Listers visited this property on June 18, 2019 and made a determination that there was an adverse physical condition on the property and the property was not livable. This is the reason the total assessed value of the property was reduced from 74,400 to 37,100 and the functional obsolescence was reduced to 30% in the cost/market valuation section of the Vision card. The depreciation code in this section was also changed from poor to very poor (VP). The land alone related to this property is assessed at 35,200. It is the Listers premise that this correction to the assessed value of this property is fair and equitable.

Matt Candon noted the value of 35,200 is listed as the last appraisal in 2016. Craig Pelkey asked for about the residential value of 2100 on the Listers card. N. Michael stated that was the value given to the house. N. Michaels also noted the Listers are not allowed to enter buildings unless they are invited in by the owner. W. Poor noted the barn had been listed as NV (no value).

C. Shaw stated to R. Christian he would be contacted by an inspection team to visit the property at 3129 U.S. Route 7. C. Shaw also stated R. Christian would be notified in writing within the next 45 days of the BCA findings.

The hearing recessed at 7:30 p.m. until July 30, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. to hear the inspection report for the Inspection Team B, consisting of Ernest Clerihew, Craig Pelkey and Sue Markowski.

The hearing was reconvened on July 30, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. BCA members present were: Craig Pelkey, William Drummond, Patricia Carter, Matthew Candon, Ernie Clerihew, Charles Shaw, Alicia Malay, and Helen McKinlay. Also present was Elizabeth Willis. Team B: E. Clerihew, C. Pelkey and S. Markowski met on July 22, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. to conduct the inspection of Parcel #0472 and contains .42 acre. The owner was present and did accompany the inspection committee. The highest and best use of the property is residential. It is currently used as residential property. The condition of the house is very poor and not livable. R. Christian will try to salvage the basic structure of the house. The barn is to be torn down. The house contains 1329 square feet with 4 bedrooms. The current appraisal is for $37,000.00. Grievance to the Lister’s resulted in no change. It is the opinion and recommendation of the inspectors that the appraisal be lowered to $20,000.00. The inspectors voted unanimously 3 to 0 to lower this appraisal. A motion was made by M. Candon to lower the assessment to the sale price of $20,000.00 based on the inspection report and second by A. Malay. The BCA members voted unanimously 8 to 0 to lower the assessment to $20,000.00. The hearing adjourned at 6:05.

Charles Shaw, BCA Chair

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Helen McKinlay, Town Clerk

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DRAFT

2. Bean’s Homes/ Mark Bean, Parcel 1782, located at 210 Windy Hill Drive

M. Bean was not present at 7:30. No one has had communication with M. Bean since receiving his grievance request. A motion was made by M. Candon to give M. Bean until 7:35 to arrive. If he hasn’t arrived by 7:35 to suspend the order of the agenda to allow all parties present to proceed. M. Bean would be moved to 8:00 p.m. on the agenda. B. Drummond made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously. This hearing has been recessed to 8:00 p.m. Peter Hadeka and Derek Saari, Appellants for the third hearing were prepared and eager to move the time of their hearing to 7:35 p.m.

The hearing was reopened at 8:10 p.m. Mr. Bean was not present and had no one representing Bean’s Homes present at the hearing. C. Shaw asked if any member of the BCA had a conflict of interest or had any ex parte communication with regard to Bean’s Homes Inc. property. No conflicts or ex parte communications were noted on this property.
C. Shaw indicated to Board of Civil Authority received a letter from Mark Bean, of Bean’s Homes Inc. The property was described as a lot, Parcel 1782 located at 210 Windy Hill Drive. Copies of the letter received from M. Bean were distributed to the members of the Board of Civil Authority and the letter was read aloud. The letter was entered as A-1.
N. Michael, was given the oath the witness’s oath, 12 V.S.A. §5810. N. Michael distributed a packet to the BCA which included Lister’s worksheets, Letter of Grievance from the Appellant to Listers, Letter of Grievance from Appellant to the BCA, Listers Card for Subject Property dated July 2019, and Listers Card dated April 2019, which were logged in as L-1. N. Michael gave an overview of the property which is a vacant lot with access to both Town water and sewer appraised at 58,100.00, which is $16, 2000 less than an improved lot. N. Michael introduced several comparison properties on Windy Hill Drive. The properties of Lertola’s, Shortsleeve’s, and Jameson’s were provided for comparison as improved lots in the same area. C. Shaw asked how to compare the improved lots to the vacant lot. N. Michael showed the BCA the improved lots were listed at the following values: $66,400, $68,500 and $66,600. N. Michael noted the need to remove $16,200 for the improvement to these lots. N. Michael noted in the opinion of the Listers that the Bean property has the best view when compared to the above noted property.
The hearing recessed at 8:20 until July 30, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. to hear the inspection report of Team C: A. Malay, C. Shaw and W. Poor.

The hearing was reconvened on July 30, 2019 at 6:05 p.m. BCA members present were: Craig Pelkey, William Drummond, Patricia Carter, Matthew Candon, Ernie Clerihew, Charles Shaw, Alicia Malay and Helen McKinlay. Also present was Elizabeth Willis. Team C: A. Malay, C. Shaw and W. Poor (not present this evening) conducted the inspection of this property on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. The owner was not present to accompany the inspectors. The property is owned by Mark Bean/Bean’s Homes Inc. and located at 210 Windy Hill Drive, Parcel #1782 and contains 1.02 acres. The highest and best use of the property is residential. The type of land is an unimproved, wooded lot. Access to the property is good with a paved road and access to Town water and sewer. The current appraisal is for $58,000.00. Grievance to the Lister’s resulted in no change. The recommendation of the inspection team is to leave the appraisal as is at $58,000.00. The inspection team voted unanimously 3 to 0 to leave the appraisal unchanged. A motion was made by M. Candon to accept the recommendation of the inspectors and leave the appraisal at $58,000.00. A second to the motion was made by W. Drummond. The BCA voted unanimously 8 to 0 to leave the appraisal as is at $58,000.00. This hearing adjourned at 6:10.

Charles Shaw, BCA Chair

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Helen McKinlay, Town Clerk

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DRAFT

3. Peter Hadeka, William Greene & Derek Saari Revocable Living Trust, Parcel 1196, located at 1700 Old Hubbardton Road

C. Shaw asked if any member of the BCA had a conflict of interest or had any ex parte communication with regard to the Hadeka, Greene & Saari property. H. McKinlay stated she had ex parte communications in regard to this property. H. McKinlay was excused from this hearing.

C. Shaw indicated to Board of Civil Authority received a packet of information from the Appellants, P. Hadeka, W. Greene and D. Saari. The property was described as a 26-acre lot, Parcel 1196 located at 1700 Old Hubbardton Road.
P. Hadeka and D. Saari, Appellants and Nicholas Michael, Lister and Liz Willis were given the witness’s oath, 12 V.S.A. § 5810.

C. Shaw indicated that the Board of Civil Authority received a letter from P. Hadeka, B. Greene and D. Saari. C. Shaw explained the hearing process to the Appellants.

The property was described as 26.1-acre parcel located at 1700 Old Hubbardton Road, Parcel ID # 1196. D. Saari stated he felt the House site should be reviewed as the property does not have power, is not buildable, and does not receive any town services. Children living at this property would have to be driven to and from school or pay tuition to another school in the area. Vast trails run through the property and creates an iced over crust on the road making this portion of the road not accessible during winter months. D. Saari presented copies of their grievance packet to the Board of Civil Authority to be listed as A-1. Additional evidence was given: VAST information as A-2, Lister’s Handbook as A-3, and Comparable properties as A-4. P. Hadeka and D. Saari reiterated they do not have access to any municipal services. D. Saari stated he felt the Town should have a new Zoning district for properties above 1400 feet in elevation. The Appellants property is at an elevation 2,100 feet. Due to the nature of this property the Appellants were unable to find any comparable property.

N. Michael distributed a packet to the BCA which included Lister’s worksheets, Letter of Grievance from the Appellant to Listers, Letter of Grievance from Appellant to the BCA, Listers Card for Subject Property dated July 2019, and Listers Card dated April 2019, which were logged in as L-1. N. Michael gave an overview of the property which is a 26.1-acre lot. The Listers position is the Appellant has not met the burden of proof as outlined in the Lister’s handbook.

M. Candon asked the Appellants what the purchase price was of the property. P. Hadeka replied they paid $42,000.00 in May, 2017. This is $1604.00 an acre. M. Candon asked what the Appellants thought the property was worth. D. Saari replied he felt an assessment of $13,000.00, which would be $500.00 an acre which would be a fair price.

C. Shaw stated to P. Hadeka and D. Saari, Appellants they would be contacted by an inspection team to visit the property at 1700 Old Hubbardton Road. C. Shaw also stated they would be notified in writing within the next 45 days of the BCA findings.

The hearing recessed at 8:25 p.m. until July 30, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. to hear the inspection reports for the Inspection Team of M. Candon, B. Drummond and P. Candon.

The hearing was reconvened at 6:10 p.m. to hear the inspection report from Team A: M. Candon, P.Carter and W. Drummond. BCA members present were Craig Pelkey, William Drummond, Patricia Carter, Matthew Candon, Ernie Clerihew, Charles Shaw, Alicia Malay and Helen McKinlay. Also present were Elizabeth Willis. Inspection of Parcel #1196 owned by P. Hadeka, W. Greene and D. Saari was conducted on July 19, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. The property is located on Bidde’s Knob and contains 26.10 acres. The highest and best use of the property is as a wood lot. The type of land is steep mountain side and wet lands. Access to the property is a VAST trail. The current appraisal is for $42,000.00. Grievance to the Listers resulted in no change. It is the opinion and recommendation of the inspectors that the appraisal be lowered to $25,800.00. The inspection team, A Team voted unanimously 3 to 0 to lower the appraisal to $25,800.00. A motion was made by C. Pelkey to lower the appraisal as recommended by the inspection team to $25,800.00. C. Shaw made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously 7 to 0; H. McKinlay was unable to vote on this motion.

The meeting adjourned at 6:15 p.m.

Charles Shaw, BCA Chair

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Elizabeth Willis, Assistant Town Clerk

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