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03-04-08 Minutes
March 4, 2008

The Board of Assessment Appeals met on Tuesday, March 4, 2008.  Members present were Stephen Palmer, Michele Contino and David Harma.  The meeting was called to order at 6:50 p.m.

The following appeals were heard by David Harma.

HARTUNIAN, ALBERT – 146 Palmer Neck Rd.
Mr. Hartunian feels his assessment is too high.  He can not use the water end of the property because it’s mostly wet.  He only has three good acres and the rest is swamp.  He can’t have any big boats because you can’t get them under the railroad tracks.  He showed pictures of his property.

JONES, CALVIN & MARY -  12 Billings Street
Mr. Jones feels the increase is too high compared to other homes on Billings Street, Asher Avenue and Star Court.  Their houses are bigger and have more bathrooms.  John Murray’s house across the street is the same kind of house.

LAAKSO, A. GREGORY & CANDACE – 25 Whitehall Avenue
The Laaksos’ were represented by Carol Barnes.  The condo is on the market for $259,900.  It’s been on the market for six months and has had no offers.  This condo is in the old house.  It is close to the street.  The basement is for storage only and is not functional.  The condos in the back of the property are new and have finished basements.  The fireplace is located out of the way and in a small room.

KEEGAN, JAMES – 19 Niles Rd.
Mr. Keegan was represented by Michael Wall.  One of the upstairs bedrooms is very small but does have a closet.  It would be hard to market house as a three bedroom home.  He feels the house is really a two bedroom with one being very small and an office (office has closet).  This property is located outside the Masons Island private section.  He feels Vision did not understand the difference between “inside the gates” and outside the gates.

DORY RUSSEL (Louise L.U.) – 22 Roseleah Drive
The property in this area of town increased 180% - 240%; far more than the town average.  At low tide there is no water and you can’t get a boat in or out of the cove.  There is no open view – just a view of the marina.  Next door is an eye sore.  They submitted an appraisal by Bob Silverstein who reviewed the appraisal.  The other side of the street has deep water and a better view.  This house is strictly seasonal.  It has no central heat; just a couple of electric heaters.  The house has no insulation.  They stressed the differences between number 22 and 29 Roseleah Drive.
24 Roseleah Drive
The Dorys’ have basically the same argument for this property as with 22 Roseleah Drive.  It is inferior waterfront.  They submitted pictures.

MARTLEY, WILLIAM – 61A Wilbur Road
Mr. Martley feels the increase from the last assessment is too high.  The Town provides no services; they do not plow the road.  His land has a lot of wetlands; part is underwater sometimes.  It is the oldest house on the road.

GEZARI, JANET – 9 Gold Street
Ms. Gezari submitted a portion of an appraisal done for a home equity loan dated May 2007.  The appraiser did an interior inspection of the property.  She requested a reduction to equal the value of her appraisal.

MYSTIC OIL CO INC – 66 Whitehall Avenue
Mr. Zelkin has made no improvements to the property since 1996.  Dunkin Donuts left the property December 2007.  He provided a list of revenue reduction from Dunkin Donuts for the last two years.  He stated he will provide more income and expense information for the Boards review.

OLSON, JULIE & ORKNEY NEIL – 159-161 River Rd.
Attorney David Camassar represented the property owners.  This is a waterfront property with two houses.  The carriage house is a new house that is very nice.  They bought the property January 2008 for $859,000.  A real estate agent told them the property was really worth $840,000.  The old house is assessed very high.  It is an old building in bad condition and needs to be gutted.  Atty. Camassar mentioned a sale at 5 Wamphassuc Rd. which occurred mid 2006 for $950,000.  He feels the assessment should be between $545,000 and $555,000.

GREENWALD, TROY – 1999 Lexus
This vehicle has 189,917 miles as of Sunday morning.  There are holes in the upholstery and many dents and scratches.

GREENWALD, TROY & KAREN – 51 Washington Street
Mr. Greenwald submitted an appraisal dated October 11, 2007 for $464,000.  However, the appraiser was not aware of the basement flooding.

PACKER, HARRY – 419 No. Stonington Rd.
Jason Packer represented Mr. Packer.  He submitted a letter from Joe Larkin stating the lot is nonbuildable.  He also submitted a copy of the reduction the Board of Assessment Appeals made in a previous year.

Mr. Poliner submitted an appraisal that was done on the property for State Tax and IRS purposes.  They accepted the appraisal.  There have been no sales for that area of town.  The house is not in good condition.  It was repainted after the assessment date.  The deck is rotting and needs to be replaced.  The house is on piers. The insurance on the property has increased an incredible amount.  The house has shutters on the waterfront side only.  The cost of repairing the sea wall was very high.

The following appeals were heard by Stephen Palmer:

HAZLIN, KENNETH & DOROTHY – 50 Borodell Avenue
Mrs. Hazlin feels their property value is too high. It has increased by 82% over the last revaluation. The market analysis completed by Prudential valued the property at $540,000. There cove is shallow water and there are two bridges over the cove. There are wetlands on the property and a deeded right-of-way on the west side of the property.

JOHNSEN, WALTER – Multiple properties
129 Wamphassuc Road:  Mr. Johnsen submitted a summary of the revaluation. Nothing has sold in the area for more than $2.5 million. The only thing that has been added is the pool. Mr. Johnsen stated 199 Wamphassuc Road is close in size to his property and it was assessed at much less. He feels $2.5 million is a more reasonable assessment.

12 Trumbull St., 14 Trumbull St., 161 Water St. and 129-3 Water St. -  Mr. Johnsen feels the values on these properties are too high. Each building has 4 apartments and two also have a commercial business. He submitted the income and expense reports for these properties and stated he feels an income approach is a better way to value the properties.

LOMBARDO, ANTHONY – Pauline Street & Robinson Street
Mr. Lombardo feels his property values should be reduced because the lots are unbuildable. He submitted a letter from Joseph Larkin stating Pauline Street is an unbuildable lot. The Robinson Street lot would need to have 10,000 sq. ft. in order to be a buildable lot. His assessment went up 51% with this revaluation.

Macdonald Love was present to represent William & Katherine Love.  They believe their property value is too high. There are no water views from the house and the grade of the house is not good. The property is also impacted by the church and the new fire house. Properties on Broad Street are more comparable with their property than properties on Main Street. Mr. Love asked the Board to check 34 Broad Street for a comparison.

MARCIANO, ROCCO – 22 Harbor View Terrace
Mr. Marciano believes his assessment is too high.  The property has no street frontage. It is accessed by a right-of-way. The house is 624 sq. feet. It is a non-conforming lot and the residence cannot be increased in size.

MASONS ISLAND COMPANY – Multiple Properties
28 School House Road – Rufus Allyn feels the value for this 1 acre lot is too high. It is unbuildable and tidal wetlands. He cannot get a permit for a septic system and the State of Connecticut will not give a waiver for test holes for a septic system. He estimates the value at $44,000.

32 School House Road – Mr. Allyn believes the assessment on this property is too high. He submitted an appraisal for the property. It is located in the coastal barrier area and has an elevation of only 4 feet. There is only ¼ to ½ acre of useable land.

180/1/3 – School House Road  -  Mr. Allyn feels the value on this property is too high. It is a tidal wetlands area. He submitted an appraisal for the property.

180/2/33 – Money Point Road – Mr. Allyn estimates the value on this property to be $1,000. There is a 15 ft. right-of-way for the water company on the property.

180/2/13 – Right-of-way – Mr. Allyn said this piece of property is a right-of-way. The new assessment if $10,000 and Mr. Allyn estimates the value at $800.

179/3/3 – Nauyaug Point Road -  This property is also a right-of-way for use by the residents. There are two docks located on the property and there is a sidewalk.  It cannot be sold because of the encumbrances on it. Mr. Allyn estimates the value at $12,000.

ORLANDO, MAURICE – 41 Riverside Drive
Michael Lenihan represented Mr. Orlando. He submitted a bank appraisal which valued the property at $975,000. It is waterfront property but the waterfront is on the river. Mr. Lenihan submitted several comps. He said there are better properties for the same money in better locations of Stonington.

PRINCESS PINE ESTATE – 50/4/15 - South Broad Street
Michael Lenihan represented Princess Pine Estate. The property is wetlands and it is an unbuildable lot.

Mr. Pages stated 750 sq. feet of the third quarter story is unfinished.  A permit was taken out but the work for that area was never done. He submitted pictures of the unfinished area.

Mike Contino heard the following appeals:

HOLDER SUZAN K – 188 Dawley Dr
John Holder represented his wife Suzan Holder. He is looking to reduce the land value only; which he feels is too high. He is looking to reduce the land value on the property to $120,000. He presented flood zone map of property that showed wetland delineations and the infringement boundary that cannot be built on or used.

They presented comparable values of acreage and price per square foot using Vision Appraisals values. They found inconsistencies in values in price per square foot in properties that are comparable. All have flat lots and some have better water views than their property and the other properties are valued at less than their property. Traffic flow is greater by his location; contends with truck traffic, sewer odors. Noted that information on the property card lists two sheds when they only have one. Would like one shed value to be removed from the property card. Noted the drop in real estate values and feels a reduction of 5% to the appraised value would be more consistent and equitable with surrounding properties.  Would like reason to be given when decision is made.

They are looking to reduce the appraised value. They presented an independent appraisal report, flood zone maps, and supporting documents of sales and pictures to comparable properties in area. They presented their calculations of what they think the house should be appraised at. The same builder built the houses in the area. Their house is smaller than some others; what they consider average for the neighborhood yet they are paying more. Questioned why the construction grade on their home was coded “very good” when at average it should be coded “good”. Estimates with current values that the appraised value should be $596,750.

The property is part of the Latimer Point condo association with approximately 70 homes. Only about 10-15 homes are year round homes; the rest are seasonal. This property is seasonal and there are many use restrictions so the home cannot be expanded, it is currently grandfathered in. There is no year round water, the property is zoned as wetlands. He stated that during high tide the water comes up to the stoop of his home, there is no cellar. Presented comparisons of properties with lower values. Questioned why the land value did not factor in for wetlands. Taking restrictions into consideration and wetlands he is looking for the appraised value to be reduced to $620,000.

Vacant land. Land is landlocked and Mr. McKenna feels there is little to no value to the land except to the abutters. The land has no right of way, no access, and it is a steep, sloping property. He presented pictures and map. Mr. McKenna estimates value of land at $500.

MORTENSEN, KIM B – Kibi & Co -Personal Property
Ms Mortensen said she had an idea that never came to be. She was going to make greeting cards, but did no more than establish the name of the company. She has no equipment, never purchased anything for the business and values the business at $0

O’CALLAHAN LOUISE AND JUAN – 40-44 Salt Acres Road
The property sits on 11 ¼ acres and there are 3 buildings. They are appealing the value of the main dwelling only. Their first meeting with Vision reduced the property by 8.5%. Presented documents to dispute new value and are looking for a further reduction. They feel that changing the cost market valuation of main dwelling to 20% would reduce the appraised value and put it more in line with other waterfront properties. They feel the replacement cost for the main building is incorrect. They think the documentation they supplied supports the request that the assessed value of main house be cut in half and valued at $250./sqft. $466/sqft for the main dwelling seems excessive to them. Their insurance company currently insures the replacement value of the dwelling at $1,614,000. They are looking to reduce the main dwelling replacement cost to $1,882,500 and would like to see the total assessed value for entire property be $3,597,250

PREVITY PETER J – Peter Previty Builders LLC – Personal Property
Mr. Previty said he was in business in RI but never in CT. He no longer is in business-no license, no business equipment. He never filed personal property with Stonington because he never was in business in CT. Would like the value and any penalties removed.

Howard Levin, Mystic River Real Estate LLC, Janet Orenstein, and Timothy Owens did not appear for their appointments.

The Board amended the minutes for the March 3, 2008 corrected the list of members present and then accepted the minutes unanimously.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned 9:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen Palmer