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03-06-08 Minutes
March 6, 2008

The Board of Assessment Appeals met on Thursday, March 6, 2008.  Members present were Betty Richards and David Harma.  The meeting was called to order at 6:50 p.m.

The following appeals were heard by David Harma.

Watkins, Delmhorst, Woviotis, DeVries – Meadow Ave.
Mr. Delmhorst stated this is not a building lot.  It has the septic system that serves four other properties that are not contiguous.  He feels the per acre cost is too high.  He compared the property with 9 and 15 Meadow Avenue.

Young, Lynn & David – 148 & 164 Wamphassuc Road
Ms. Young feels the assessment should be based on market value and comparable neighborhood value.  They had to buy the second lot to be able to build the house they wanted.  They have a partial view.  She feels the property across the street is more desirable.  She feels they should have a reduction because of the topography and the fact that they had to build an odd shaped house to fit the lot. She compared her lots with the lots north of her that have better views but are assessed less.

Woods, Robert & Karen – 12 Smith St.
Mr. Woods compared his land value to the adjoiners.  14 Smith Street is larger lot but not assessed much more.  9 Smith Street is similar but assessed less than his.  He questioned whether across the street should be a different neighborhood.  The cottage needs a new roof and the 2 family needs to replace part of the roof; both houses need general repairs.  He feels the cottage square foot cost should not be higher than the 2 family.

Eyles Thomas & Kathleen – 48 Collins Rd.
The Eyles’ feel the land assessment is acceptable.  The house is not historical.  It has been changed and is no longer an historic house.  It has no insulation and is in the process of being reshingled.  There is no central hall and has a bad layout on the second floor.  The Board in prior years lowered the grade from X to C and the condition is poor.  They have done maintenance but no major updates.

66 Collins Road
This house was a chicken coop.  You can’t stand up in part of the house.  The land has four terraces so they can’t expand.  The bedroom and baths are in the basement level and have no windows.

CMPS Multi Media Marketing – Personal Property
Mr. Labbe stated they have moved to 12 Roosevelt and have been having problems with the mail and did not receive their personal property declaration.  They had in the old office as of the assessment date two phones costing $100; one desk cost $100; Chair cost $39; cabinet cost $50; printer $100 (all purchased new) and a laptop @ $800 which is a few years old.  All the rest of the furniture was provided by the landlord, Suzanne Meader.

Dharma Jewel – Personal Property
David Kennedy represented the business.  They filled out the form but failed to mail it in;  he submitted a personal property declaration.

Callahan, Evelyn – 14 Wall Street
Mr. Callahan said there is marsh in back of house.  He feels he can’t add onto the house so he feels he shouldn’t be charged for anything over a building lot.

Donovan, Diane – 33 Clarence Avenue
Ms. Donovan stated with it rains it floods and backs up into the house.  This happens at lease two times a year.  The house is built on ledge.  Across the street pumps into the street which makes matters worse.  The septic is under the driveway and sometimes backs up into the tub.  She compared her house to 24
Stewart Rd; twice the land and bigger house.  18 Stewart Road is twice the land and a bigger house.  She also compared to 30, 34 and 54 Clarence Avenue.  The house was on the market for a year for $440,000 with no interest.

Forgue Thomas & Sherry – 1284 Pequot Trail
They were represented by David Forgue.  They submitted an appraisal dated May 31, 2007 at $390,000.  The mortgage was done for a refinancing.

Lamphere Chester & Cora – 4 River Crest Dr.
Mr. Lamphere stated his property was not part of the subdivision.  His house is 2x4 construction.  He has electric heat.  He showed pictures of the inside of his house.

Pozonyi, Laszlo – 8-10 Bayview Avenue & 12 Bayview Avenue
He compared his property to others in the neighborhood.  Some have two times the living area than him but are assessed a only a little more.  He once listed with Russ Real Estate in 2004 for $350,000 but the best offer was $325,000.  It is located next to the mill.  He feels the increase is too much.

Madison, Rita – 14 Whitehall Landing
The unit next door for sale.  They are asking $399,000.  It’s a two bedroom.  She feels the market value should be based on square footage.

Richartz, Frederick – 43 Wamphassuc Rd.
His property has a lot of wetlands and water comes up very close to the house.  The land is mostly mud and marsh grass. In 2002 Ed Piver inspected the property and said it was about half tidal wetlands.  In 2002 he received a big reduction from Vision but only a small reduction this time.  He has the least amount of useable land making it the highest per acre price.  He compared his property to 52 Wamphassuc Rd.

Wicks, Thad & Martha – 25 Rose Ridge Dr.
Mr. Wicks concern is with the house primarily.  The second floor is not of high quality.  The first floor was done by the builder but the second floor was done by high school kids.  Mr. Wicks showed pictures.  The addition, family room, is on pilings and has sunk 1 ¼”.  It has inferior shingles and leaks.  He also showed pictures of the garage.  The house has electric heat and a gas stove.  There is no basement because he is located on ledge.  He also made a square footage comparison.

Wyper, Thompson & Holt, Carol – 57 Boulder Avenue
Ms. Holt argument is based on a zoning issue.  Everyone on Lords Point needs a variance to make changes.  The zoning has messed up everyone.  The property is 8’ above sea level and she has a V zone issue.  She is having a major insurance issue.  She bought at the peak of the market and they over paid.  The house behind her has a better view and is higher up and doesn’t need variances to make changes.  She has been in court for over two years.  She compared her property to Latimer Point and 145 Wamphassuc Rd. which is more exclusive.  She feels she is $280,000 too high.  The house is the oldest in the neighborhood and was originally a general store.  Only one bedroom has a closet; the other bedrooms have no doors.  The floors are warped and the house is partially insulated.

Christian, Jeffrey & Karen – 48 Tipping Rock Rd.
They had an appraisal done to replace the roof on the house.  They compared themselves to the other property on the road.  A lot of the houses on the road have made improvements but they have not.  9 Tipping Rock Road is bigger, and has been upgraded and the assessment dropped.  

Green, Aaron & Giambarrolomei-Green, Christine – 18 Richmond Lane
Their argument is with the land value.  They are waterfront but the land has limiting conditions.  They have low elevations.  They can’t increase the footprint of the house.   Other neighbors have higher elevations.  When low tide they have no water.  He compared himself to the four neighbors to the north of his properties.

Latimer Rock LLC – 142 Latimer Point Rd.
Ed Lally represented the LLC.  They are the largest on Latimer Point.  A lot of the lot is V10 zone.  The property has restricted use.  He submitted a report and pictures.  The septic system is located in front of the house.  The tank sits on ledge.  It’s a seasonal house; they have no choice.  The utility of the property is not good.  Since the house can not be expanded the value of the property is less.  The replacement cost of the house is too high.  He showed pictures of the interior of the house.  It has an outside shower.

Morrow, Sandra – 126 Latimer Point Rd.
Ed Lally represented Ms. Morrow.  He read her letter to the David Harma and stated that the argument is much the same as Latimer Rock LLC.

Mystic Fire District – multiple properties
Hope Brayton represented the district.  She stated that part of the properties are tax exempt and money earned on the taxable property is used for upkeep of the exempt areas.

25 Cottrell St. 182-3-2
The house has small bedrooms and no washer/dryer hookups.  It is currently empty.

182-1-13 care 1 of 3 – Scott Center
This building is not above average.  One wall was originally an interior wall and now leaks.  The UUS area – basic crawl space – center has head space only (like a hall).  The office section has a shared bathroom so they can’t get high rents.

182 -1-13 2 of 3
UST section is just a cover to an oil tank and not storage space.  Scuttle Butt is spelt with two t’s and the Mystic River Park office is in this building.

182-1-13 3 of 3
She questioned if the rest rooms were exempt.  The TQS part of the building has no heat.  Kodak Photo is no longer in the building.  St. Pierre Photo is now located here.

The following appeals were heard by Betty Richards:

WORMSER, Andrew – 21 Harmony Street
Mr. Wormser feels the value is too high on the property. At least 1/3 of the land is a tidal wetland, causing the wooden fence to rot frequently and the house to flood in 1962.  By law, the new portion of the house had to be elevated. Mr. Wormser estimated the value of his property at $732,000.

EYLES, Kathleen & Thomas – Miller Street & Maplewood Lane
Miller Street - Attorney Maria Ackley represented Mr. Eyles. There are two lots on Miller Street and both are vacant. The property is land locked and has no access. The lots are wet and they flood.  The assessment on one lot on Miller St. (78-2-1A) increased 1008%. Mr. Eyles estimates the value of this lot at $10,000. The other lot (78-2-1) increased 324% and Mr. Eyles estimates the value at $25,000.

Maplewood Lane – This is the only raised ranch in the Borough. There is flooding on the property.  Attorney Ackley submitted comps for other vacant lots.

ANDERSON, Charles ETAL – 711 Stonington Road
Fred Anderson stated they had converted a barn loft into a living area to accommodate a resident caretaker. He feels the assessment for this conversion is too high. The use of the property did not change. The assessment went from $120,000 to $160,000.

STRITAR, Jeffrey & Susan – 49 Kidds Way
Mr. Stritar feels the land is assessed too high. This conversion did not change the use although the land value now reflects a new use.  The assessment for the loft conversion is too high. He would estimate the value of the building at $583,940 and the land $219,620. He submitted a list of comparisons.

HARRISON, John – 71 Castle Hill Road & Davis Avenue
71 Castle Hill Road - Mr. Harrison feels the dwelling has been assessed too high. He submitted comps.  The house next door is almost identical and its assessment was less.  Mr. Harrison estimated the value of the dwelling between $350,000 - $400,000.

Davis Avenue – Mr. Harrison said the property is all wetlands and is located in the low area of two higher elevations.  It is an unbuildable lot and he estimates the value at $5,000.

MCQUADE, Michael & Diane – 114 Riverside Drive
Attorney Frank Eppinger & Robert Silverstein were present with Mr. McQuade to represent him. Mr. McQuade feels his value is too high.  Attorney Eppinger said the property was purchased in 2005 by the McQuades for $850,000. The new assessment is a 57% increase since 2005.  The appraisal and sale document were submitted. They also submitted comps from the neighborhood. Property located on the Pawcatuck River should be valued less than property on Long Island Sound.

RAMPELLINI, Kathryn – 6 Chesebro Lane
Ms. Rampellini feels the assessment is too high. She submitted comps with her petition and also an appraisal.  She would estimate the value at $265,000.

PUTNAM, Joseph & Mary – Lot on Hewitt Road
Mr. Putnam feels his assessment is too high. He submitted a letter from Joseph Larkin, Zoning Enforcement Officer and a copy of an e-mail from Greg Erb, an appraiser. The property is unbuildable and land locked.  There is a deeded right-of-way.
VIERING, Peter – 81 Tipping Rock Road
Mr. Viering believes his value is too high. He submitted a comparative market analysis and a list of properties for sale in Stonington, several which have dropped their asking price. He would estimate the value of his property between $575,000-$590,000.

SISCO, James – 221 Lantern Hill Road
Mr. Sisco feels his value is too high. He submitted comps and pictures of his property. He would estimate the value at $175,000.

O”LEARY Martha Kent, Trustee – 4 Wilbur Road
Martha Kent O’Leary represented the trust. She estimates the value at $1,000,000.  There are wetlands on the property. Ms. O’Leary submitted a summary of her estimate of the property.

WILLIAMS, Todd & Debra – 123 Dawley Drive
Mr. Williams believes his assessment is too high. He feels both the land and dwelling need to be adjusted. He submitted comps and would estimate the value of the property at $525,000.

D’ESTANG, Nancy – 34 Clipper Drive
Ms. D’Estang believes her assessment is too high. Her waterfront is a dredged, man-made, narrow cove off the Mystic River; which makes it less desirable than river frontage and diminishes her views. She would estimate the value at $820,000.

HABIB, Linda – 2 Quanaduck Road
Ms. Habib believes her assessment is too high. She would estimate the value at $952,000.  There are wetlands on the east side of the property.  She submitted a list of comps at the hearing.

GILLESPIE, Julian & Heather – 213 Farmholme Road
Mr. Gillespie believes there was some confusion when the new assessment was done. He feels the assessment didn’t take into consideration that the purchase price was for two lots. He submitted comps at the hearing.

GAGNE, Keith & Tawny – 8 Dunns Court
Mr. Gagne believes the description and grade of the house are incorrect.  Because the house is a saltbox with a dormer at the rear, the square footage on the second floor is only 965 square feet.  The first floor has 1,085 square feet.  Mr. Gagne showed photos of the extensive water damage throughout the house caused by plumbing leaks.  He noted also that settling problems have resulted in severe cracking.

SADOWSKI, Barbara – 3 Lois Court
Donald Sadowski said they feel the value is too high for both the house and the property. He would estimate the value at $404,728. There are several discrepancies with the measurements on the street card and what the measurements actually are. Mr. Sadowski feels the topography should be taken into account. There is very little flat useable space. The property also abuts a commercial zone.  He submitted pictures and comps.

Fred & Robert Valenti and Whitehall Mansion Partners LLC did not appear for their appointment.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen Palmer