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SUMMIT HOUSE REAL PROPERTY ASSESSMENT APPEALS. CHESTER COUNTY BOARD ASSESSMENT APPEALS (12/30/75)

decided: December 30, 1975.

IN RE: SUMMIT HOUSE REAL PROPERTY ASSESSMENT APPEALS. CHESTER COUNTY BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS, APPELLANT, AND WEST CHESTER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, INTERVENING PARTY APPELLANT


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County in case of In Re: Summit House, No. 448 Miscellaneous, 1973.

COUNSEL

John S. Halsted, County Solicitor, with him Milton Apfelbaum, Assistant County Solicitor, and Susan P. Windle, Assistant County Solicitor, for appellant, Board of Assessment Appeals.

Lawrence E. MacElree, with him Ross A. Unruh, and, of counsel, MacElree, Harvey, Gallagher & Kean, Ltd., for intervening party appellant.

Thomas A. Riley, Jr., with him John C. Snyder, and Lentz, Riley, Cantor, Kilgore & Massey, Ltd., for appellees.

Robert S. Gawthrop, Jr., with him William H. Rivoir, Jr., and, of counsel, Gawthrop & Greenwood, for amicus curiae, East Goshen Township.

Sheldon M. Bonovitz, with him David B. Pudlin, and Duane, Morris & Heckscher, for amicus curiae, Tredyffrin/Easttown School District.

Roger B. Reynolds, Montgomery County Solicitor, for County of Montgomery.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 464]

This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County involving the real estate tax assessment of Summit House, a condominium apartment building located in East Goshen Township. Summit House consists of 106 apartment units separately owned pursuant to the Unit Property Act.*fn1 The unit owners argue that the assessed values of their individual apartments should be based upon values which can be assigned as a proportion of the total value of the entire building, which would be assessed as a whole in a manner similar to the assessment of non-condominium rental apartment buildings. Using such an assessment method, the owners say that the total assessed value of Summit House, with its separately owned units, would closely compare with the assessed value of similar apartment buildings with rented units.

The Chester County Board of Assessment Appeals (Board) assessed the apartment units of Summit House on the basis of the separate market value of each unit alone. According to this method of assessment, the assessed value of each unit would closely compare to the assessed value of other types of condominium property within the county, but the total assessed value of all of the units together would exceed the assessed value of similar rental apartment buildings. The 106 condominium owners in Summit House, therefore, appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County alleging that their assessments violated the uniformity clause of the Constitution of Pennsylvania.*fn2 The court below after taking evidence and finding merit in the argument of the owners, remanded the case to the Board so that the total of assessed values of the condominium apartment units could be made comparable to and uniform with the assessed

[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 465]

    values of similar rental apartment buildings. The appeal by the Board ...


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