Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County in case of In Re: Appeal of Calvary Fellowship Homes, Inc., from the Lancaster County Board of Assessment Appeal -- Tax Parcel Nos. 39-12K2-1-16, 39-12K2-1-34 and 39-12K2-1-20, Municipality; Manheim Township; Assessment for the Year 1978; Property of Calvary Fellowship Homes, Inc., Trust Book No. 44, Page 175.
Paul K. Allison, with him Allison and Pyfer, for appellant.
Stephen Kraybill, with him Charles B. Grove, Jr., and Blakinger, Grove & Chillas, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Blatt, DiSalle and MacPhail. Judges Crumlish, Jr. and Craig did not participate. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 486]
After a careful review of the record and consideration of the briefs and arguments of counsel, we will affirm the order of the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas on the opinion of Judge Eckman entered in Trust Book No. 44 at page 175, in the office of the Prothonotary of Lancaster County as follows:
"Before the Court is an appeal by Calvary Fellowship Homes, Inc. (Calvary) from the decision of the Lancaster County Board of Assessment Appeals denying Calvary tax exempt status for three parcels of land and the improvements thereon. Both parties have accepted the Appellant's Affidavit of Facts by stipulation.
"Calvary is a non-profit corporation originally created to provide housing for adult individuals in need, particularly retired ministers and missionaries who had devoted their lives to serving others in the missionary
[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 487]
and pastoral fields. Over the years, Calvary has expanded its facilities and now takes on as guests members of various religious sects and denominations, offering all of its residents various social and recreational activities.
"The present appeal involves whether cottage type units, which Calvary has built to offer a wider range of residential facilities, should be the subject of a charitable exemption from real estate taxation for County, Township and School tax purposes.
"Prior to 1976 the cottages, together with all other Calvary property were deemed tax exempt. In 1976 the exemption was removed with respect to the cottages, and the total assessed value for the land and improvements of the three parcels in question stands at $136,370.00 for the year 1978. The tax exempt status of the remainder of Calvary's land is not in dispute.
"The cottages are intended to be part of Calvary's overall retirement program but are designed to enable those people who are able to take care of themselves to do so as long as they are able. Prospective cottage residents must fill out the same application form used for other prospective residents which requests information concerning, inter alia, the applicant's physical and mental condition, his religious affiliation, and financial condition. Upon approval, a substantial initial sum, termed a 'founder's fee' is required. The pleadings reveal that this fee ranges from $25,000.00 to $36,000.00, normally representing 80% of the cost of construction of the cottage. Upon termination of the occupancy, either by death or transfer to the 'home facilities,' any future occupant must likewise pay the founder's ...