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COUNCIL ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT v. G.D.L. PLAZA CORPORATION (08/16/85)

decided: August 16, 1985.

COUNCIL ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT
v.
G.D.L. PLAZA CORPORATION, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in the case of G.D.L. Plaza Corporation v. Council Rock School District, No. 81-7169-14-5.

COUNSEL

John A. Vanluvanee, with him, Derek J. Reid and John N. Schaeffer, Eastburn and Gray, for appellant.

William M. Adshead, with him, Alfred J. Tagliaferri, Peck, Young & Van Sant, for appellee.

Judges Craig and MacPhail, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Judge Barry did not Participate in the decision in this case. Dissenting Opinion by Senior Judge Kalish.

Author: Macphail

[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 177]

The Council Rock School District (School District) appeals from the decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County which held that the G.D.L.

[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 178]

Plaza Corporation (GDL) was a "purely public charity" entitled to a tax exemption. We reverse.

On May 5, 1980, the School District adopted a residential construction tax resolution.*fn1 The resolution authorized the School District to collect a residential construction tax on all new construction taking place within the district at the rate of $875.00 for each residential unit.*fn2 GDL is a non-profit corporation which had planned to build*fn3 a housing complex for elderly and handicapped persons. GDL was taxed in the amount $97,125. GDL paid the tax "under protest", and then brought an action in equity to recover the monies paid, asserting that the GDL project was an institution of "purely public charity" and qualified for an exemption.*fn4

After a hearing, the trial court sustained GDL's appeal and held that GDL was a purely public charity entitled to tax exemption status. The instant appeal followed.

[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 179]

GDL is a non-profit corporation which built and now operates a housing complex for elderly and handicapped persons. The project was constructed in conformity with the provisions of Section 202 of the National Housing Act, 12 U.S.C. § 1701q. Seed money for the project, in the amount of $54,857.52, came from the G.D.L. Manor Corporation.*fn5 The project has one hundred and eleven (111) rental units contained in a single building, one hundred and ten (110) of which are rented by persons whose annual incomes average $18,000 . . . (for an individual) to $21,400 (for a couple).*fn6 Residents must be at least sixty-two (62) years of age and retired or handicapped or otherwise eligible to receive Social Security benefits. The residents receive rental supplements from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in accordance with a rent schedule established by HUD.*fn7

GDL claims exemption pursuant to Article VIII, Section 2 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania*fn8 and Section 204(a)(3) of the General County Assessment Law (Law), Act of May 22, 1933,

[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 180]

P.L. 853, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5020-204(a)(3), which provides ...


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