Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in case of Pittsburgh Des Moines Steel Company v. The Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review of Allegheny County et al., No. G.D. 84-16931, dated April 30, 1985.
Vincent A. Tucceri, Gaitens & Tucceri, P.C., for appellant.
Leonard M. Mendelson, with him, Andrew Raynovich, Hollinshead and Mendelson, for appellee.
Judges MacPhail and Colins, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Kalish.
[ 103 Pa. Commw. Page 62]
Appellant, Neville Township (Township) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which fixed the fair market value of property belonging to Pittsburgh Des Moines Steel Company (company), appellee, at $4,416,000. We affirm.
The company owned six parcels of land composed of 59.595 acres on which was located a steel manufacturing plant. In July, 1982, also on a real estate tax assessment appeal, the trial court had determined the fair market value of five of the six parcels of the subject property to be $7,700,000 for each of the years 1980, 1981, and 1982. This Court, in an opinion written by Judge Craig, affirmed the assessment holding that the trial court's determination of fair market value was based on competent and relevant evidence. Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Co., Inc. v. McLaughlin, 77 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 565, 466 A.2d 1092 (1983).
[ 103 Pa. Commw. Page 63]
In the present case, the Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review of Allegheny County (Board) assessed the cumulative fair market value of all six parcels of land for the years 1984 and 1985 at $9,814,300. The company appealed, and the trial court then fixed the fair market value of all six parcels of land at $4,416,000.
At the instant trial, the Board introduced into evidence this fair market value of $9,814,300, and rested. Using the market data (comparable sales) approach to valuation, the company's expert testified as to the sales of three comparable properties which were used in the 1982 trial, and none of the sales were later than the 1982 trial.
The Township objected to the use of this testimony on the basis of collateral estoppel and/or res judicata, and contended that in order to use any other sales in 1982, or in prior years, the owner must show a change of circumstances.
The trial court excluded the sales of 1979 and 1980 as being too remote, but allowed the sales for year 1982 as the most recent sales. In its opinion, the trial court indicated that it did not consider the opinion of the trial court that fixed the 1982 assessment.
The fact that an expert may use the market data (comparable sales) approach does not relieve the trial court of its responsibility to control the admission of valuation evidence. Commonwealth v. 108.3 Acres of Land, 431 Pa. 341, 246 A.2d 124 (1968). A review of the record shows that Judge Scheib, the trial judge, correctly perceived this. A sale of comparable property, if not too remote in time, has probative value and is admissible in evidence to determine the fair market value of the subject property. The effect to be ...