Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, in the case of In Re: Appeal of the Bethlen Home of the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America from the Westmoreland County Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes, No. 4143 of 1987.
Debra M. Nicholson, with her, Aaron M. Kress, for appellant.
Richmond H. Ferguson, with him, Pamela H. Ferguson, for appellee.
Judges Barry and Smith, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.
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The Westmoreland County Board of Assessment (Board) appeals from an order of the Court of Common
[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 317]
Pleas of Westmoreland County which sustained the tax exemption claim of Bethlen Home of the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America (Bethlen).
Bethlen is a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation that owns approximately 160 acres of land in Ligonier Township, Westmoreland County, on which is a nursing home which provides intermediate and advanced nursing care,*fn1 and a number of retirement cottages, each containing two separate living units. In 1986, the County assessed the seven retirement cottages and the land on which they were erected for real estate taxes.*fn2 Bethlen appealed this assessment to the Board which denied the appeal. It then appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County which sustained the appeal and held that the retirement cottages were tax exempt. This appeal by the Board followed.
Bethlen claimed exemption pursuant to Article VIII, Section 2(a)(v) of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania*fn3 and Section 204(a)(3) of The General County Assessment Law (Law), Act of May 22, 1933, P.L. 853, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5020-204(a)(3), which provides:
(a) The following property shall be exempt from all county, borough, town, township, poor, and school tax, to-wit:
(3) All hospitals, universities, colleges, seminaries, academies, associations and institutions of learning, ...