Appeal from Common Pleas Court, Allegheny County, Honorable Ralph H. Smith, Jr.
Richard T. Wentley, with him, E.W. Seifert and Amy Acheson, Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, Pittsburgh, for appellant, Y.M.C.A. of Pittsburgh.
S. Michael Streib, with him, Leonard M. Mendelson, Hollinshead and Mendelson, Pittsburgh, for appellee, County of Allegheny.
D.R. Pellegrini, City Sol., for appellee, City of Pittsburgh.
Robert A. Mills, with him, Elizabeth A. Dougherty and James L. Fritz, McNees, Wallace & Nurick, Harrisburg, for amicus curiae, Y.M.C.A. of U.S.A.
Stewart M. Weintraub, Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen, Philadelphia, for amicus curiae, American Jewish Congress.
Crumlish, Jr., President Judge, Colins, Judge and Barbieri, Senior Judge.
The Young Men's Christian Association of Pittsburgh (YMCA) appeals an Allegheny County Common Pleas Court order denying a property tax exemption for its facility known as the "Downtown Y."*fn1 We vacate and remand.
The YMCA applied for exemption from real estate taxation with the Board of Property Assessment Appeals and Review of Allegheny County (Board) for its newly constructed downtown facility; after hearing, the Board granted the exemption. The City of Pittsburgh appealed that decision to the common pleas court which remanded the case to the Board for an additional hearing. The County of Allegheny intervened in the proceeding on remand. The Board subsequently classified approximately eighty-six percent of the "Downtown Y's" tax assessment as exempt and approximately fourteen percent as taxable. On appeal, the common pleas court held that the facility did not function as a "purely public charity" and thus did not qualify to any extent for tax-exempt status.
[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 73]
Article VIII, Section 2 of the Pennsylvania Constitution provides:
(a) The General Assembly may by law exempt from taxation:
(v) Institutions of purely public charity, but in the case of any real property tax exemptions only that portion of real property of such institution which is actually and regularly used for the purposes of the institution.
In accordance with this constitutional authority, the General Assembly enacted The General County Assessment Law, Act of May 22, 1933, P.L. 853, as amended, 72 P.S. §§ ...