261 N.W.2d 424 (S.D. 1978), 12001, Application of Veith, Application of

Docket Nº:12001, 12002.
Citation:261 N.W.2d 424
Party Name:In the Matter of the APPLICATION OF William G. VEITH and Norma Veith for Abatement of Taxes. In the Matter of the APPLICATION OF Stephen N. HAAS and Judith C. Haas for Abatement of Taxes.
Case Date:January 16, 1978
Court:Supreme Court of South Dakota
 
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Page 424

261 N.W.2d 424 (S.D. 1978)

In the Matter of the APPLICATION OF William G. VEITH and Norma Veith for Abatement of Taxes. In the Matter of the APPLICATION OF Stephen N. HAAS and Judith C. Haas for Abatement of Taxes.

Nos. 12001, 12002.

Supreme Court of South Dakota.

January 16, 1978

Page 425

William H. Coacher, State's Atty., Sturgis, for appellant, Meade County, South Dakota.

Edward C. Carpenter, of Costello, Porter, Hill, Nelson, Heisterkamp & Bushnell, Rapid City, for respondents, William G. Veith and Norma Vieth; Stephen N. Haas and Judith C. Haas.

MORGAN, Justice.

This is a combined action to determine the validity of the county assessor's classification of certain lands in Meade County as nonagricultural. The taxpayers applied for abatements which the Meade County Commissioners denied. Appeal was taken to the circuit court in and for Meade County where the cases were combined for trial. The trial court held that the land was used exclusively for agricultural use and the abatements were granted. From these decisions the county has appealed, and the cases were again combined by stipulation. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

The respondents Veith, a retired Air Force officer and his wife, purchased two tracts in a development platted as Piedmont Meadows Ranchettes, which tracts comprised approximately thirty-one acres. They constructed a home on a portion of the property, consisting of two or three acres, fenced that portion off and leased the remainder out for grazing, until they purchased their own cattle.

The respondents Haas, likewise a retired Air Force officer and his wife, also purchased two tracts in the Piedmont Meadows Ranchettes adjacent to the Veith land. They also constructed a home on a portion of their property, the balance being fenced off and leased along with the Veith land. Veith and Haas combined in the cattle operation as partners with Veith apparently having the chief responsibility as full-time operator because Haas, who was a physician, went into practice in Rapid City. When they went into the cattle partnership they leased additional land, making a total grazing unit of approximately 145 acres.

The trial court entered findings of fact in each case which, in essence, found that the respective taxpayers had purchased the tracts solely for agricultural use and they had invested in equipment and livestock for use for...

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