Tyler's Cove Ass'n, Inc. v. Town of Middlebury, 16196

CourtAppellate Court of Connecticut
Citation44 Conn.App. 517,690 A.2d 412
Decision Date18 March 1997
Docket NumberNo. 16196,16196

Page 412

690 A.2d 412
44 Conn.App. 517
No. 16196.
Appellate Court of Connecticut.
Argued Dec. 2, 1996.
Decided March 18, 1997.

Robert W. Smith, for appellant-appellee (defendants).

James E. Hartley, Jr., with whom, on the brief, was Kathleen A. St. Onge, Waterbury, for appellees-appellants (plaintiff).


[44 Conn.App. 518] LANDAU, Judge.

The defendants appeal and the plaintiff cross appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff on its complaint seeking a reduction in the amount of the assessment and tax on a parcel of real property. On appeal, the defendants claim that the trial court improperly (1) ordered a reduction in the assessed fair market value of the condominium units, (2) admitted into evidence the plaintiff's expert witness' appraisal,

Page 413

and (3) found the subject parcel overvalued. On cross appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly (1) found that the tax on the subject parcel was not manifestly excessive, (2) failed to find that the assessor failed to apportion the value of the land among the respective condominium units, and (3) found that the board and the assessor did not predetermine the assessed land value. We affirm the judgment of the trial court in part and reverse the judgment in part.

The trial court found the following facts. The plaintiff, Tyler's Cove Association, Inc., consists of thirty-eight owners of individual cottages situated on approximately 16.5 acres of land located in the town of Middlebury. 1 Prior to 1987, the individual unit owners did not own the land on which each unit was situated, but leased it on a year to year basis from the owner. In 1987, the unit owners formed a corporation, Tyler's Cove, Inc., and purchased the 16.5 acre parcel of land for $1.926 million. In 1989, Tyler's Cove, Inc., conveyed the 16.5 acres to Tyler's Cove Association, Inc., the plaintiff in this matter. Each unit owner now owns one thirty-eighth of the common elements, which includes the land. Following the recording of the condominium declaration in 1989, the town, through the board of tax [44 Conn.App. 519] review, assessed each unit with a land assessment of approximately $18,000.

Sometime prior to October 1, 1992, the defendant Edmund Corapinski, the tax assessor of the town of Middlebury, undertook the process of revaluation of all real property in the town. The defendant town of Middlebury hired a revaluation company, Lesher-Glendinning Municipal Services, Inc., whose president is John J. Valente, to assist with the revaluation. Corapinski and Valente used the comparable sales method approach to establish the fair market value of all real estate in Middlebury, including the thirty-eight condominium units at Tyler's Cove. In valuing the land, they used the residual value approach method, which involved subtracting the cost of the building from the fair market value; the residual value was the "condominium interest value," which included the land value. During the Tyler's Cove revaluation, Corapinski and Valente used field cards to gather information and to determine the fair market value. The field cards included a section for the building value and also a section for the land value, which Corapinski claimed was used solely for informational purposes. The resulting tax assessment figures were placed on the grand list as the final step in the revaluation process.

The total fair market value on the October 1, 1992 grand list, of the thirty-eight Tyler's Cove units and the 16.5 acres on which they are located, was $4,545,600. The plaintiff appealed the October 1, 1992 grand list to the board of tax review and the board reduced the value of each unit at Tyler's Cove by $5000. For the subsequent grand lists of October 1, 1993 and 1994, the town assessed taxes on Tyler's Cove units in accordance with the board's modified value. The plaintiff appealed from both grand lists, but the board refused to make any further reductions. The October 1, 1993 and October 1, 1994 grand lists are the subject of this appeal.

[44 Conn.App. 520] The plaintiff filed an appeal in the trial court pursuant to General Statutes §§ 12-117a 2 and

Page 414

12-119 3 from the [44 Conn.App. 521] decision of the board refusing to reduce the assessment of its property in 1993. The plaintiff amended its complaint to include the October 1, 1994 grand list. In its complaint, the plaintiff alleged in counts two and four, for 1993 and 1994 respectively, brought pursuant to § 12-117a, that it was aggrieved by the decision of the board and in counts one and three, for 1993 and 1994 respectively, brought pursuant to § 12-119, that the assessment was manifestly excessive. In the demand for relief, the plaintiff sought a reduction of the assessed values.

The trial court found for the plaintiff on counts two and four, the § 12-117a counts, and for the defendants on counts one and three, the § 12-119 counts. This appeal and cross appeal followed.


The defendants first claim that the trial court improperly ordered a reduction in the fair market value of the Tyler's Cove units. We agree.

In an appeal from a board of tax review pursuant to § 12-117a, "[t]he function of the trial court is to determine the true and actual value of the plaintiff's property. Dickau v. Glastonbury, 156 Conn. 437, 441, 444, 242 A.2d 777 [1968]; Burritt Mutual Savings Bank v. New Britain, 146 Conn. 669, 673, 154 A.2d 608 [1959].... Executive Square Ltd. Partnership v. Board of Tax Review, 11 Conn.App. 566, 570, 528 A.2d 409 (1987)." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Heather Lyn Ltd. Partnership v. Griswold, 38 Conn.App. 158, 164, 659 A.2d 740 (1995). The law contemplates, however, "that a wide discretion is to be accorded to assessors, and unless their action is discriminatory or so unreasonable that property is substantially overvalued and thus injustice and illegality result, their opinion and judgment should control in the determination of value for taxation [44 Conn.App. 522] purposes." Stamford Apartments Co. v. Stamford, 203 Conn. 586, 589, 525 A.2d 1327 (1987).

In a tax appeal, the trial court hears the case de novo and makes an independent valuation of the subject property. Id., at 588, 525 A.2d 1327. " 'The conclusions reached by the trial court must stand unless they are legally or logically inconsistent with the facts found or unless they involve the application of some erroneous rule of law.' " Reynaud v. Winchester, 35 Conn.App. 269, 274, 644 A.2d 976 (1994), quoting Newbury Commons Ltd. Partnership v. Stamford, 226 Conn. 92, 100, 626 A.2d 1292 (1993).

"In an appeal ... from a board of tax review, the court performs a double function. The court must first determine whether the plaintiff has met his burden of establishing

Page 415

that he is, in fact, aggrieved by the action of the board. Only when the court finds that the action of the board will result in the payment of an unjust and, therefore, illegal tax, can the court proceed to exercise its broad discretionary power to grant such relief as is appropriate." Gorin's, Inc. v. Board of Tax Review, 178 Conn. 606, 608, 424 A.2d 282 (1979); Grossomanides v. Wethersfield, 33 Conn.App. 511, 515, 636 A.2d 867 (1994).

Some additional facts are necessary for the resolution of this issue on appeal. As a result of the revaluation conducted during 1991-1992, the total value of the assessment for all thirty-eight condominiums and amenities relative thereto as valued by the town on October 1, 1993, was $4,545,600. 4 Corapinski and Valente used regular residential field cards, which allow for 200 [44 Conn.App. 523] entries or items, as opposed to standard condominium field cards, which provide for only thirty entries or items, because the Tyler Cove units were more like individual houses or cottages than condominiums. On the field cards there are, inter alia, values entered for fair market value of the unit and the amenities, assessed value (70 percent of fair market value), building value and land value. The plaintiff's main disagreement with the revaluation is that a substantial portion of each condominium's value is listed under the entry of "land value." Of the thirty-eight units, the thirty lakefront units had a "land" value of $85,000 for each such unit, and the eight units that did not border the lake had a "land" value of $65,000. 5 The plaintiff contends that the town has valued the land on which the condominiums are located at a fair market value of $3,070,000.

The plaintiff's expert witness, Robert Nocera, conducted an appraisal of only the land on which the condominiums are situated. He testified that he could not find land in Middlebury that was approved for condominiums so he used comparable land approved for condominiums in other towns in the state. He further testified that he used land sales other than condominiums in Middlebury. Nocera concluded that the fair market...

To continue reading

Request your trial
9 cases
  • St. Joseph's Living Ctr. v. Town of Windham, 17916.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 24 Marzo 2009
    ...pass on the credibility of the witnesses." (Emphasis added; internal quotation marks omitted.) Tyler's Cove Assn., Inc. v. Middlebury, 44 Conn.App. 517, 527-28, 690 A.2d 412 (1997). In short, "[t]he conclusions of the trial court are to be tested by [its] finding[s]. State v. Perkins, 146 C......
  • McNeil v. Riccio, AC
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • 17 Junio 1997
    ...that a mistake has been committed...." (Citations omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Tyler's Cove Assn., Inc. v. Middlebury, 44 Conn.App. 517, 527-28, 690 A.2d 412 (1997). After a careful review of the record, we conclude that the trial court's factual findings are not clearly The ......
  • Wysocki v. Town of Ellington, 27427.
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • 22 Julio 2008
    ...valuation is at issue." (Citation omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Tyler's Cove Assn., 109 Conn.App. 295 Inc. v. Middlebury, 44 Conn.App. 517, 526, 690 A.2d 412 Here, the plaintiffs' claims are premised on the second category of § 12-119, which authorizes "claims that assessments......
  • Pitchell v. City of Hartford, 16267
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • 23 Septiembre 1997
    ...that a mistake has been committed...." (Citations omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Tyler's Cove Assn., Inc. v. Middlebury, 44 Conn.App. 517, 527-28, 690 A.2d 412 (1997). The plaintiff has failed to show that the trial court's findings as to Sargis' Connecticut residency or the fa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT