Welby Gardens Co. v. County, 01CA0307.

Citation56 P.3d 1121
Case DateJanuary 03, 2002
CourtCourt of Appeals of Colorado

56 P.3d 1121

WELBY GARDENS COMPANY, Petitioner-Appellee, and
Colorado Board of Assessment Appeals, Appellee,

No. 01CA0307.

Colorado Court of Appeals, Div. V.

January 3, 2002.

As Modified on Denial of Rehearing May 23, 2002.

Certiorari Granted October 28, 2002.

56 P.3d 1122
William A. McLain, P.C., William A. McLain, Denver, CO, for Petitioner-Appellee

No Appearance for Appellee.

James D. Robinson, Adams County Attorney, Jennifer Wascak Leslie, Assistant County Attorney, Brighton, CO, for Respondent-Appellant.

Opinion by Judge KAPELKE.

In this property tax case, respondent, Adams County Board of Equalization (the County), appeals the order of the Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA) determining that certain real property owned by the taxpayer, Welby Gardens Company, should be classified and valued as agricultural land for purposes of ad valorem taxation. We reverse.

The property at issue (the Property) consists of two parcels of land in Adams County, which are primarily used for greenhouses and greenhouse support buildings, including an 8000-square-foot retail garden center and a public parking area. A third parcel, which is leased to a third party and used for growing agricultural crops, is now conceded by the County to be agricultural land.

Taxpayer produces vegetables, flowers, and fruiting plant starts. Most of the products are grown in containers in the greenhouses; however, taxpayer also has a test field of approximately three acres in which

56 P.3d 1123
plants are grown in the ground. Taxpayer generally does not use the soil from the Property for the greenhouse containers. The environment of the greenhouses is regulated using water systems, humidity pads, fans, and heaters. The plants are primarily sold at wholesale; however, some sales are made at the on-site retail center (which is classified as commercial) and at another retail outlet

For the tax year 1999, the Adams County Assessor's Office classified and valued the Property as commercial land and improvements. Taxpayer appealed to the Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA). Relying on Morning Fresh Farms, Inc. v. Weld County Board of Equalization, 794 P.2d 1073 (Colo. App.1990), the BAA ruled that the Property should be classified as agricultural.


The County contends that the BAA's statutory interpretation is contrary to the plain language and intent of the Colorado statutes and that the BAA therefore erred in determining that the Property should be classified as agricultural land. We agree.

Findings of fact of the BAA are entitled to deference unless they are unsupported by competent evidence or reflect a failure to abide by the statutory scheme for property tax assessment. Bd. of Assessment Appeals v. E.E. Sonnenberg & Sons, Inc., 797 P.2d 27 (Colo.1990). However, a reviewing court is not bound by the BAA's interpretation of law where it is inconsistent with the clear language of the statute or legislative intent. Douglas County Bd. of Equalization v. Clarke, 921 P.2d 717 (Colo.1996).

Agricultural land in Colorado receives favorable ad valorem tax treatment, calculated on the basis of the earning or productive capacity of the land. Colo. Const. art. X, § 3(1)(a); § 39-1-103(5)(a), C.R.S.2001. As relevant here, "agricultural land" is defined as "[a] parcel of land ... that was used the previous two years and presently is used as a farm or ranch." Section 39-1-102(1.6)(a), C.R.S.2001.

At issue here is the definition of "farm." Section 39-1-102(3.5), C.R.S.2001,...

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2 cases
  • Williams v. Dep't of Pub. Safety, Court of Appeals No. 14CA0390
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • 31 Diciembre 2015
    ...the court must apply the text as written and not force or strain its interpretation. Welby Gardens Co. v. Adams Cty. Bd. of Equalization, 56 P.3d 1121, 1123 (Colo.App.2002), aff'd, 71 P.3d 992 (Colo.2003).C. The ALJ's Determination¶ 23 The ALJ concluded that she had authority to review Will......
  • Welby Gardens v. Adams County Bd. of Equalization, 02SC415.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 23 Junio 2003
    ...the Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA) classification of its greenhouse properties. Welby Gardens Co. v. Adams County Bd. of Equalization, 56 P.3d 1121 (Colo.App.2002). The BAA concluded that Petitioner's greenhouse met the statutory definition of a "farm" and therefore should be classified ......

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