Reassessment of Single Property that is Otherwise Unchanged is Illegal

In the Matter of Harris Bay Yacht Club, Inc. v. The Town of Queensbury the Appellate Division, Third Department found that the town assessor had acted illegally when, after a town wide reassessment in 2005, the Yacht Club was singled out for a further reassessment in 2006 and again in 2007.

The court held:

"Indeed, an equal protection violation will be found when the assessing body isolates a particular property for reassessment and is unable to justify the changes with some legally recognized factor such as improvements to the property or equal application to all properties of similar character (see Matter of Kardos v Ryan, 28 AD3d 1050, 1051 [2006]; Matter of Adams v Welch, 272 AD2d 642, 643 [2000])....Here, it is undisputed that no improvements were made upon the property since the Town-wide reassessment. In explaining the basis for selectively reassessing the property, the Town Assessor merely stated that, based on her "familiarity with the [p]roperty and other area marinas and [her] experience and judgment," she thought that the appraisal consultant's value conclusion of $3,514,000 "might have understated the value of the [p]roperty." No comprehensive assessment plan was made to reassess all similarly situated marinas — class 570 properties — in the Town."

-Steven M. Silverberg