COUNTY OF CHAUTAUQUA
In the Matter of the Application for a Review
Under Article 7 of the Real Property Tax Law
of the Assessments by ROBERT G. DART,
Index No. H-9881
THE TOWN OF CHAUTAUQUA and the BOARD
OF ASSESSMENT REVIEW FOR, THE TOWN
OF CHAUTAUQUA, COUNTY OF CHAUTAUQUA,
BIERSDORF & CAMERON, P.C.
(Dan Biersdorf, Esq.
of Counsel) for Petitioner
CUSICK, HACKER, & MURPHY, ESQS.
Special Counsel to John Beckman
(David Murphy, Esq.
of Counsel) for Respondents
JOHN BECKMAN, ESQ.
Attorney for Respondents
DECISION AND ORDER
On June 29 and 30, 1995, the Court held a non-jury
trial to decide the market value and the 1994 assessment of
the property known as the Dart Airfield and formerly known
as Aero Industries, Mayville, New York.
The Court heard testimony from Robert Dart ("Dart"),
the Petitioner and owner of the property; Howard Schultz
("Schultz"), an appraiser with the MAI designation, who
testified as an expert valuation witness on behalf of the
Petitioner; James Szakacs ("Szakacs"), an appraiser hired
on behalf of the Respondent to provide valuation testimony
and Joseph Mertik, an appraiser for the State of New York
Real Property Tax Services.
The parties submitted findings of fact, conclusions of
law, and a trial brief together with computer discs
containing their submissions to the Court. With unabashed
plagiarism, the Court has taken the liberty of lifting
portions of the findings of fact, briefs and memoranda
presented by counsel, without allocation of credit to
either of them.
DESCRIPTION OF SUBJECT PROPERTY
The property is located at 6165 Plank Road in the Town
of Chautauqua and assessed as parcel 12-1-14.2.1. It is
owned by Robert G. Dart and consists of approximately 67
acres of land, with various buildings containing
approximately 69,000 square feet of gross area; it has just
under 6,000 feet of frontage on three (3) public roads and
is a level, regularly shaped parcel. (Cf. Appraisals).
The property is zoned B-Business District and RA-
Residential/Agricultural District and is a mixed use
It is operated as a privately owned airport with
approximately 2,800 feet of unpaved, improved landing
strips, ancillary asphalt paving and an office building.
The property is also improved with 20 other separate and
interconnected buildings which range from airport hangars
to leased commercial space.
There are 10 primary hangar buildings of pole barn
construction on the property that were built between the
years 1982 and 1992. The condition of the hangers ranges
between poor, fair and good condition; mostly good.
The subject property is also improved by a wood frame
office building built in 1987, an airplane and engine
repair shop building of approximately 2,000 square feet
built in 1975, a light manufacturing/storage space of some
15,000 square feet built in the mid-1970's and a second
manufacturing/storage space (Building "X") of approximately
4,500 square feet which comprises like manufacturing and
auto service and repair uses.
The combined hangar buildings at the subject property
accommodate 48 separate hangar spaces for airplane owners
who regularly use the subject airport. There is also ample
cleared exterior space for uncovered airplane "tiedowns" on
a rental basis.
The property also has a wood frame residential
building with ancillary garage and workshop of
approximately 2,500 square feet in size which petitioner
occupies as his home. It was built in the early 1900's,
with the garage and workshop addition reportedly added in
1950. Szakacs reached a value conclusion of $55,000 for
the dwelling and accompanying land of one acre. The
corresponding value conclusion by Schultz was $70,000.
Some of the buildings were designed as hangar
facilities to store planes utilizing the Dart Airfield.
Other buildings were constructed during the past 20 years
to house the operations of Aero Industries, a light
industrial company that Dart operated from the subject
Aero Industries ceased doing business in 1991.
Dart has had moderate success in leasing some of the
buildings Aero Industries had occupied.
The Court inspected the property. A few of the pole
barns have a weathered, hang dog look that would qualify
the airfield for a Will Rogers movie, but, for the most
part the buildings appeared to be in reasonably good
condition. The entrance used by the Court is an unpaved
dirt driveway with holes and mini-mogels that made driving
at a 25 MPH speed a bouncing adventure.
NEW YORK STATE REAL PROPERTY SERVICES'
Petitioners introduced the New York Real Property
Services (formerly Equalization and Assessment) inventory
cost survey report for the subject property prepared by
Richard Beaty, a state agency employee. The Court accepted
this report into evidence over Respondent's objection,
subject to whatever ultimate determination would be made
concerning its admissibility and weight.
Under the Uniform Rules of Court Part 202.59, the
parties are precluded from going outside the appraisals
filed for mutual exchange pursuant to the Court Rule for
expert valuation proof.
Moreover, there is some question whether personnel of
the State Real Property Tax Services should appear "as an
expert witness on behalf of municipalities in certiorari
proceedings" except where an advisory appraisal was used
by the assessor. See opinion of Justice Mary M. Werner,
JSC, published December 21, 1995 in the New York Law
Journal in 101 North Broadway Associates v. Board of
That caution is justified by the situation presented
by the testimony here by Beaty's co-worker, a Mr. Mertik.
He testified that the agency's document was prepared "for
equalization purposes only (T. 15)". He acknowledged that
the time lag between the valuation date and the base
inventory data used by the state agency "could go as far
back as 1989." (T. 16.) Mertik also said the document was
geared to the state agency's limited scope reproduction
cost computerized format (T. 19) and that the report did
not comply with even minimal USPAP standards for appraisals
and was not keyed to any controlling assumptions or
limiting conditions. T. 18.
For all the above reasons, the Court gives no weight
to New York State RPS documents.
Both Szakacs and Schultz considered the subject
property for use as an airfield, but, Schultz values the
entire parcel as an airfield, and Szakacs values the former
Aero buildings independently from the airfield because he
feels they are suitable for light manufacturing, office
space, and storage.
The property is unique. There are no private
airfields anywhere in Western New York that have such a
large building area or even land area. However, Szakacs
did not think the airfield use was the highest and best
use, or the most likely and profitable use of the entire
property, or the sole use for which a knowledgeable real
estate investor would evaluate its desirability in the
Both appraisers agreed the site possessed
substantially more gross building area than is customarily
associated with a private airfield. This excess building
area consisted of the structures formerly occupied by Aero
The manner in which this excess building area was
considered in each appraisal was the subject of
considerable dispute between the two experts. Both agreed
that the direct sales comparison approach was the best
indicator of value, but, they disagreed about the highest
and best use of the former Aero Industries buildings when
valued under that approach.
Schultz testified he viewed these structures as excess
building area to the airfield and would require a positive
building size adjustment to sales of other airfields with
less building area.
Szakacs viewed the buildings formerly occupied by Aero
Industries as having a highest and best use for a light
The different conclusion by the appraisers about
highest and best use is a primary difference between them
relative to their value conclusions under the direct sales
Schultz concluded that all the subject property, other
than the dwelling, had a value of $254,000 based upon his
conclusion for highest and best use. This incorporated a
building size adjustment of $2.00 per square foot to his
comparable airport sales for the extra building size
attributable to the former Aero Industries space. Szakacs
valued the entire facility at $500,000 (including the
dwelling), however, in the sales comparison approach he
valued the landing strip without the former Aero Industries
buildings at $225,000 and considered the former Aero
Industries buildings to have a contributory value of
Dart testified that he has had a very difficult time
trying to lease the former Aero Industries space. He
stated that the construction of that space in sections,
which suited the particular operation that he ran, was not
finding acceptability in the marketplace for a light
manufacturing use as he had done. T. 290, T. 32.
He did not, however, list the property with brokers.
Instead, he relied on word of mouth and a sign posted along
the road advising passersby of the availability of space.
Respondents contend those efforts were inadequate.
[Given the location of the property, a more aggressive
attempt may have resulted in leasing the property for
industrial purposes, especially for industrial and business
Schultz testified that the former Aero Industries
space should not be classified as light manufacturing since
the ceiling heights, building configurations, and access to
the buildings were such negative features that no one would
consider buying the property for that type of operation.
Schultz also testified that the location of the
airplane hangars on the site made access to the former Aero
Industries buildings extremely difficult for uses
associated with the airport. T. 76.
[The Court agrees these features would make it
difficult, if not impossible to find an industrial lessee
or buyer for the entire Aero complex.]
In contrast to Schultz, Szakacs testified that the
highest and best use for the former Aero Industries
buildings should be for a light manufacturing/storage/
office facility. Using this conclusion he valued the
former Aero Industries space at $6.50 per square foot.
However, he also testified that in his search of
airfields for comparison to the subject property, he did
not find any airfields which had manufacturing facilities
on them and that out of the literally thousands of
manufacturing facilities he had viewed, he never found a
manufacturing facility that was surrounded by an airport.
T. 256, T. 206.
He also testified that a light manufacturing use for
which the history of the Aero space indicated it was
suitable (such as small item assembly) would not require
large bulk shipments of heavy materials; that the site was
more than ample to support use for light manufacturing and
storage. T. 234-235, T. 253.
In a tax certiorari proceeding it is well established
that the assessment is presumed to be valid, and the
initial burden is upon the party contesting the assessment
to overcome this presumption of validity by substantial
ofTownofHudson, 99 A.D.2d 600, 601 (Third Department,
1984); CarriageHouseMotorInnIncvWatertown 136 AD2d
895, affd 72 NY2d 990; MatterofCountyDollarCorpvCity
ofYonkers, 97 AD2d 469.
This burden lies on petitioner with equal weight as to
both over valuation and the issue of inequality. Merrick
HoldingCorpvBdofAssessor 76 M2d 754; TillsoeCorpv
Assessors 55 M2d 431. The applicable law is set forth in
146 A.D.2d 851 (Third Department, 1989).
This presumption of validity remains in place and is
controlling until the petitioner overcomes the presumption
with sufficient evidence demonstrating the invalidity of
the assessment. At that point, petitioner has made out a
prima facie case and the presumption disappears. The
presumption is not evidence, has no weight as evidence, and
is not to be considered by the Court in weighing the
evidence. GeneralMotorsCorp.vTownofMassena, 146
A.D.2d 851 (Third Department, 1989).
THE SCHULTZ APPRAISAL
Petitioner's appraiser, Schultz, performed the
traditional three approaches to valuing the real estate.
Uniform Rules 202.59(g)(2) prescribes that appraisals
need to contain an explanation of all of the "facts,
figures, and calculations by which the conclusions were
The Schultz appraisal met this test by providing
sufficient evidence to overcome the presumption of
Respondent charges that the entire Schultz appraisal
is defective because he merely placed a reversionary value
on a building referred to in the Record as Building "X"
(Redlich). This 4,000 square foot building was subject to a
land lease with a reversionary interest in favor of Robert
Dart but was not fully valued in the petitioner's report.
The lease had 17 years more to run. Respondent says the
appraisal should have placed a value on the building
irrespective of any lease.
That Mr. Schultz did not compute a value for this
leasehold interest does not present a problem for the
Court, any more than it did for the assessor. The assessor
was entitled to reflect in the overall value the presence
of this building, new in 1992 (T. 54) without regard to the
internal lease structure and without regard to the fact
that the property interest in the building was split
between a leasehold and reversionary interest. Cf. Barnum
v.Srogi, 54 NY 2d 896 (1981); Zappalav.Hann, 198 AD 2d
879 (4th Dep't. 1993); ContinentalAssuranceCo.v.
VillageofLynbrook, 113 AD 2d 795 (1985).
The Court does not consider this omission fatal
because this was only one of many buildings, but, more
relevantly, the appraiser was considering the valuation
from the perspective of the market place. See Matterof
A&Pv.Kiern, 79 AD2d 371 where the Court said the issue
is highest value in the marketplace.
THE SZAKACS APPRAISAL
Petitioner complains that the Szakacs appraisal
report is incomplete per Rule 202.59(g)(2) and should not
be considered because it is missing a land value
calculation. T. 257.
The direct sales comparison approach in the Szakacs
appraisal report contained two separate analyses for the
non-dwelling portion of the subject property; one analysis
for the airport portion, the second for the improvements
formerly occupied by Aero Industries. Szakacs did identify
comparable sales which he used for both light
manufacturing/storage/office facilities and for airports.
Petitioner argues that the direct sales comparison
approach in the Szakacs appraisal report is deficient and
inadmissible under Rule 202.59(g)(2) because it is missing
an analysis containing the facts, figures, and calculations
by which his conclusions were reached or his adjustment
processes were explained. Those omissions are not fatal;
they may affect the weight, but, not the admissibility.
Moreover, in several instances Szakacs appraisal provided
more analysis and explanation than did Schultz, and, unlike
Schultz, he did have his notes at the trial.
Petitioner's motion and order excluding the Szakacs
appraisal report from consideration in the case is denied.
The Court also denies Petitioner's motion to exclude the
cost approach and direct sales comparison approach
analysis, and denies respondent's motions addressed to the
Schultz appraisal. Both appraisals meet the thresholds of
Rule 202.59(g)(2); both meet the test for admissibility.
AERO INDUSTRIES STRUCTURES
There is a sharp difference between the two reports in
characterizing and valuing buildings 11, 12, 13, 14, 15,
18, and 19 which were formerly occupied by Aero Industries
for a light assembly operation.
The remaining structures, except for the dwelling,
have been associated with the operation of the airport.
Both Schultz and Szakacs agreed the highest and best use of
the buildings which have been historically utilized by the
airport facility should continue to be used for that
purpose. They did not agree as to the highest and best use
for the structures formerly occupied by Aero Industries.
Szakacs testified that the highest and best use for
those structures would be as a separate light
manufacturing/storage/office facility. Schultz believed
these structures were simply additional gross building area
available for purposes that would not interfere with the
operation of the airport.
Szakacs identified two comparable sales used for light
manufacturing/storage/office purposes from which he
concluded that these structures had a contributory value of
$280,000 under the direct sales comparison approach.
Szakacs appraisal report, pages 48.
Unfortunately, the Szakacs report lacks an adjustment
explanation. While this does not qualify to exclude the
Szakacs direct sales comparison approach for the former
Aero Industries' buildings from consideration as evidence,
the absence of adjustment explanations affects the weight
of that evidence and the Szakacs value conclusion.
Schultz testified that the former Aero Industries
buildings would be unsuitable for a light manufacturing/
storage/office facility because of extremely poor access.
Petitioner makes much of the fact that Szakacs, who was
asked by petitioner's counsel during the trial to draw the
land parcel that he would envision being used for light
manufacturing, produced a drawing that petitioner claims
"was a twisted, convoluted parcel of land that possessed an
extremely irregular shape to avoid the other airport
buildings which surround it." Szakacs conceded that such an
irregularly shaped parcel as he had drawn would be
considered less valuable as a light manufacturing facility
in the marketplace . T. 239, 240.
Interesting, but, this ignores the fact the facility
was once used in that fashion, and, ignores the fact it
would not be purchased in that configuration by a
reasonably intelligent buyer.
More relevant is Szakacs testimony that tractor
trailers would not be able to access the buildings formerly
housed by Aero Industries. He claims access would not be a
problem because light manufacturing does not require large
bulk shipments and material transfers could be accomplished
by small vehicles. T. 279.
Respondent believes the access argument is a "red
herring", but, in this Court's judgment, lack of access by
tractor trailers would seriously impact on the conclusion
that the former Aero Industry buildings can effectively be
utilized for a separate light manufacturing/storage/office
integrated complex or be considered the highest and best
use (although they might be available for industrial or
business incubator purposes).
This feature suggests that Szakacs' conclusion about
highest and best use is overly optimistic, but, that
Schultz's conclusion in ignoring the incubator potential is
Szakacs testified that, if a feature is seen more
frequently in the marketplace, it will be considered more
acceptable or more desirable. T. 248.
A feature which is critical to the highest and best
use determination for the former Aero Industries' space is
the acceptability or desirability by the marketplace of
manufacturing space which is surrounded by an airport.
Szakacs testified that he did not find any private airport
that had a history of manufacturing use located on the
site, nor any surrounded by an airport. T. 206, 257.
Apparently, the marketplace does not consider a
manufacturing facility surrounded by an airport desirable,
acceptable or marketable.
Respondents argue that by Mr. Dart's own account,
the former Aero manufacturing site was an efficient layout
for a small scale assembly and manufacturing. He testified
"Material entered Building 17, flowed through 18
into 11, went to building 12 where it was finished
and packed, and was stored in 14 and 15." T. 30
The fact that Aero is no longer in operation may belie
the suggestion the site was "an efficient layout", but,
there was no testimony on this point.
However, Respondents say this integrated small assembly
use was interrupted by changes in use initiated by Mr.
Dart; that he removed the heavy duty electrical service
ancillary to the assembly process (T. 30, 47), and he was
the one who installed a firewall so that he could
accommodate a sandwich shop on his premises. T. 47.
Respondents argue that in lieu of the more intense
assembly manufacturing use, and in lieu of an effort to
rent out the space as improved for that use, Mr. Dart
elected to strip the Aero space of many of its amenities
and to alter the configuration of the space, itself. This
is all true, but, he certainly had a right to make changes
that would accommodate his airport operations.
The Court cannot conclude that the highest and best
use for the former Aero Industries space should be as a
light manufacturing/storage/office facility. This is not
to suggest that this space has no industrial value. It
does. But, its contributory value should be calculated in
part as gross building area of the airport based upon how
its features complement an airport operation, and, in part
as industrial or business incubator. Schultz calculated
the former, but not the latter feature. T. 68.
Schultz's adjustment for the extra gross building area
is $2.00 per square foot. When he made this adjustment to
his three comparable sales, the dollar amount for this
adjustment ranged from $81,000 to $92,000. Schultz
This is the equivalent of 40,500 to 46,000 square feet
of extra gross building area.
**29.$81,000 ÷ $2.00 per square foot, $92,000 ÷ $2.00 per
The $2.00 per square foot for the extra 40,000 square
feet of usable space that the subject property enjoyed as
compared to sale 1 is patently questionable; the OGLS
leased office space was a part of this area and the Court
was advised that this space (8,500 sq. feet) was rented by
Dart at $15,000 a year. Even the "cheap construction"
space as described by Schultz in discussing his cost report
on Pole Barn Construction had a base square foot price of
over $7.60, by comparison. T. 140-141.
The income approach used by Schultz completely ignored
Flea Market seasonal rents although, by Mr. Dart's own
testimony, the income derived from the Flea Market was
directly and exclusively attributable to the land (R. 175).
It also ignored the fact that Dart was not charging the
leasehold for property taxes.
According to Szakacs, the former Aero Industries
buildings possessed 42,981 square feet which means
Schultz's adjustment to his comparable sales for extra
gross building area basically relates to the former Aero
In assigning a value of $2.00 per square foot to the
entire gross building area on the subject site, Schultz
understated the value of that part of the Aero facility
that had been used for assembly line operations.
Dart has rented some of the former Aero Industries
buildings for low intensity storage, but claims much of the
space has received no interest from the marketplace.
Perhaps the marketplace would have shown more interest had
petitioner demonstrated an aggressive effort to find
tenants. The evidence, however, indicated less than an all
out effort to educate the marketplace of space
Schultz testified that the unrented space has features
which he believes cause the space to be unrentable. He
noted that building 11, one of the largest buildings on the
site has low ceiling heights. He also testified that these
buildings are located on the site in a way that they have
poor ingress and egress for storage use and are not
accessible for airplane use. T. 76.
The real test is not the Schultz opinion, but, that of
the marketplace that was virtually untapped. The fact that
it was not infects Schultz's allocation of $2.00 per square
foot for the entire extra gross building area.
Unfortunately, neither appraiser considered the rental
value of incubator space nor identified or compared such
space in this county.
Respondent criticizes the Schultz' size of the
adjustments factors he applied to his three comparable
sales, claiming Schultz's total adjustments to his sales
comparables were extremely high relative to the sale prices
of those comparables. The net adjustment for his
comparable sale number one is -$79,677 (- 32%), + $52,323
(+ 47%) for comparable sale number two, and + $24,323
(+24%) for comparable sale number three.
Petitioner concedes these adjustments are more than de
minimis, but claims they are reasonable for the type of
property in the case where both appraisers acknowledge
numerous sales simply do not occur, and, reasonable because
a relatively large adjustment was needed to account for the
extra gross building area formerly occupied by Aero
The Court notes two of the Schultz sales were also
selected by Szakacs in his appraisal report, but, unlike
Schultz, Szakacs' work did not include an explanation of
his adjustment process.
Petitioner appears to argue that a substantial, almost
incredible, adjustment of comparable sales with an
explanation is far more acceptable than an analysis with no
Both experts also utilized a cost approach in their
respective appraisal reports; both indicated the cost
approach did not give a reliable indicator of value for
this facility. T. 87, 179.
The experts differed on the expected life of the pole
barn structures. Szakacs used 35 years, Schultz used 20
years. T. 184, 82.
MarshallandSwiftValuationService, recognized by
both experts provides an effective life for pole barn
structures of 20 years. Schultzappraisalreport,page46.
Schultz's conclusion of a 20 year effective life would
appear to be the more credible except for one important
fact. Some of the pole barn structures in the comparable
sales were over 35 years old and still in good condition.
Allocating a 20 year life or depreciating the hangar
buildings by 75% as of 1994 (R. 84) indicated that, in Mr.
Schultz's opinion, these buildings would require
replacement in a mere five years; this was clearly not a
fair inference for Mr. Schultz to draw from the market as
evidenced by the 35 to 40 year age of hangars at the
comparable airport facilities he investigated.
Having visited the property and inspected the
buildings, the Court's is satisfied that the 20 year life
is unrealistic. The assessors would be justified in using a
25 to 30 year life to most of the buildings, except for
those Dart identified for demolition. Szakacs' 35 year
estimate is too high, however. Dart testified that these
buildings were built with the cheapest construction that he
could find; moreover, the quality of the metal of pole barn
structures built 35, 40 years ago was superior to the
imported products available when he built his pole barns.
The appraisers differed over the type of construction
used for the non-dwelling buildings. Schultz considered
all of these buildings to be erected with pole barn
construction. T. 79.
Szakacs testified, though, that he assumed buildings
10, 11, 12, 13, 18, and 19 were built of slab construction
and not pole barn construction. He described slab
construction as construction involving footings as opposed
to poles sunk into the ground. T. 265-266, 267.
Szakacs also admitted that there was a cost
distinction between pole barn construction and slab
construction. He stated that pole barn construction is
cheaper. T. 266.
Dart testified that buildings 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, and
19 were built of pole barn construction as opposed to the
slab construction assumed by Szakacs. T. 283, 284.
This affects the replacement cost analysis since
Szakacs admits that slab construction is more costly than
pole barn construction.
The experts differ on the appropriate rent that should
be attributed to buildings 10, 11, 18, 19, 17, 20, and 21.
With regards to buildings 10, 11, 18, and 19, Szakacs
estimated the rent for that space under the assumption that
it was superior to the space contained within building 12.
From his appraisal report, the actual rent which
Szakacs attributed to building 12 (which he concluded was
market rate) was $1.00 per square foot. T. 199.
In comparison to this building, he estimated the rent
for buildings 10, 11, 18, and 19 at $1.75 per square foot.
Dart testified the Szakacs' conclusion that building 12 was
superior to these buildings was in error because building
11 was less than 50 percent as rentable as building 12,
buildings 18 and 19 were only 60 percent as rentable.
T. 286, 287.
Dart even explained why those buildings were
substantially inferior to building 12 and would command
significantly less rent than building 12. T. 285, 286.
Petitioner says the rent for these four buildings
should be no greater than 60 percent of the rent potential
for building 12 which translates into $0.60 per square
foot. Using that level of rent as opposed to the $1.75 per
square foot contained within the Szakacs report, the
potential rent buildings 10, 11, 18, and 19 can generate is
only $8,287 rather than the $24,171 which he listed.
The Court considers the $24,171 to be too high; $8,287
too low; $10,359 just right.
Szakacs also erred in claiming that building 17 could
generate $2,160 per year in rent. He based this upon the
fact that this building would be able to accommodate four
planes for storage at $45.00 per bay per month. T. 257.
Dart testified that such rent potential was impossible
because the building is in such extremely poor condition
with broken trusses that it should be torn down, and, that
there is no access to the building from a direction which
would allow a plane to be pushed into the building. Dart
contends this lack of accessibility makes it physically
impossible to store any planes in building 17. T. 287.
Maybe so, but, that does not mean that building 17 is
without value in spite of the broken trusses. Firstly,
trusses can be repaired or replaced; secondly, other items
than aircraft could be housed there.
Perhaps Szakacs has overstated the rent potential for
building 17 in his income analysis, but, not by the $2,160
per year stated by petitioner; more likely by $1200.
Szakacs estimated that buildings 20 and 21 would
produce the same level of rent as building 12. Dart
testified that buildings 20 and 21 are in nearly as poor a
condition as building 17 and would be scheduled for
demolition very soon after 17 was torn down; that the
quality of building 20 is only 20 percent of the quality of
building 12 and building 21 is only 10 percent of the
quality of building 12. T. 288.
The Court agrees with petitioner that if these
buildings are considered rentable at all, the amount of
rent that they could generate would probably be de minimis.
But, even de minimis rents contribute to pay the real
Szakacs testified he gave only 40 percent weight to
the income approach. When his income process is adjusted
for the differences noted by Dart, the net operating income
is significantly reduced. The capitalization of the
reconstructed net operating income would result in an
indicated value of approximately $300,000.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. Petitioner has sufficient interest in the
property to maintain this petition; all statutory and
jurisdictional requirements have been met; and the Court
has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action and
the parties hereto.
2. On March 1, 1994, Petitioner owned the parcel of
property located at 6165 Plank Road, Town of Chautauqua,
County of Chautauqua, State of New York, legally described
by S.B.L. Number 12-1-14.2.1. The subject property
consists of approximately 67 acres. It has a slightly
irregular shape with frontage on three roads within the
Town of Chautauqua.
3. The subject property is improved with a number
and variety of structures. One structure is a two story
dwelling. The remaining structures are hangar and/or
storage buildings erected with pole barn construction,
including buildings formerly occupied by Aero Industries
for light manufacturing purposes. The pole barn buildings
have approximately 53,707 square feet of gross building
area. There are 20 different pole barn structures
identified on the site. The finish in the pole barn
structures range from dirt floors with no interior finish,
heat, or electrical, to concrete floors with some
insulation, electrical service, and space heaters and
4. The buildings on the subject site which were
identified by number 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, and 19 were
previously occupied by Aero Industries which involved a
light manufacturing operation. The Aero Industries
business ceased operation in 1991. Sometime after the
cessation of that operation, Petitioner removed industrial
electrical units and service and a firewall from the Aero
building. The current condition of the buildings formerly
occupied by Aero Industries, and their location on the site
render the complex inefficient and inadequate as a complex
for light manufacturing, except for incubator purposes for
light, low volume production purposes. The location of
several of these buildings on the site makes them
impractical for use in the airport operations.
5. Because it is the only private air field of
significant size in the County, the highest and best use
for the subject property as improved is as a small private
airport, and in buildings not needed for the airport uses,
for small industrial incubator operations, low density
storage and related office uses.
6. The effective life for the pole barn structures
viewed by the Court is 25 years, with the type of
maintenance practiced by petitioner.
7. Petitioner offered the appraisal of Howard
Schultz to provide an opinion of value for the subject
property. He concluded that the subject property had a
market value of $324,300 on January 1, 1994. The appraisal
report prepared by Mr. Schultz contained a complete listing
of calculations, adjustments, and explanations sufficient
to support the conclusion of value reached in the report,
except that the life allocated to the buildings was too
conservative; he did not place a fee value on the leased
premises, and, he undervalued the light industrial
(incubator) potential of the former Aero Industries
property; understated a realistic depreciation of the
8. Having failed to list the property with brokers or
advertise, petitioner's efforts to market the Aero property
for industrial purposes were less than aggressive and
contributed to the low income levels.
9. Respondent offered the appraisal of James Szakacs
for the purpose of providing an opinion of value for the
subject property on March 1, 1994. His appraisal provided
an adequate basis for his opinion, except for the real
estate omission and less than complete listing of
calculations and explanations. Mr. Szakacs concluded that
the value of the subject property on that date was
$500,000. The Court finds this valuation is too high; the
industrial potential of property is overrated as is the
potential for airplane storage in building 17. The
appraisal ignored modifications in the Aero buildings that
petitioner had a right to make; it elevated pole barn
construction to slab construction valuation; that the 35
year effective life contemplated by the appraisal was too
generous, given the Marshall and Swift Valuation Service 20
year effective life, and the finding of the Court and
acknowledgment of the parties that petitioner built with
the cheapest construction he could find, and the finding
that the quality of metal for pole barn structures at the
time petitioner constructed the buildings was inferior to
the quality of metal for pole barns built in the year of
the properties used for comparison purposes.
10. Respondent's reappraisal did not make adequate
adjustment for the location of the property. The Court
takes judicial notice of the fact that the overwhelming
majority of light and heavy industrial sites are within the
Jamestown/Falconer area in south Chautauqua County, and,
in the Dunkirk area in the north. The difference between
Hartfield and the Jamestown/Falconer region for
manufacturing purposes favors the city area. The
difference between Evans and Hartfield for private airport
purposes likewise places Hartfield at a great disadvantage
from the standpoint of desirability and market.
11. The assessment for the January 1, 1994, valuation
date (March 1, 1994, taxable status date) is $515,000. The
Court finds that the fair market value of the subject
property on January 1, 1994, to be $415,000.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. Both appraisal reports are deemed adequate to
meet the requirements of Uniform Rules 202.59(g)(2).
2. The assessed value for the January 1, 1994,
valuation date (March 1, 1994, taxable status date) shall
be reduced on the books and records of the Town of
Chautauqua from $515,000 to $415,000.
3. Real estate taxes paid by the Petitioner to the
Town of Chautauqua, the County of Chautauqua, and the
Mayville Central School District shall be recomputed
accordingly and refunds, if any, paid to Petitioner as
required by such computations, together with interest as
provided by law.
The signing, filing, and mailing of a copy of the
Court of this Decision and Order to all Counsel shall not
constitute notice of entry required by CPLR 2220. Counsel
are not relieved from the applicable provisions of that
section respecting notice of entry.
THIS IS THE DECISION AND ORDER OF THE COURT.
Dated: February , 1996
Mayville, New York
Supreme Court Justice
To all Counsel:
Please take notice that a DECISION and ORDER of
which the within is a copy, was duly granted in the above
entitled action on the day of , 1996, and
filed by the Court in the office of the Clerk of the County
of Chautauqua on the same date.
ASSESSMENT REVIEW: Private Airport; light industry;
Highest and Best Use; Admissibility of State Inventory
Appraisal; Adequacy of appraisals lacking land calculation
and full value of leasehold interest.