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Public hearing on taxing new buildings is Tuesday

The Middlesex County Board of Supervisors will conduct a public hearing at its 7:30 p.m. meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 16, to hear comments on a proposed ordinance that would allow for the assessment and taxation of new buildings in the same calendar year in which they are built.

Under the current ordinance, buildings completed within one calendar year are not placed on the tax books until the following calendar year.

However, under the proposed ordinance, once a home or building owner receives a “certificate of occupancy,” the county has the power to assess and tax the building owner from that date forward for the value of the completed structure. Taxes would be prorated from the day the certificate of occupancy is issued.

The meeting will be in the courtroom of the historic courthouse in Saluda.

In another mattter, supervisors had a short meeting on Nov. 18 and tabled action on a proposed zoning reclassification of 10.694 acres from Low Density Rural to Residential. The board will consider this request again at its Dec. 16 meeting.

The zoning request by Steven J. Bland would allow nine single-family homes off Healys Road near Locust Hill. A public hearing was held on the proposal in October, but in November petitions in favor and in opposition from neighbors and others were presented to the board.

At the Nov. 18 meeting, supervisor Jack Miller said the petition in favor of the development was signed by 39 people, and only four of those live near the proposed subdivision. Miller added that the petition in opposition was signed by 42 people that, for the most part, live in the neighborhood of the proposed development.

This petition in opposition was given to the county after the public hearing was held.

County attorney Mike Soberick questioned the fairness of the petition. “I think it’s fundamentally unfair to the applicant,” he said. “I think in the future we need to state that any petitions need to be turned in prior to the public hearing.”

Supervisor Robert Crump said he was unhappy with the way the applicant provided open space in the subdivision. The required open space is part of a smaller piece of property that adjoins the main subdivision by a road.

“It’s almost as if the open space is not part of the actual subdivision,” said Crump. “That’s where my problem lies with this. Is there any land inside the subdivision for open space?”

Soberick said the entire tract is connected with a road and that it legitimately falls under the definition of “open space” for a subdivision.

posted 12.10.2008

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