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Judge: Undeveloped land can be assessed as agricultural

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The Indiana Tax Court Friday upheld a final determination by the Indiana Board of Tax Review to assess farm land as agricultural that was purchased by a developer but remained undeveloped for years.

In Hamilton County Assessor v. Allisonville Road Development, LLC, 49T10-1204-TA-30, the Hamilton County assessor appealed the board’s final determination, which reduced Allisonville Road Development’s 2008 assessment to $15,684 on vacant land located in Fishers. The land had been in the hand of developers since the 1990s; it was actively farmed prior to that. Allisonville Road Development purchased the parcels in 2006.

The land developer challenged the assessor’s change in property classification from agricultural land to undeveloped, useable commercial land. No commercial activity had taken place on the land. The land was originally assessed at $2.237 million, which was reduced by the county property tax assessment board of appeals to $1.427 million before the developer appealed to the Board of Tax Review.

The Board of Tax Review explained that land could be reassessed under Indiana Code 6-1.1-4-12 if new events occurred, such as a change in the land’s use. Cessation of farming activities didn’t constitute a change sufficient to warrant reassessment.

“Here, the Assessor claims that the subject property has been used for commercial purposes since the 1990s because that is when it was sold to commercial developers and all active farming operations ceased. Thus, the Assessor equates a ‘change in use’ to nothing more than a change in ownership and potential use. A ‘change in use’ under Indiana Code § 6-1.1-4-12, however, requires something more,” Senior Judge Thomas Fisher wrote.

“Under the 2002 version of Indiana Code § 6-1.1-4-12, reassessments based on new classifications are permissible when land is subdivided into lots, rezoned, or put to a different use: i.e., when events that indicate that commercial development is imminent occur. Here, the cessation of farming activities and the subsequent non-use of land does not necessarily evidence the imminence of commercial development.”

 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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