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Camden County Realty Co. v. State Board of Tax Appeals

Decided: January 6, 1944.

CAMDEN COUNTY REALTY COMPANY, PROSECUTOR,
v.
STATE BOARD OF TAX APPEALS AND BOROUGH OF OAKLYN, RESPONDENTS



On certiorari.

For the prosecutor, Raymond Saltzman.

For the respondents, George D. Rothermel.

Before Justices Parker, Heher and Perskie.

Perskie

The opinion of the court was delivered by

PERSKIE, J. This is a land tax case. The question for decision is whether on the facts of this case the State Board of Tax Appeals erred, as claimed, in affirming the assessments, for the tax year of 1942, of the four lots owned by prosecutor and located in the respondent borough.

Prosecutor owns lots numbered 22, 23, 24 and 25, in Block 8K, Plat 2, in the taxing district of the Borough of Oaklyn, Camden County, New Jersey. Lots 22, 23 and 24 are vacant lots. Each has a frontage of 50 feet on Oakland Avenue and a depth of 175 feet. Oakland Avenue is a gravel street, it has neither sidewalks nor curbing, nor have any buildings been erected on the lots fronting thereon. It has none of the usual utility facilities, save perhaps that of sewerage which is, however, not connected to the lots. For the tax year of

1942, as of October 1st, 1941, these lots were assessed by the local tax assessor as follows: lot 22 at $300, lot 23 at $400, and lot 24 at $500, and, in reverse order, they are immediately adjacent to and west of lot 25 which is located on the northwest corner of Oakland Avenue and the White Horse Pike.

Lot 25 has a frontage of 175 feet on the White Horse Pike and a depth of 110 feet on Oakland Avenue. Part of it is used as a gasoline filling station. We are told, and it is not questioned, that the White Horse Pike is a state highway which has a width of 40 feet from curb to curb, that it is paved with concrete, that it has sidewalks and all other improvements installed therein. For the year in question (1942) as of October 1st, 1941, this lot was assessed at $4,000.

Alleging that the assessment of each lot was "in excess of its true value," and "praying" that the assessment of each "be reduced to its true value," namely, lots 22, 23 and 24 to $225 each and lot 25 to $2,675, prosecutor took timely appeals to the Camden County Board of Taxation and to the State Board of Tax Appeals. These appeals proved fruitless to prosecutor. Each of the bodies affirmed the challenged assessments. On application to a justice of this court, the prosecutor was allowed a writ of certiorari. By order of that justice the four judgments (one for each of the four assessments) were consolidated and the validity of each judgment is challenged by the one writ allowed.

The applicable law is clear. The "presumption" is that the "assessment" as made by the local assessor is "correct." Gannon v. State Board of Tax Appeals, 123 N.J.L. 450; 9 A.2d 531. But that presumption "can not stand up" against, and is "overcome by," uncontradicted evidence contrary to the presumption. New Jersey Bell Telephone Co. v. Camden, 122 N.J.L. 270, 275; 4 A.2d 705. Cf. Hackensack Water Co. v. State Board of Tax Appeals, 129 N.J.L. 535, 538, 539; 30 A.2d 400; affirmed, Hackensack Water Co. v. North ...


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