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Bell v. City of Corbin City
Decided: November 24, 1978.
JOHN BELL AND FLORENCE BELL, HIS WIFE, RESPONDENTS,
CITY OF CORBIN CITY, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, APPELLANT
On appeal from the Division of Tax Appeals.
Lynch and Horn. The opinion of the court was delivered by Lynch, P.J.A.D.
The City of Corbin City appeals from a judgment of the Division of Tax Appeals which vacated a $3,800 real property assessment on a "mobile" home owned by respondents John Bell and Florence Bell, his wife.
The judge of the Division held that the home involved was personal property, saying that the subject case stands
"four square" with the case of Manhattan Trailer Ct. v. North Bergen Tp. , 104 N.J. Super. 405 (App. Div. 1969). We disagree and reverse.
The Bells are residents of Pennsylvania and use their mobile home in Corbin City for weekends and vacations. The home, which measures 12' by 60', is located on a 75' by 150' piece of land which is owned by the Bells. It rests on a concrete "pad" or "slab" and is supported by columns of concrete blocks spaced approximately 7' apart. It is further secured to the concrete pad by a series of chains connected to anchor bolts which were set into the concrete at the time it was poured. Concealing these underlying supports was a "skirting" surrounding the space between the bottom of the home and the ground. The skirting was required by the applicable local ordinance but it could be slipped off at any time.*fn1 The axles were still connected to the home although the wheels had been removed and were lying on the ground underneath.
The home is connected into on-site water and septic systems. Water is pumped into the home from a pump situated under it through two plumbing fixtures characterized as "unions" or "fittings." Sanitary facilities are provided by a 900-gallon septic tank buried on the property for the exclusive use of the home. Electrical service is supplied by a direct line providing 100 ampere service into a switch
panel or circuit breaker tied into the electrical system, as contrasted to a "plug in" connection.
The community in which the trailer is located consists of six blocks on which there were from 35 to 40 homes. There were "quite a few" summer residents in the community and "quite a few" permanent residents. At the time of the hearing the Bells had owned the home for about four years. During that time Bell saw only one home moved off its pad and four new homes had come in. There were no "transients," i.e. , people who would be there for a week or two weeks and then leave with their trailers.
Mr. Bell testified that the home was not the type of trailer which one would unhook and travel in for short vacations. It would require a professional mover to detach it and it would take about eight hours to prepare it for moving.
It was Bell's intention that the home was to stay where it was for the "foreseeable future." It is inferable that the other owners of mobile homes in the community had the same intention. In the exercise ...
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