On appeal from judgment of Tax Court.
King, Baime and Keefe. The opinion of the court was delivered by King, P.J.A.D.
[241 NJSuper Page 40] This is a taxpayer's appeal from a real property tax assessment involving the years 1981 and 1982. The taxpayer attacks the evaluation on several grounds. We reject plaintiff-appellant's contentions and affirm for the reasons given by Judge Crabtree in his written opinion of September 19, 1988.
On November 25, 1981 appellant filed a petition of appeal with the Bergen County Board of Taxation contesting the assessment of its parcel of land, Block 3712, Lot 5, Township of Teaneck, for the tax year 1981. On December 28, 1981 the Board of Taxation affirmed the assessment. On December 31, 1981 appellant filed a complaint in the Tax Court appealing the judgment of the Board of Taxation. On July 26, 1982 appellant filed a direct appeal with the Tax Court contesting the assessment of the same parcel for the tax year 1982.
Both matters were heard by Judge Crabtree in March and April 1988. On September 19th he rendered a written opinion and on October 6, 1988 judgment was entered in accordance with his opinion. The assessments were summarized as follows:
1981 Original County Tax Board Tax Court
Assessment Judgment Judgment
Land $1,187,400 $1,187,400 $3,230,000
Assessment $890,550 $890,550 $2,422,500
Land $4,772,900 $7,851,400
Impvts. $1,330,700 none $3,976,600
Total $6,103,600 $11,828,000
These consolidated appeals followed.
The appellant raises four issues:
I. DID THE TAX COURT ERR IN FAILING TO PROVIDE AN ADEQUATE BASIS FOR ITS CONCLUSION AS TO VALUE FOR THE SUBJECT PROPERTY FOR THE TAX YEARS IN QUESTION?
II. DID THE TAX COURT ERR IN ACCEPTING THE COMPARABLES SET FORTH BY DEFENDANT'S EXPERT?
III. DID THE TAX COURT INCORRECTLY APPLY THE RATIO OF ASSESSED TO TRUE VALUE PURSUANT TO CHAPTER 123?
IV. DID THE TAX COURT ERR IN NOT ALLOWING PLAINTIFF'S COUNSEL TO CROSS-EXAMINE DEFENDANT'S EXPERT CONCERNING A CHART IN THE EXPERT'S REPORT DEALING WITH CHAPTER 123 RATIOS?
This is the factual background. The property in question was originally vacant land, designated as Block 3712, Lot 5, located on Home Street in the Township of Teaneck. The parcel comprises approximately 47.5 acres, including Block 4403, Lot 1, which is a separate tax parcel and which is not part of this appeal. The property has frontage on DeGraw Avenue, Glenwood Avenue and Marion Street, and is low (six to ten feet below grade), wet, irregularly shaped marshland. The property was purchased by appellant in March 1981 from the Teaneck Redevelopment Agency at a structured public sale for a total consideration of $1,052,910.77. The contract originally was dated September 12, 1977 and provided for an original purchase price of $1,000,000. The reason for the delay of the final sale of the property was a lawsuit filed by a citizens' group alleging that the property was worth considerably more than the purchase price. The site was acquired for a planned development to include townhouse, office, retail and hotel uses. At the time of sale the site was zoned for 567,000 square feet of office space, a 350-room hotel, 171 townhouses, and additional future condominium development. During 1981 the site was filled and prepared for development.
Michael Hiller, appellant's expert, said that the fair market value of the subject property as of the assessment date for the 1981 tax year, October 1, 1980, was the actual acquisition cost of March 1981, $1,052,910.77. From the purchase price Hiller deducted the value of Block 4403, Lot 1, for a total property value of $987,200. He prorated this amount for nine months, since the property for the first three months was owned by the Teaneck Redevelopment Agency and was tax exempt. Thus, Hiller found the true value to be $740,400 or $20,000 ...