CAN A SCHOOL DISTRICT CHOOSE TO ONLY APPEAL THE ASSESSMENTS ON COMMERICAL PROPERTIES?

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments this morning on whether the law which permits school districts to appeal assessments allows school districts to appeal only higher value commercial properties.

The Upper Merion School District argued that there is no violation of the Uniformity Clause where the School District evaluates the properties within its district and pursues appeals where it makes economic sense to do so. Property owners argued that this practice unfairly targets only commercial properties, to the exclusion of underassessed residential properties, in violation of the Uniformity Clause.  The Uniformity Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution  provides that all taxes shall be uniform, and has been interpreted to require equal treatment of commercial and residential properties.

While Pennsylvania law provides authority for school districts to file assessment appeals, this case presents the question of whether school districts can selectively target commercial properties to the exclusion of residential properties.

The Supreme Court justices engaged in dialogue with counsel for both sides asking, among other things,

–        doesn’t the law give the school district the authority to cherry pick what properties it appeals?

–        isn’t treating classes of property differently a violation of the Uniformity Clause?

–        isn’t it bothersome that the property owners argument would protect their right to an inaccurate assessment?

A decision in favor of the property owners in this matter may have a far reaching impact on the school districts’ current practice of filing appeals on commercial properties, particularly those recently the subject of a sale.

No specific timeline is in place for the Supreme Court’s decision, but we will continue to monitor this matter. Please contact Jane Richardson at (610) 458-4400 with questions or for more information.

 

Proposed IRS Regulations May Eliminate Discounting of Family Wealth Transfers

The Treasury Department has issued new proposed regulations that, if adopted as proposed, will effectively eliminate a common estate planning tool used to transfer wealth among family members. Under the current rules, transfers of minority interests of closely held business interests can be valued utilizing various discounts which results in greater tax savings.  The new proposed regulations would no longer allow discounting when making family transfers.

Continue reading “Proposed IRS Regulations May Eliminate Discounting of Family Wealth Transfers”

U.S. Department Of Labor Changes Overtime Rules For Millions Of Employees

What Employers Need to Know.

Earlier this week, the United States Department of Labor issued a Final Rule which increases the number of potential salaried employees who may be entitled to overtime pay. Continue reading “U.S. Department Of Labor Changes Overtime Rules For Millions Of Employees”

Development Permit Extension Act Expiration

Over the past several years the development community has had a sense of security with respect to the expiration of development permits and approvals as a result of the Pennsylvania Development Permit Extension Act (“Act”). While the Act effectively extended municipal land use approvals during the Great Recession, the time frames for reliance on the Act are beginning to come to a close. The “Extension Period” under the Act expires on July 2, 2016. Continue reading “Development Permit Extension Act Expiration”

Development Permit Extensions Clarified

Over the past several years there has been a sense of security in the development community relating to the expiration of development permits and approvals resulting from the enactment of the Development Permit Extension Act (“Act”).  The Act effectively extended municipal land use approvals during the Great Recession, which started in 2007.  The Extension Period under the Act expires on July 2, 2016.  One critical question under the Act had been how to calculate the “Extension Period.”  Several municipalities have taken the position that all permits and approvals covered by the Act will expire on July 2, 2016. Continue reading “Development Permit Extensions Clarified”

John Jaros Represents Wawa On Its Appeal Of The Conditions Of Conditional Use Approval For Beer Sales

Concord Township supervisors, in a 4-0 vote, denied a request by Wawa to reduce restrictions on beer sales that were granted following a conditional use hearing. (Supervisors’ Chairman Dominic Pileggi was absent.)

Supervisors in August granted approval for beer sales at the convenience store on Route 202 at Naaman’s Creek Road, but imposed 21 conditions. Among those conditions were limits to on-site consumption and time constraints on beer sales, which had to stop at 10 p.m. for most of the week. Continue reading “John Jaros Represents Wawa On Its Appeal Of The Conditions Of Conditional Use Approval For Beer Sales”

John Jaros Represents Wawa In A Conditional Use Application For The Sale Of Beer At Its Naamans Creek Road Store

CONCORD >> Wawa is hoping customers in its Naamans Creek Road store will soon be able to enjoy suds with their subs.

The convenience store appeared before the supervisors Tuesday night for a conditional use hearing to add beer sales to its offerings at the location and transfer a restaurant liquor license from an establishment in Folcroft. The board has granted similar approval to Acme, Whole Foods and Wegmans. Continue reading “John Jaros Represents Wawa In A Conditional Use Application For The Sale Of Beer At Its Naamans Creek Road Store”

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Upholds $18.5 Million Verdict For Newman Development Group

WEST CHESTER >> Most landlord-tenant disputes get resolved in your local District Court, with, at most, a few thousand dollars exchanging hands. Not so the case of Newman Development Group of Pottstown v. Genuardi’s Family Markets.

Last week, the state Supreme Court denied the request of the defendants — the Genurardi and Safeway supermarket chains — to hear their appeal of a lower court’s ruling that would have shrunk the size of the $18.5 million verdict handed down by a Chester County Common Pleas Court judge five years ago. Continue reading “Pennsylvania Supreme Court Upholds $18.5 Million Verdict For Newman Development Group”