Cushing subdivision taxes debate continues

By Juliette Laaka | Feb 08, 2013
The road to Meduncook Bay Colony in Cushing. Property owners are seeking a tax abatement from the town for what they see as an unfair assessment.

Cushing — When the town's board of assessors denied the second request for a tax abatement for a high-end subdivision in town, property owners said they would fight the decision.

Residents of the Meduncook Plantation community have changed lawyers, now employing Camden attorney Paul Gibbons and assessment review board hearings are slated for late February to hash over the dispute during a series of meetings Feb. 25, 26, and 27.

Gibbons is representing 30 lot owners, including Machias Savings Bank.

The September 2012 decision denied a 55 percent abatement sought by property owners in the Meduncook Bay Colony for 2011. A previously denied abatement request of 22 percent for 2010 land values is still pending in court after 36 property owners, including Machias Savings Bank, filed a court appeal with the Knox County Superior Court in March 2012.

Property owners are only seeking an abatement of the land values.

Gibbons said if the issue is not resolved, the 2011 request will join the 2010 court appeal.

The 2010 court appeal was filed after the board of assessment review rejected the landowners' abatement request.

A town-wide reassessment of properties was completed in the fall and was expected to satisfy disgruntled property owners with a latter appraisal.

Gibbons said he has not spoken with his clients about the 2012 evaluation, and said it is not the issue.

According to attorney Alton Stevens, who previously represented property owners, property sales in 2009, 2010 and 2011 within the subdivision sold for an average of 53 percent of the properties' assessed value.

The subdivision consists of three communities — Hornbarn Hilll, Gaunt Neck and Meduncook Plantation. Each community share a pier and tennis courts.

The Machias Savings Bank properties, 21 in all, range in assessed value from $36,000 to a half million dollars, according to town tax commitment documents.

Board of Assessors Chairman Evelyn Kalloch said in September the requests were denied because, "the properties were assessed fairly from the beginning and they couldn't prove we were manifestly wrong."

Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at jlaaka@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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