The Michigan Tax Tribunal Properly Established the True Cash Value of Property in Broughton Development [Broughton Development v. Township of Macomb, Michigan Court of Appeals, No. 290893, June 17, 2010]
The judgment of the Michigan Tax Tribunal establishing the true cash value for local property taxation purposes of a taxpayer's real property was correct because, on the whole, the Tribunal's findings were supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence. The taxpayer argued that the tribunal failed to determine the highest and best use of the property.
However, the record reflected that the parties agreed that the highest and best use was important in determining the true cash value of the property. Moreover, the tribunal considered the highest and best use to be future residential development because it relied on and discussed the valuations and comparison sales presented by the township's assessor, which in turn were based on the conclusion that the highest and best use was residential development.
The taxpayer also argued that the Tribunal, in analyzing the highest and best use, erred in failing to account for the fact that the property was currently zoned agricultural. However, although the property was zoned for agricultural use, it was master-planned for single-family residential development and legally permissible uses included residential or agricultural use.
Furthermore, the taxpayer provided no evidence on which the Tribunal could rely to determine whether to reduce the true cash value of its property because it was zoned agricultural. The township assessor also testified that the entire township had been agricultural in the past but was being developed as residential. More importantly, there was little if any difference in value between a property that was zoned agricultural or residential due to the economic downturn and collapse of the real estate market at the time of assessment.