Market Value of Property Negatively Influenced by Wetlands
In Twin Rivers Development v. Township of Macomb, Michigan Court of Appeals, No. 298084, October 20, 2011, the Court of Appeals relying on the Tax Tribunal's findings of fact and conclusions of law affirmed the local Michigan ad valorem property tax assessments levied by a township on property that had been zoned residential but appraised as commercial exceeded the market value of the property because a significant portion of the property was wetlands.
The Tax Tribunal relied on various witnesses' testimony and reports to determine how much of the property was wetlands. Specifically, it relied on the testimony of an ecological and environmental consultant who determined that approximately seven acres of the 12-acre property contained wetlands. Although this was only an estimate, the Tax Tribunal was not required to disregard this testimony and accept the township assessor's valuations, which did not take any amount of wetlands into account. Therefore, the Michigan Court of Appeals concluded that the tribunal's determination that the market value of the property was negatively influenced by the wetlands was supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence on the record.