Rea Persuades Maryland Appeals Court to Uphold Special Taxing District
Saul Ewing Commercial Litigation attorney Donald A. Rea achieved a victory for Prince George’s County government and a residential developer by persuading the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland to uphold approval of a Special Tax District for an age-restricted community.
In a March 27, 2013 opinion, the Appeals Court upheld decisions by the Circuit Court and the Maryland Tax Court denying a request from more than 300 property owners in the Victoria Falls community for a refund of a special assessment imposed on those in the tax district.
Rea argued the case, which centered on numerous statutory and constitutional issues, including Equal Protection, Due Process, published notice and uniformity of taxation.
The assessment – estimated to cost each owner approximately $1,300 to $1,600 per year for 30 years – was imposed after the county government established the tax district and secured $12 million in special obligation bonds in 2005 to pay for public improvements within Victoria Falls as well as road improvements that were required outside the community as part of the project approval.
The developer and four home builders held legal title to all the properties within the tax district at the time of the application. Over time, however, some of lots were sold to those who eventually challenged the tax. However, notice of the tax was included in their home sales contracts.
Rea also obtained the trial verdict in the county’s favor in the initial challenge in Maryland State Tax Court.