Relates to conservation agreement exemptions in certain towns.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the real property tax law, in relation to conservation agreement exemptions in certain towns
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: Provides for additional population bands to those used in 2009 legislation to provide state authority for conservation easement tax exemptions for the Town of Bethlehem. Certain towns were given this authority previously.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 adds a new section 491-a to the Real Property Tax Law, allowing for the Town of Bethlehem in Albany County to offer a conservation easement identical to those offered by certain towns in Erie County pursuant to Section 491 of the Real Property Tax Law as established by 2009 legislation. It provides for definitions, procedures, computation and penalties, identical to those currently described in section 491 for other eligible towns.
JUSTIFICATION: This bill would allow the Town of Bethlehem in Albany County to provide conservation easement exemptions originally authorized for certain towns in 2009 with establishment of section 491 of the Real Property Tax Law. Bethlehem has been studying open space issues for several years, including legal methods of reflecting the benefits of conserved lands in property taxes, and would like to offer this exemption, pursuant to local law and other actions of the town board. Section 491 uses narrow population corridors to define eligible towns, and was originally drafted to identify the towns of Orchard Park and Elma in Erie County by referring to the "most recent decennial census." This drafting approach can be a problem when subsequent population changes occur, and accordingly, this bill is drafted to define Bethlehem as an eligible town by referring specifically to the 2010 decennial federal census as recorded, which would prevent this problem from occurring in the future. This bill would allow the Town of Bethlehem in Albany County to provide the conservation easements authorized under section 491. No other town is affected.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: : Section 491 of the Real Property Tax Law added by Chapters 296 and 311 of the Laws of 2009; the impact was to establish two sections 491 applying to the Towns of Orchard Park and Elma respectively.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the State of New York.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ S. 7623--A A. 9719--A Cal. No. 1307 R. R. 215 S E N A T E - A S S E M B L Y May 19, 2014 ___________IN SENATE -- Introduced by Sen. BRESLIN -- read twice and ordered print- ed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Local Govern- ment -- committee discharged and said bill committed to the Committee on Rules -- reported favorably from said committee, ordered to a third reading, passed by Senate and delivered to the Assembly, recalled, vote reconsidered, restored to third reading, amended and ordered reprinted, retaining its place in the order of third reading IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by M. of A. FAHY -- read once and referred to the Committee on Real Property Taxation -- reported and referred to the Committee on Codes -- reported and referred to the Committee on Ways and Means -- reported and referred to the Committee on Rules -- amended on the special order of third reading, ordered reprinted as amended, retaining its place on the special order of third reading AN ACT to amend the real property tax law, in relation to conservation agreement exemptions in certain towns THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The real property tax law is amended by adding a new section 491-a to read as follows: S 491-A. CONSERVATION EASEMENT AGREEMENT EXEMPTION; CERTAIN TOWNS. 1. APPLICABILITY. IN A TOWN HAVING A POPULATION OF NOT LESS THAN THIRTY-TWO THOUSAND AND NOT MORE THAN THIRTY-FIVE THOUSAND, THAT IS LOCATED IN A COUNTY HAVING A POPULATION OF NOT LESS THAN THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND AND NOT MORE THAN THREE HUNDRED SEVEN THOUSAND, BASED UPON AND RECORDED BY THE LATEST CENSUS, IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO ADOPT A LOCAL LAW TO PROVIDE THAT, REAL PROPERTY WHOSE INTERESTS OR RIGHTS HAVE BEEN ACQUIRED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE PRESERVATION OF AN OPEN SPACE OR AN OPEN AREA, AS AUTHOR- IZED IN SECTION TWO HUNDRED FORTY-SEVEN OF THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW, MAY BE PARTIALLY EXEMPT FROM LOCAL REAL PROPERTY TAXATION, PROVIDED THAT THE OWNER OR OWNERS OF SUCH REAL PROPERTY ENTER INTO A CONSERVATION EASEMENT AGREEMENT WITH THE MUNICIPALITY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROCE- DURES SPECIFIED IN SUBDIVISION THREE OF THIS SECTION. A COUNTY HAVING A POPULATION OF NOT LESS THAN THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND AND NOT MORE THANEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD15088-04-4 S. 7623--A 2 A. 9719--A
THREE HUNDRED SEVEN THOUSAND BASED UPON AND RECORDED IN THE LATEST CENSUS MAY, BY LOCAL LAW, AND ANY SCHOOL DISTRICT, ALL OR PART OF WHICH IS LOCATED IN A TOWN HAVING A POPULATION OF NOT LESS THAN THIRTY-TWO THOUSAND AND NOT MORE THAN THIRTY-FIVE THOUSAND THAT IS LOCATED IN A COUNTY HAVING A POPULATION OF NOT LESS THAN THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND AND NOT MORE THAN THREE HUNDRED SEVEN THOUSAND BASED UPON AND RECORDED BY THE LATEST CENSUS, MAY, BY RESOLUTION, EXEMPT SUCH PROPERTY FROM ITS TAXATION IN THE SAME MANNER AND TO THE SAME EXTENT AS SUCH TOWN HAS DONE. 2. DEFINITIONS. FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING TERMS SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING MEANINGS: "OPEN SPACE" OR "OPEN AREA" MEANS ANY SPACE OR AREA CHARACTERIZED BY NATURAL SCENIC BEAUTY OR WHOSE EXISTING OPENNESS, NATURAL CONDITION OR PRESENT STATE OF USE, IF RETAINED, WOULD ENHANCE THE PRESENT OR POTENTIAL VALUE OF ABUTTING OR SURROUNDING URBAN DEVELOPMENT OR WOULD MAINTAIN OR ENHANCE THE CONSERVATION OF NATURAL OR SCENIC RESOURCES. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS DEFINITION, "NATURAL OR SCENIC RESOURCES" SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, AGRICULTURAL LANDS DEFINED AS OPEN LANDS ACTUALLY USED IN BONA FIDE AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION. 3. PROCEDURES FOR OBTAINING A CONSERVATION EASEMENT AGREEMENT. (A) ANY OWNER OR OWNERS OF LAND MAY SUBMIT A PROPOSAL TO THE TOWN BOARD OF A TOWN HAVING A POPULATION OF NOT LESS THAN THIRTY-TWO THOUSAND AND NOT MORE THAN THIRTY-FIVE THOUSAND THAT IS LOCATED IN A COUNTY HAVING A POPULATION OF NOT LESS THAN THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND AND NOT MORE THAN THREE HUNDRED SEVEN THOUSAND, BASED UPON AND RECORDED BY THE LATEST CENSUS, FOR THE GRANTING OF INTEREST OR RIGHTS IN REAL PROPERTY FOR THE PRESERVATION OF OPEN SPACE OR AREAS. SUCH PROPOSAL SHALL BE SUBMITTED IN SUCH A MANNER AND FORM AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE CONSERVATION BOARD OF SUCH TOWN. (B) UPON RECEIPT OF SUCH PROPOSAL, THE TOWN BOARD SHALL CONVEY THE PROPOSAL TO THE CONSERVATION BOARD OF SUCH TOWN. SUCH CONSERVATION BOARD SHALL INVESTIGATE THE AREA TO DETERMINE IF THE PROPOSAL WOULD BE OF BENEFIT TO THE PEOPLE OF THE TOWN AND MAY NEGOTIATE THE TERMS AND CONDI- TIONS OF THE OFFER. IF THE CONSERVATION BOARD DETERMINES THAT IT IS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST TO ACCEPT SUCH PROPOSAL, IT SHALL RECOMMEND TO THE TOWN BOARD THAT IT HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING WHETHER OR NOT THE TOWN SHOULD ACCEPT SUCH PROPOSAL. (C) THE TOWN BOARD SHALL, WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF RECEIPT OF SUCH ADVI- SORY OPINION, HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING CONCERNING SUCH PROPOSAL AT A PLACE WITHIN THE TOWN. AT LEAST TEN DAYS NOTICE OF THE TIME AND PLACE OF SUCH HEARING SHALL BE PUBLISHED IN A PAPER OF GENERAL CIRCULATION IN SUCH TOWN, AND A WRITTEN NOTICE OF SUCH PROPOSAL SHALL BE GIVEN TO ALL ADJA- CENT PROPERTY OWNERS AND TO ANY MUNICIPALITY WHOSE BOUNDARIES ARE WITHIN FIVE HUNDRED FEET OF THE BOUNDARIES OF SAID PROPOSED AREA, AND TO THE SCHOOL DISTRICT IN WHICH IT IS LOCATED. (D) THE TOWN BOARD, AFTER RECEIVING THE REPORTS OF THE CONSERVATION BOARD OF A TOWN HAVING A POPULATION OF NOT LESS THAN THIRTY-TWO THOUSAND AND NOT MORE THAN THIRTY-FIVE THOUSAND THAT IS LOCATED IN A COUNTY HAVING A POPULATION OF NOT LESS THAN THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND AND NOT MORE THAN THREE HUNDRED SEVEN THOUSAND, BASED UPON AND RECORDED BY THE LATEST CENSUS, AND AFTER SUCH PUBLIC HEARING, MAY ADOPT THE PROPOSAL OR ANY MODIFICATION THEREOF IT DEEMS APPROPRIATE OR MAY REJECT IT IN ITS ENTIRETY. (E) IF SUCH PROPOSAL IS ADOPTED BY THE TOWN BOARD, IT SHALL BE EXECUTED BY THE OWNER OR OWNERS IN WRITTEN FORM AND IN A FORM SUITABLE FOR RECORDING IN THE COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE.S. 7623--A 3 A. 9719--A
(F) SUCH AGREEMENT MAY NOT BE CANCELED BY EITHER PARTY. HOWEVER, THE OWNER OR OWNERS THEREOF MAY PETITION THE TOWN BOARD FOR CANCELLATION UPON GOOD CAUSE SHOWN, AND SUCH CANCELLATION MAY BE GRANTED ONLY UPON PAYMENT OF THE PENALTIES PROVIDED IN THIS SECTION. 4. COMPUTATION. (A) AN EXEMPTION GRANTED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL COMMENCE AS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CONSERVATION EASEMENT AGREEMENT, AND SHALL TERMINATE UPON THE EXPIRATION OR TERMINATION OF SUCH CONSERVATION EASEMENT AGREEMENT. (B) THE FOLLOWING TABLE SHALL ILLUSTRATE THE COMPUTATION OF THE EXEMPTION: COMMITMENT PERCENTAGE OF EXEMPTION 15 TO 29 YEARS 50% 30 TO 49 YEARS 75% 50 TO 75 YEARS 85% PERPETUAL 90% SUCH EXEMPTION SHALL BE GRANTED ONLY UPON APPLICATION BY THE OWNER OR OWNERS OF SUCH REAL PROPERTY ON A FORM PRESCRIBED BY THE COMMISSIONER. SUCH APPLICATION SHALL BE FILED WITH THE ASSESSOR OF THE TOWN ON OR BEFORE THE TAXABLE STATUS DATE OF SUCH TOWN. (C) IF SATISFIED THAT THE APPLICANT IS ENTITLED TO AN EXEMPTION PURSU- ANT TO THIS SECTION, THE ASSESSOR SHALL APPROVE THE APPLICATION AND SUCH REAL PROPERTY SHALL THEREAFTER BE EXEMPT FROM TAXATION AND SPECIAL AD VALOREM LEVIES AS PROVIDED IN THIS SECTION COMMENCING WITH THE ASSESS- MENT ROLL PREPARED ON THE BASIS OF THE TAXABLE STATUS DATE. THE ASSESSED VALUE OF ANY EXEMPTION GRANTED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL BE ENTERED BY THE ASSESSOR ON THE ASSESSMENT ROLL WITH THE TAXABLE PROP- ERTY, WITH THE AMOUNT OF THE EXEMPTION SHOWN IN A SEPARATE COLUMN. (D) WHENEVER A CONSERVATION EASEMENT ENCUMBERS ONLY A PORTION OF A PARCEL, THE ASSESSOR SHALL HENCEFORTH ENTER THAT PORTION OF THE PARCEL ENCUMBERED BY SUCH EASEMENT AS A SEPARATE PARCEL ON ALL SUBSEQUENT ASSESSMENT ROLLS. 5. PENALTIES FOR OFFENSES. IF THERE IS A VIOLATION OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE CONSERVATION EASEMENT AGREEMENT OR IF SUCH CONSERVA- TION EASEMENT AGREEMENT IS CANCELED BY THE TOWN BOARD UPON PETITION, THEN THE OWNER OR OWNERS OF SUCH PROPERTY MUST PAY TO THE TOWN THE FOLLOWING AMOUNTS: (A) ALL TAXES ABATED PURSUANT TO THE CONSERVATION EASEMENT AGREEMENT, AS LIMITED BY THE REMAINDER OF THIS SECTION, INCLUDING, IF APPLICABLE, THOSE TAXES IMPOSED BY THE COUNTY, TOWN, SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND ALL SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS AND OTHER TAXING UNITS TO WHICH THE PROP- ERTY IS SUBJECT. REPAYMENT OF THE AFOREMENTIONED ABATED TAXES SHALL BE EQUAL TO FIVE TIMES THE TAXES SAVED IN THE LAST YEAR IN WHICH THE LAND BENEFITED FROM A CONSERVATION EASEMENT AGREEMENT EXEMPTION, PLUS INTER- EST OF SIX PERCENT PER YEAR COMPOUNDED ANNUALLY FOR EACH YEAR IN WHICH AN EXEMPTION WAS GRANTED, NOT EXCEEDING FIVE YEARS. (B) PAYMENTS SHALL BE ADDED BY OR ON BEHALF OF EACH TAXING JURISDIC- TION TO THE TAXES LEVIED ON THE ASSESSMENT ROLL PREPARED ON THE BASIS OF THE FIRST TAXABLE STATUS DATE AFTER THERE IS A VIOLATION OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE CONSERVATION EASEMENT OR SUCH CONSERVATION EASE- MENT AGREEMENT IS CANCELED. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.