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Old 01-16-2005, 09:43 AM
MCC6 MCC6 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Philadelphia, PA
State: Pennsylvania
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 98

I have an assignment in Chester County, PA. The property is an estate (gentleman's horse farm) comprised of two parcels, 26AC and 32AC. Tax records indicate that the land is subject to Acts 319/515. To complicate things more, there are high tension lines and towers that run right through the middle of the property.

Has anyone had experience in appraising a property subject to Acts 319/515? If so, what type of effect do they have on the value of the property and how did you address it in your assignment? Also, an opinion on the high tension wires would be appreciated, as well...

Any assistance is appreciated and welcome.
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Old 01-16-2005, 12:26 PM
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CANative CANative is online now
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Ukiah, CA
State: California
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 47,259

Michael, you may need more detailed information from someone in your area. But this sounds like it may be a conservation easement. In CA, there is the Williamson Act. You contract with the State and County to agree to not develop the property except as permitted in the contract. It is designed to keep rural areas rural, ag areas ag, etc. In return, you get to have greatly reduced property taxes. There is usuall a term involved (in CA it is 10 years and automatically renews each year) and there are penalties and additinal taxes for withdrawing before the expiration of the term. Also, there is usually a minimum amount of acreage required. If the parcel is less than that acreage it is not elegible, except you can combine the acreage with another parcel whether or not is is owned by the same person. This may be problematical because if one party or the other decides they want to withdraw from the contract, it affects both parcels. Lots of issues here. I have found that it does not really affect value or marketability at this time, but things change.

You should do some research on the issue, find the contract and talk to planning department officials and also talk to local Realtors who specialize in farm, ag, rural acreage properties and ask them if it has an effect on the market.
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Old 01-16-2005, 07:04 PM
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Dee Dee Dee Dee is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Colorado
State: Colorado
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 6,587

Here's one link that might help:

All I can say is that this sounds like a very complex appraisal assignment, and your typical residential appraiser would be crazy to accept it without sizable assistance from an appraiser that's well versed and experienced in conservation easements. This isn't your typical fee assignment. It's going to take a lot of research, comps will be tough to find and your workfile is going to have to back up any adjustments, either positive or negative, that you make concerning the impact of the easements on the land value....and I the high tension lines aren't going to make the job any easier.

It's up to you to decide if this is over your head or if you can find significant assistance to complete the job under the Competency Rule in USPAP. Your state appraisal board may be able to give you advice as to what appraisers in your area specialize in this kind of property. Perhaps you can convince them to take you under their wing just to get the experience.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-16-2005, 08:25 PM
Rick Kulman Rick Kulman is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: NJ
State: New Jersey
Professional Status: Certified General Appraiser
Posts: 191


Ran 2 Google searches PA land act 319 and another PA land act 515

You have a lot of homework to do for an appraisal fee in the five figures. For starters:

Act 319 “CLEAN AND GREEN” Preferential Assessment
General Information
· 10 Acres minimum or $2,000 gross agricultural income.
· Only land assessment is affected.
· Land assessment is based on the agricultural use value of the land according to the productivity of the soil.
· Act 319 assessment remains on property in perpetuity or until a change in use occurs.
· Owner may include more than one deeded parcel under an application – parcels must be held in common ownership and must be contiguous.
· The entire tax parcel must be enrolled in the program. No exclusions of any portion from any tax parcel are permitted.
Owner is permitted to subdivide 10% of the enrolled property for residential purposes, but not more than a total of 10 acres, and not more than 2 acres per year, except if the required minimum lot size is more than 2 acres the split off may exceed 2 acres but not more than 3 acres. Roll-back taxes on split off acres must be paid. Owner may separate 10 or more acres, provided no parcel less than 10 acres is created. Owner of separated parcel may build a personal residence. However, if the new owner of any separated parcel breaches the covenant, that person will be responsible for paying the roll-back taxes for the entire property under the covenant. Owner who changes the use of the land is responsible for the roll-back taxes for the entire property up to 7 years after the separation. After 7 years, each parcel is treated separately. Roll-back taxes are paid up to 7 years maximum plus 6% interest compounded annually. Applications are accepted March 1 – June 1.

Preferential Assessment
· Land may be eligible for preferential assessment under the Pennsylvania Farmland and Forest Land Assessment Act of 1974 (Act 319) when it meets the minimum qualifications for one of three eligible use categories described by the act.
· Enrollment period runs from March 1 to June 1 of each year. The property owner must make separate application for each noncontiguous tract of land on which they desire use-value assessment.
· Applications must be submitted to the Chester County Assessment Office by June first. This application may be filed in person or by mail at the Chester County Assessment Office, 235 W. Market Street, Suite 200, P.O. Box 2748, West Chester, Pennsylvania 19380-0991
Any questions regarding the proper completion of the application are to be directed to the Assessment Office at the above address or by calling 610-344-6105.
The application is available for you to DOWNLOAD (Can not be submitted electronically).
All signatures on the applications must be notarized
Act 319 Application (ADOBE PDF Format)

Return to Assessment

For Open Space Covenant Act (Act 515)
start with

If you are talking about the the steel towers 100+ feet high with 100 ft wide r-o-w areas my recommendation is to find development homes backing up to the r-o-w and compare the prices of these homes to those of the same design away from the r-o-w.

Old 01-17-2005, 03:13 PM
Walter Kirk Walter Kirk is offline
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Audubon, N.J.
State: New Jersey
Professional Status: Licensed Appraiser
Posts: 4,420

These conditions are similar to New Jersey's Farmland and Woodland assessment programs. In the New Jersey situation the properties can be removed from the program but have to pay "roll back" or previous years taxes. An adjustment can be developed by calculating the amount of roll back taxes and applying it to comparables not included in the program.

Given the fact that there is also a high tension electrical line on the property this is a complex assignment and should be done by an appraisewr very familiar with the area and the programs.
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