information is not official, nor are the views expressed those of the
RE-EVALUATION OF PROPERTIES IN WESTON,
map of non-conforming
lots in Weston, CT. NOT IN WESTON: Interesting issue in
Montville and some
questions - why was property, already sold, assessed
for what it used to be, rather than what it sold for?
C O N T E N T S O F T H I
S P A G E
Property revaluation begins in
By The Forum Staff on April 21, 2013
Weston is in the process of conducting its state-mandated revaluation
of all real estate in the municipality for the Oct. 1 2013 grand list.
Assessor Ken Whitman made this announcement in an email message he sent
this week to the Forum.
“The effect of the revaluation will be reflected in the taxes payable
July 2014/January 2015. Assessed values will reflect the real estate
market as of Oct. 1, 2013.”
State law requires that revaluations be conducted at least every five
years. The last revaluation in Weston was done for the 2008 grand list.
The law also requires that all real property be physically inspected
every 10 years. Weston had performed a full physical inspection for the
2008 revaluation. In other words, physical inspections on all
property are not required for the 2013 revaluation.
The town has hired the firm of Vision Government Solutions of
Northboro, Mass., to assist with the valuation process.
In order to appraise property as accurately as possible, the assessor
says he is inspecting all properties that have sold since July 1, 2012.
A letter explaining the process is mailed to the new owner or owners
within a few weeks of the recording date. The letter also contains a
sales questionnaire on the reverse side to be filed out by the owner.
The sales questionnaire is meant to verify the circumstances of the
transaction and determine the veracity of the sale.
Vision’s property appraisers will be performing an initial visual
inspection of sale properties to date starting in late April. The
appraisers will have Vision Government Solutions identification badges
as well as a letter of introduction issued by the Town of Weston, and
their names and vehicle information will be registered with the Weston
This segment of the revaluation will take only a couple of weeks and
should be completed by May 1, Mr. Whitman noted.
“The assessor is the town’s real estate appraiser and the revaluation
is the assessor’s opportunity to garner any and all data relevant to
the appraisal process,” Mr. Whitman noted in his statement. “The better
the data, the better able the assessor is to accurately value property.’
Mr. Whitman extended his “appreciation to all taxpayers of Weston for
their assistance in this most important endeavor. The assessor’s
office in turn will make every attempt to accommodate all home and
The revaluation is expected to be completed in the fall, with
preliminary valuation notices mailed to all real estate taxpayers in
Those with questions may call Mr. Whitman at 203-222-2606.
Revaluation renders residents
By Frank MacEachern
Posted: 01/12/2009 02:44:42 AM EST
NORWALK - Though several meetings are scheduled this month to discuss
property revaluation, so far residents aren't saying much about it, two
neighborhood association presidents said. Maybe it's because
residents still are digesting the recent tax bills they received, or
maybe they are taking their concerns straight to the city, the
neighborhood leaders said.
"Most people just got their tax bill, and that's from last year. It's
not the revaluation tax bill yet," said Leigh Grant, president of the
Norwalk Association of Silvermine Homeowners.
Laurel Lindstrom, president of the East Norwalk Neighborhood
Association, said it could be that residents, concerned about the value
assessed to their homes, have taken matters into their hands.
"With the deadlines they need to appeal, they are more likely to have
gone to the city about this," Lindstrom said.
Property owners may appeal their assessments at city hall. The hearings
are conducted by J.F. Ryan Associates, a Massachusetts firm the city
hired to handle the revaluation. The firm began work in July 2007 and
inspected about 6,000 properties. In the past month, the company sent
property owners a preliminary market value, which is determined by
sales of comparable homes. Homes are assessed at 70 percent of
Connecticut municipalities must reassess property every five years.
Norwalk's last revaluation was in 2003.
Residents may attend meetings, by neighborhood, to learn about
revaluation. The first, held last Tuesday, drew about 80 people
from the Harborview, South Norwalk and nearby neighborhoods who
questioned why there is a revaluation when real estate values are
dropping in an economic recession. Grant said she understands
"Our houses are all going down in value while taxes are going up," she
Her taxes will rise about 13.5 percent, based on the market value she
received, Grant said. She wants to ensure everyone is treated
equitably, she said.
"I am aware to run a city you have to pay for it," Grant said. "I don't
have a problem with that. I just want to fully understand it and make
sure that Silvermine is treated as fairly as other neighborhoods."
Even in a more affluent neighborhood such as Silvermine, household
budgets are hurt by higher taxes, Grant said.
"We have a lot of people who live up here who are on fixed incomes. We
have people who have lost jobs. We have a lot of people who have
children, and children in college," she said.
Her association will have its meeting at 7 p.m. Jan. 21, at Silvermine
The meeting for residents of East Norwalk, Central Norwalk, Central
Norwalk East and Strawberry Hill is 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Community
Room at city hall.
At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, residents of Cranbury, West Rocks and Wolfpit may
meet at the Norwalk Senior Center, 11 Allen Road, in the gym.
At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, residents of Silvermine, Central Norwalk West,
West Route 1, West Norwalk, Springhill, Ponus and Broad River will meet
in the community room at city hall.
At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, residents of Brookside, Rowayton and
Wilson Point may meet with city officials at a site to be determined.
- To schedule an appointment, call 854-4192 or visit www.norwalkct.org
and follow the link to 2008 Revaluation Information.
what does the reval company do here in Weston?
We guess there will be no increase on the value of residential
property...from October 1, 2003, but the shift in tax burden will go to
the shrinking middle-value properties--sort of like the rest of the
U.S. economy! See our previous study below
State's Housing Prices Plunge In May
By KENNETH R. GOSSELIN | Courant Staff Writer
10:54 AM EDT, July 1, 2008
The decline in the median sales price of single family houses in
Connecticut gathered increased momentum in May, plunging by nearly 11
percent percent, the biggest drop since 1992 when the state was digging
out of a deep recession.
The number of sales tumbled more than 24 percent in May, continuing a
slide that is now in its third year, according to the Warren Group,
which tracks housing markets in New England. The report provided
fresh evidence that the state's housing market, while not seeing the
declines of harder hits states such as California and Florida, is still
struggling with tighter credit making it tougher to get a mortgage and
rising foreclosures that pull down the value of homes in surrounding
Many economists say the housing downturn nationally -- and in
Connecticut -- isn't likely to bottom out until well into 2009.
The state's median sales price, where half the sales are above and half
below, was down 10.8 percent, to $272,000, from $305,000 a year ago.
Hartford County fared better than the state as a whole, with median
prices slipping 4 percent, to $234,900, from $244,900 a year ago. Sales
in Hartford County plunged nearly 23 percent.
"Clearly, this downturn is showing no signs of relenting, and without a
pickup in sales, it could be more severe than the last one," said
Timothy J. Warren Jr., chief executive of Warren.
Affluent Litchfield and Fairfield counties took the brunt of the price
In Litchfield County, the median sales price of a single family house
plunged 17 percent in May to $250,000, from $302,000 a year ago. Sales
plummeted nearly 31 percent.
Fairfield County saw the
median sales price fall 13 percent in May, to $545,000, from $627,500 a
year ago. Sales plummeted 35 percent.
Only one county, Tolland, showed a gain in May, rising 6 percent, to
$267,500, from $252,250 a year ago, even as sales fell 21 percent.
Some Property Appraisals Seemingly
Askew In Montville; Developer's willingness to pay dearly doesn't
benefit town's tax base
By Paul Choiniere
Published on 2/20/2007
Montville — On July 26 a modest 654-square-foot home at 46 Massapeag
Side Road sold for a whopping $1 million. The homeowners were among the
latest in that neighborhood to benefit from a developer's willingness
to pay high prices for land near the Mohegan Sun casino.
But when the town completed a property revaluation in October, the
value of the million-dollar home was appraised at $172,740. That gives
it a tax assessment of $120,920. Assessments represent 70 percent of
The company that acquired it, Mohegan Hill Development, LLC, will pay
property taxes based on that assessment, not the $1 million purchase
Behind the purchases is the Tarragon Corp., which operates as Mohegan
Hill in southeastern Connecticut. A publicly traded company, Tarragon
specializes in luxury resort communities in urban settings.
The Day examined real estate records for 33 properties Mohegan Hill
Development has purchased over the last few years, and found in each
instance the newly appraised values were significantly below the sale
And that is how it should be, said town Tax Assessor Lucy T. Beit.
Property tax assessments, she explained, have to be based on a valid,
fair market value. The prices paid by Mohegan Hill were not “valid”
when it comes to assessing properties for tax purposes.
In an effort to accumulate enough land for a major project, the
developer was willing to pay prices well above the fair market rate for
small properties, Beit said. If the appraisers concluded the prices
being paid were fair market value, then, to be consistent, the
appraisals of other similar properties would also have risen
astronomically, she said.
“We did not want to give a million-dollar assessment to someone who
owns a ranch house just because someone was willing to pay that kind of
price for a ranch house on the next street,” Beit said.
By the next revaluation, in 2011, the acquired lands will probably be
assessed as a single property, increasing the total value. If Tarragon
begins building on the land, assessments would be adjusted immediately.
If the company builds the type of high-priced development outlined in
its own business documents, Montville may yet realize a tax revenue
windfall from the project, helping the town's tax base.
But so far, that has not happened.
The town hired Vision Appraisal Technology to carry out the recent
revaluation. All the latest assessments in town can be found on that
company's Web site: www.visionappraisal.com.
Convinced that proximity to Mohegan Sun and the Thames River can be the
basis for a very successful resort development, Tarragon, through
Mohegan Hill, has been willing to pay some eye-popping prices for the
modest homes and undeveloped lands along the river and adjacent to the
In October 2005, Richard Wilson and Barbara A. McGoff received $8.9
million for their two Massapeag Side Road properties, according to the
Vision Appraisal records. One lot has a modest Cape Cod house and the
second a small marina on the Thames River. The properties were
appraised at $331,070 during the revaluation.
The properties are now listed as owned by Mohegan Hill
Development/Wilson, LLC, indicating Wilson was also made a partner in
regard to those properties. A former phone number for Wilson is now
listed as no longer in service. He could not be reached for comment.
The Day examined records for 33 Mohegan Hill properties appraised at
$6.5 million during the revaluation and found sales totaled $29.2
million. If the assessments had been based on the sale prices, the tax
revenues generated by the properties would be nearly five times greater
than they will be.
Exactly how much tax revenue the properties will generate has yet to be
determined because Montville has not yet established its new tax rate.
Carolyn Nadeau, president of the Connecticut Association of Assessing
Officers, said Montville “did exactly the right thing” by not letting
the astronomical prices unfairly influence all assessments.
If the prices paid by Mohegan Hill were judged to be market value, then
the town would have to use those prices when determining the average
value of similar homes in town, she said. Everyone's assessment would
have gone up dramatically.
“It would have been grossly unfair to the rest of the taxpayers to have
someone who is willing to pay these incredibly high prices, due to a
unique situation, adversely affect all the assessments,” said Nadeau,
who is the assessor for the towns of Watertown and Bethlehem.
The town's current tax rate, 29.86 mills — meaning a payment of $29.86
for every $1,000 of assessed property — will be adjusted as a result of
the revaluation. As property assessments go up due to revaluation, the
tax rate is normally adjusted down.
And assessments have gone up, just not as sharply as the Mohegan Hill
property purchases might have suggested. Thomas Dumais lives in a
raised ranch at 134 Massapeag Side Road, but has so far decided to hang
on to his property, which has been assessed at $211,670, nearly double
the prior figure, set in 2001. Townwide, assessments increased about 40
percent, reflecting the increase in home prices over the last several
“I expected it to go up, but not that much,” Dumais said. He declined
to talk about his plans for the property.
In October 2005, Mohegan Hill — backed by Tarragon — paid $33.3 million
to Hackman Capital Partners LLC for about 246 acres that Hackman had
acquired over several years. Mohegan Hill has continued to buy up
properties since then.
According to Tarragon's annual report, its plan is to develop a
“mixed-use project to include hotels, a golf course, marina, retail and
meeting facilities as well as condominiums and town homes.”
No development plans have yet been filed with the town. Mohegan Hill is
fully up to date on its property taxes.
Post a Comment / Ask Question
C O M M E N T S
Posted - 2/20/2007 8:35:55 AM
I am petrified to receive my new tax bill in June. Without seeing
anyone and without any changes in my property, my assessment DOUBLED
(less nine dollars).I always thought my taxes were too high to begin
with and now this. My wife and I are driving 11 and 15 year old
vehicles to keep our taxes down. Having just retired,I don't think I'll
be able to afford to pay Montville's mistakes.
- 2/20/2007 9:58:22 AM
Posted - 2/20/2007 8:11:16 AM
The whole idea of market value is the amount of money a willing buyer
and seller are both willing to enter into a transaction to complete.
The motivation is not material. The stock market, the greatest market
for establishing free market value, has many stocks which many would
consider "over value." IF A DEVELOPER PURCHASES A PROPERTY THEY SHOULD
PAY TAXES ON THE PRICE PAID, THE MARKET VALUE. If they do not want to
pay the taxes negotiate the price, take an option on the property and
once they have assembled the property(s) needed they can buy them all
at once and move forward.
(they had reval in 2001)...
By Neil Vigdor Greenwich TIME Staff
February 3, 2004
The Grand List -- Boasting the largest
tax base of any community in the state, Greenwich reported the Grand
reached an all-time high of $20.1 billion last year. The
figure eclipsed the previous high of just more than $20 billion in
when a townwide revaluation nearly doubled property tax assessments.
new, estimated Grand List
is $2.27 billion - and increase of 27.5% since 1999.)
Grand List is the sum of all
taxable property -- includes residential, commercial and industrial
land owned by utilities, vacant land, personal property and
Last year's Grand List dropped below $20 billion because of appraisal
stemming from the Board of Assessment Appeals and court settlements.
community's tax base is significantly
higher than second-place Stamford, according to Greenwich Assessor John
"Ted" Gwartney. "I think we always have been and always will be,"
said Gwartney, who signed the Grand List last week. Stamford's Grand
stands at about $15.8 billion. The
value of residential property -- which is 70 percent of its appraised
-- in Greenwich increased marginally from about $16.2 billion in 2002
about $16.4 billion in 2003, according to Gwartney.
assessed value of the town's
959 commercial properties rose half a percent, from $1.96 billion in
to $1.97 billion in 2003...
W E S T O N R E V A
L 2 0 0 9
We got ours...over
all, up @5%.
Weston revaluation notices are
being sent this week
Written by Kenneth Whitman, Weston Assessor
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The 2008 revaluation of Weston real estate is coming to fruition.
The physical inspection and field review stages are complete, as well
as the analysis of market sales and the establishment of preliminary
Notices will be mailed shortly to each property owner showing the
current value, based on the 2003 real estate market, and the proposed
Oct. 1, 2008 value. The 70% assessment upon which taxes are based is
Taxpayers should bear in mind these values reflect the change in the
real estate market from October 2003 to October 2008, a period in the
market that showed significant early appreciation before the more
recent downturn since 2006-07. Therefore, over the five-year period
between revaluations, the overall effect on values is minimal.
It is also important to note that Connecticut state law requires the
assessor to value as of Oct. 1. Sales after October are not allowed to
be used in the rigid performance-based testing required for the state
to certify the accuracy of the revaluation.
Because the real estate market has continued to decline since Oct. 1,
these changes cannot be reflected in the 2008 revaluation figures.
Another important fact — and misconception — about revaluations is that
they do not raise revenue for the town. Assessments of all taxable
property are simply used as a base for establishing how much each
taxpayer will pay in taxes. However, the total amount of the tax levy
(total dollars raised through taxation) is based on the budget process,
i.e., how much the town needs to fund the schools, public safety,
public works, health and sanitation, social services, library, parks
and recreation, and general government.
If the propery values increase, the tax rate will decrease, and if the
values decrease, the tax rate will increase based on the revaluation
Finally, let me stress that the values being mailed this week are
preliminary values. The assessor encourages each taxpayer to review the
value and the information contained in the property record for each of
Consider this phase of the revaluation to be the “public participation”
phase. Information on all real property in the town of Weston will be
available for perusal by all Weston taxpayers to compare and analyze.
Information on the Web site (www.westonct.gov) and how to request an
informal meeting to discuss your property will be contained on the
valuation notice that you will receive.
After reviewing the public feedback, the assessor will carefully
re-analyze the values and methodology of the revaluation company and
issue final valuation and assessment notices, probably toward the end
inspection moves to final
section of Weston
Saturday, August 09, 2008
The Weston property revaluation team will be inspecting the final
section of town in its initial data collection phase.
The southwest section of town by the Wilton and Westport borders will
be visited by the Vision Appraisal team of Marcus Irrek, Lee Galban and
Jason Dzilinski. When this section is completed, the team will
concentrate on “callbacks” to those properties where they were unable
to gain access.
The inspectors have Town of Weston photo ID badges, and their names and
vehicle information are registered with the Weston Police Department.
Homeowners are asked to instruct on-site employees to ask for proper
identification when allowing them access to the property.
Notification letters were mailed this week to residents in these
neighborhoods. If the owner is not available after three “cold calls,”
a second notice will be mailed later in the summer to allow for an
appointment at a more convenient time. Residents will not receive a
telephone call prior to this phase of the inspection process.
The inspector will ask to measure and record information on the
exterior of the property as well as inspect the interior and record
information, such as number of rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and plumbing
fixtures, type of heating, and air conditioning, flooring, ceiling
height, as well as non-living areas such as porches, garages, utility
rooms, and basement and attic space. They will not consider interior
decorations, furnishings, personal property, and amenities typically
not included in the sale of real estate.
Ken Whitman, the town assessor, will continue to personally inspect
homes throughout town that have recently sold.
These inspections are being requested to give the homeowner an
opportunity to convey any unconventional conditions of the sale or
issues that may not be reflected in the sale price, as well as to
control the quality of the work of the revaluation personnel. Since the
ultimate goal of appraising all properties in Weston is to produce
accurate and equitable values, it is extremely important that the
assessor view all sold properties, he said. These properties will be
the “comparable sales” that are used to value all unsold properties.
The assessor will also continue to perform exterior field inspections
of all recent sales since July 1, 2008. Expect to see the town’s white
Toyota Prius, license plate number 3 WE, driving into driveways in a
neighborhood near you.
Mr. Whitman said he extends his appreciation to the taxpayers of Weston
for their assistance in completing this important five-year project.
are the prospects for any increase at all in the Grand List for Reval
begins its revaluation
by KEN WHITMAN, Weston Assessor
Nov 28, 2007
Weston is in the process of conducting its state-mandated revaluation
of all real estate in the municipality for the October 2008 grand
list. The effect of the revaluation will be reflected in
the taxes payable
July 2009 through January 2010.
Recent state legislation requires that revaluations now be performed at
least every five years, changed from the previous four-year schedule.
The last revaluation in Weston was implemented for the 2003 grand
The new law also requires that all real property be physically
inspected every 10 years. Weston is due for a full physical inspection
for the 2008 revaluation.
To accomplish the task of collecting data and inspecting all real
estate parcels, the town has contracted the firm of Vision Appraisal
Technology of Northboro, Mass. Vision’s property appraisers will be
visiting residents beginning the first week of December. The
appraisers will have identification badges issued by the town and
will be registered with the Weston Police Department.
The initial visits will be announced via notification letters mailed
this week, and through The Weston Forum as the inspections progress.
The first neighborhoods to be inspected will be the Georgetown Road
area, beginning at the Redding/Wilton borders.
If property owners are not available, a notice will be left on the
premises to allow for a later appointment at a more convenient
time. Several properties, including recent sales, will be
inspected a second
time by the assessor for quality control purposes. Recent sale
properties will also be mailed a sales questionnaire to
verify the circumstances of the transaction and determine the veracity
of the sale.
The assessor is the town’s real estate appraiser and the revaluation is
the assessor’s opportunity to garner any and all data relevant to the
appraisal process. The better the data, the better able the assessor is
to accurately value property. The revaluation is expected to be
completed in the fall of 2008, with
preliminary valuation notices mailed to all real estate taxpayers in
For more information, call Ken Whitman at 203-222-2606.
Map of non-conforming lots in Weston.
For your reference:
2004" in Weston:
which properties increased in value the most?
First of all, Weston's Grand List
increased overall by 27.5%...
the top of this page and just above, is a map
of the non-conforming lots in the Town of Weston (i.e. those of size
than two acres each). From early analysis, "About Town" thought
these properties would be the big losers this time. This turns
necessarily to be the case.
appears that any vacant
land increased at the fastest rate. Next after vacant sites, came
any property in the vicinity of either a 1)new home or 2)a
knock-down/new home replacement or 3)a major addition to an
older home. After all, no one actually did a full inspection of
properties--it was a matter of "drive-by assessment" plus updating
of building permits! IN
2008 THERE WILL BE FULL INSPECTIONS OF ALL PROPERTIES.
Thinking about property wealth as
relative might be a reasonable thing to do as we review Town of Weston
reassessment. As the latest Walter Erikson-Theresa Brasco report
notes on page 1, Weston's income distribution from the U.S. Census 2000
for "families" (NOTE: "Family" income is higher than "Household"
income) shows 34.3% the families with income under $100,000 annually.
the Weston Town Plan
of Conservation and Development was updated @ year 2000, and included
1999 reval data and tables prepared with the assistance of the
Table 10 of that document is entitled "Profile of Weston Housing (3537
houses on 7418 acres)."
one cannot make a firm statement
correlating one set of data to another unrelated source, one might
assume that "lower income" Westonites reside in less expensive
Where do these "lower income" Westonites live? In homes valued in
1999 assessments as "under $500,000" - which accounted for
37% of all Weston homes at that time!
please note that the Oct. 1.
2003 Revaluation records all entries on the Grand List as 3786
(we assume this number correlates to definitions in the 1999
At the high end, about 50 properties
are assessed at more than $2 million (for the 70% assessment).
added to those properties assessed at $1 million (an additional 320
at 70% assessment), this represents roughly 10% of the total number of
properties on the Grand List.
started our analysis at the low
end, however. After reviewing the 172 properties listed at
$100k and $299k (at 70% assessment) we came to an interesting initial
The "bottom of the market,"
the least expensive parcels, increased in value between 1999 and 2003
a rate of 53.1% - vacant land leading the way at 55.5%. There are
71 properties (.018% of the total of 3786 in Weston) in this price
with houses on them. How did the rest of the market fare?
to the January 16, 2004 Weston FORUM, citing the Assessor, "generally,
properties have increased between 25% and 45%."
Town" checked...and checked...and
checked (our methodology considered valid by Town Assessor in brief
The samples so far ... we are being
consistent with the established methodology (100% of entries from 0-07
at each $100,000 of valuation, i.e. $600,000 to $607,000 of 70%
was the range of increase for
a home valued between $600k and $607k (70% of full value)? There
were 28 homes in this category, and they ranged between increases of
and 47% from 1999 to 2003.
used the same methodology for
the group $500k-507k, at 70%, and there were 71 homes in this category.
In this category the range fluctuated between 263% to 12% for "change"
in the 1999 to 2003 assessment periods. One home at 63% and one
73% increase were the next two greatest changes, at the other end
increase) there were similar examples falling outside the "normal
this time, the $700k-$707k group
(at 70% of full value) has been analyzed similarly. There were 21
homes in this category, and the range in this sample was 24%-64%.
- For new assessments, the Town of Weston
- for 1999 assessments, Gold Imaging,
- Map above produced by "About Town" previously.
- Analysis by "About Town" of 1999 and
2003 assessment information is original work, but is available to those
who visit us on the Internet.