By DAVD BORAKS
Did Mecklenburg County’s 2011 property revaluation miss the mark? Amy Doughten thinks so: The county valued her Davidson condo at more than she can legally sell it for.
Her complaint was among the more specific – and unusual – to be aired Tuesday night during a public meeting in Cornelius with representatives from Pearson’s Appraisal Service of Richmond, Va. The Mecklenburg County Commission hired Pearson’s in May to conduct an independent review of the revaluation process. That came after pressure from citizen-led community groups and Cornelius leaders who have accused the county assessor’s office of violating state statutes and making errors during the 2011 revaluation.
Even among numerous complaints of seemingly arbitrary valuations and a flawed appeals process, Ms. Doughten’s case stands out. (See a full report on Tuesday’s meeting on CorneliusNews.net, “Property owners give consultants an earful on revaluation.”)
Ms. Doughten’s condo on Harbour Place Drive, off I-77 Exit 30 in Davidson, was built under the town’s affordable housing program. Davidson is one of only two communities in North Carolina that require developers of new residential projects to set aside some homes or apartments as “affordable.” In Davidson’s case, 12.5 percent of new units must be reserved. Prices for those units are capped by law, and available only to buyers or renters who meet federal income guidelines.”
She bought the 1,000-square-foot condo in the Brownstones at Harbour Place in 2008. In 2009, it was valued at $90,300. When the county revalued the property on Jan. 1, 2011, it came up with a fair-market value of $134,900.
For another kind of homeowner that might be a nice shot in the arm, a sign that the property has gained value. But in Ms. Doughten’s case, the town’s affordable housing program requires that sales of existing affordable homes continue to meet certain standards. So even though the fair-market value of the property might be $134,900, she would only be able to sell it for $104,000, using the town’s formula.
Because of the $30,900 difference, Ms. Doughten appealed the valuation. “All this information was presented, but the appraisers said it doesn’t affect the value,” she said Tuesday.
Cindy Reid, the Town of Davidson’s affordable housing coordinator, has gotten involved, and studied revaluations on all the local affordable housing units. Three or four of those appear to be facing the same problem, she said, with valuations significantly higher than legal resale prices.
She said Ms. Doughten’s situation is “the worst.” “I have been trying, to no avail, to work with the Mecklenburg County Appraiser’s office to reduce her valuation.”
Ms. Doughten said her case shows there’s something wrong in the assessor’s office. “If this doesn’t tell you there’s something wrong with the process, I don’t know what else will. … There’s no appeal process here. It’s a farce,” she said.
We’ve got calls and an email in to Mecklenburg County Assessor Garrett Alexander. We’ll update this story when we get a reply.
Aug. 1, 2011, CorneliusNews.net, “Property owners give consultants an earful on revaluation.”