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Court sides with county in property case

Posted: Thursday, Nov 29th, 2012

Courier staff writer

ALAMOSA — A 12th Judicial District judge dealt a legal blow last week to a local resident who has long disputed the valuation of his property, siding with the county instead.

Judge Michael Gonzales struck down Leon Moyer’s complaint against the Alamosa County Board of Equalization and other parties, ruling that the plaintiff failed to offer any evidence that there was a “triable issue” of material fact. In addition, the judge found that Moyer’s original complaint appears to be improper, since the plaintiff now claims the property is worth more than the assessed value at issue in the case.

Moyer paid $850 for the undeveloped rural property during a 2004 tax lien sale, and according to court records, an unregistered, unlicensed motor vehicle on the land serves as his residence.

Initially, the board of equalization set the valuation of Moyer’s “vacant” property at $5,500, based on statistics from the county assessor’s office.

Moyer, in turn, challenged the board’s classification, taking his case to 12th Judicial District Court, the state’s Board of Assessment Appeals and the Colorado Court of Appeals.

But ultimately, each of those entities upheld the equalization board’s findings that the property is vacant, and that no apparent changes were made to improve the land.

According to the judge’s overview of the case, there are no public services on the property, and while there are several minor structures on the land, none of them are used for commercial, residential or agricultural purposes.

Based on those findings, Judge Gonzales determined that the property is in the same condition as it was during the disputed 2010 tax evaluation period.

“Even looking at the structures and motor-home which are upon Plaintiff’s property in the light most favorable to him, they do not meet the statutory requirement for residential improvements,” he ruled.

The judge concluded by approving the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, while affirming the equalization board’s classification and valuation of the property; he also vacated a trial that was scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

Other defendants in the case included Commissioners Darius Allen, George Wilkinson and Michael Yohn, as well as Alamosa County Assessor Sandra Hostetter and the assessor’s office.

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