Board of Appeal and Equalization Meeting Minutes 04/04/2017

April 4, 2017


APRIL 4, 2017


Pursuant to due call and notice thereof, a regular meeting of the Board of Appeal and Equalization of the City of Saint Peter was conducted in the Commissioners’ Room of the Nicollet County Government Center on April 4, 2017.

A quorum present, Mayor pro tem Grams called the meeting to order at 6:03 p.m.  The following members were present: Councilmembers Parras, Pfeifer, Brand, and Grams.   Absent were Councilmembers Kvamme and Carlin and Mayor Zieman.  County officials present were:  Nicollet County Assessor Lorna Sandvik and Appraiser Mark Carlson.

Mayor pro tem Grams has completed the training for Board of Appeal and Equalization members.

Mayor pro tem Grams introduced the members of the Board and new County Assessor Sandvik.  Sandvik provided an overview of the process for the Board meeting and described the increases that were applied across the board to the various residential neighborhoods in Saint Peter as well as apartments and commercial and industrial property.  Sandvik indicated that State Statute requires the County’s valuations to be within 90%-105% of the sales that occurred in the community between the periods October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2016; and because the valuations were below that range, the County was required to increase valuations to reach the threshold.  Sandvik noted the residential increases that had been applied based on various neighborhoods were 5% on land and/or 11% on structures; apartments were raised 5% on the structures and 5-10% on the land; and commercial/industrial property, which was the furthest from the State threshold, was increased 6% on the structures and 10-22% on the land.  Sandvik did point out that there had only been 8 commercial/industrial sales during the study period which made the process more difficult.  Finally, Sandvik stated that following the Board’s decision (which would come at the end of the meeting), the property owner would receive a letter and if they did not agree with the local Boards’ decision, the property owner could make an appointment to appeal further to the County Board of Appeal and Equalization.

Paul and Marleen Maas, 2003 Pratt Circle, appeared before the Board to appeal the valuation of $34,600 on the lot adjacent to their main residence on which they had added a shed.  Mr. Maas indicated he had purchased the property for $25,000 less than 11 months prior.  Assessor Sandvik questioned the purchase price and indicated the County’s records showed the lot was purchased for $29,900.  Sandvik informed the Board she would double check the records. 

Kirk and Marilyn Beyer, 815 Spruce Place, were scheduled to appear before the board but did not appear. 

Steven Weber, 101 Brown Street, appealed the valuation of $64,400 on his property which was zoned commercial and valued as such, but taxed as residential.  Weber provided a handout showing his analysis of several other sales of commercial property, most of which were in other areas of the community, and pointed out that sales of such property in the Old Minnesota Avenue area had been stagnant for several years.  Weber also pointed out that no one wanted to buy his property and cited difficulties which would hamper any future development of the lot because of the required setbacks which leaves little room for building.  Weber expressed his opinion that nothing about his property warrants an increase in value.

Megan Willette, owner of the property at 424 South Minnesota Avenue and the adjoining strip of parking lot directly to the north of the property, objected to the increased valuation of her properties ($393,900 and $33,400).  Willette presented a letter from Matt Brostrom of Pell Real Estate, expressing his belief that the property has a current value of $325,000 and “…very strong limitations that would deter many people from paying a premium for it.”  Willette expressed her belief that the improvements to the laundromat were not actually improvements because nothing structural was done to that portion of the building.  Willette also stated that the parking lot property was not buildable. 

James Wendroth, owner of the property at 219 West Broadway Avenue valued at $45,600 and an empty lot on North Third Street (Parcel #19.704.0117) valued at $22,000, appeared to appeal the value on both properties.  Wendroth stated the North Third Street parcel was not on an improved roadway, had no curb and gutter, and was not served by City water, sewer or electric and he can’t do anything with the parcel, it shouldn’t have an increase.  On the West Broadway parcel Wendroth objected to the increase because the lot could not have a house built on it (the 1998 tornado had destroyed the house that had been there previously) and with no water or sewer to the lot, it “wasn’t worth building on unless it was a temporary plastic shed”.  In light of the property being used seasonally, with a temporary greenhouse constructed on the parcel during that time, Sandvik noted that the parcel is valued as of January 1st of each year when there is no greenhouse in place.  Sandvik also pointed out that the property had previously been given an “undeveloped discount” of 20%.  Sandvik stated the discount had been removed when it was discovered that the Wendroth property was the only property in Saint Peter still receiving the discount which had been discontinued several years back. 

Thomas Frey, owner of 1105 Old Minnesota Avenue, appealed the valuation of $224,200 on his property.  Frey expressed concern with receiving an $18,000 increase in one year and indicated his realtor felt the property would sell for no more than $180,000.  Frey noted his property was considered non-conforming by the City as it was in a commercial zone and he was quite limited with what he could do with the property.  Sandvik informed the Board that because the home was very nice; however, the location in a commercial zone made it a unique property and based on that situation the house and garage values were discounted by 50% which would mean that if the home was located in a residential area, the County would value the home at $290,000.

Kip Lager appeared to appeal the value of his properties at 910 North Minnesota Avenue ($553,900), 958 North Minnesota Avenue ($128,400) and 966 North Minnesota Avenue ($69,200). Lager provided information on the business conditions in Mankato where he has another business and valuations placed on car dealerships in Le Sueur and Madelia.  Sandvik indicated she couldn’t speak to what is done in other counties, but provided Lager with additional information on why the across the board increases were required and that the lack of commercial property sales hampered the process.  Lager expressed opposition to using any commercial sales that were not within six blocks of his property.

Christopher Conlin, 420 South Minnesota Avenue, appeared to appeal the $239,600 valuation of his property and indicated he had received a letter from his realtor (Judy Conroy) stating she would list the property at $199,900 but expect a sale at no more than $195,000.  Conlin noted that several other homes along Minnesota Avenue had sold for substantially less ($149,900 to $163,900) after being on the market for anywhere from 1-3 years.  Sandvik indicated that her office was aware of the other sales and the length of time on the market and she would be considering that information for next year’s valuations, but that the sales had occurred after the study period established by law and she couldn’t take them into consideration for this year’s valuation.

Chad DeBlieck, owner of the properties at 100 West Park Row (valuation of $526,700), 122 South Front Street (valuation of $113,800), and 323 South Front Street (valuation of 207,500) questioned the valuations and expressed his belief that the value established by the County is not necessarily what the properties would sell for.  DeBlieck also indicated that as a member of the St. Peter Ambassadors, he and the other members were working hard to increase commercial development in Saint Peter but suggested that commercial property owners were shouldering a larger tax burden that might tax business out of Saint Peter.  DeBlieck encouraged the Board (City Council) to work to develop more commercial businesses to help out with the tax burden.  Sandvik noted that the front footage cost for the main retail property had already been discounted because it was such a large lot, and that the increases provided to other commercial properties were higher than the increases applied to Mr. DeBlieck’s property. 

The Board considered an appeal letter received from Leonard Hansen for the property at 813 Austin Drive which the County had valued at $189,200.  Sandvik indicated that the neighborhood had received an across the board increase in both land and structure of 5%, but Mr. Hansen’s property had been decreased 2%.  Sandvik indicated it was a very nice property but hadn’t received much attention and the property was unique for the neighborhood as it was one of very few to have a double car garage.  Sandvik noted that if the decrease had not been applied, the valuation would have been $202,500.  Board members also noted a letter from Lee Pell of Pell Insurance indicating his belief the property “would sell for $162,500 based on today’s market”.

At the conclusion of all the scheduled appeals, the Board made the following decisions:

  • Leonard Hanson – no change.
  • Paul and Marleen Maas – no change.
  • Kirk and Marilyn Beyer – as the property owners did not appear for the scheduled appointment and no letter had been received; the Board did not consider the appeal.
  • Steven Weber – After substantial discussion, no change.
  • Kaduce Properties LLC (Megan Willette) (valuation of $393,900) – Extensive discussion occurred related to the increases on all commercial property necessitated by State Statute.  The Board chose to reduce the retail property to $384,200 (a 3% reduction) and to make no change to the parking parcel.
  • James Wendroth:
    • North Third Street vacant lot:  No change.
    • 219 West Broadway – No change
  • Thomas Frey – No change.
  • Kip Lager –
  • 910 North Minnesota Avenue (valuation of $553,900)– reduce to $540,800
  • 958 North Minnesota Avenue – No change
  • 966 North Minnesota Avenue – No change
  • Christopher and Patricia Conlin- No change
  • 100 West Park Row (valuation of $526,700) – reduce to $508,900
  • 122 South Front Street (valuation of $113,800) – reduce to $112,800
  • 323 South Front Street (valuation of $207,500) – reduce to $205,800
  • Chad DeBlieck –
    • 100 West Park Row (valuation of $526,700) – reduce to $508,900
    • 122 South Front Street (valuation of $113,800) – reduce to $112,800
    • 323 South Front Street (valuation of $207,500) – reduce to $205,800

 A motion was made by Parras, seconded by Brand to accept the decisions.  With all in favor the motion carried.

There being no further appeals presented, a motion was made by Pfeifer, seconded by Brand, to adjourn.  With all in favor the meeting was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.