Regency residents upset over revaluation

Some residents of the Regency at Prospect are upset over the results of the town’s recent revaluation. –FILE PHOTO

PROSPECT — Residents of the Regency at Prospect feel they were unfairly targeted when it came to the town-wide revaluation.

“We’re very much in disagreement with what the town did,” said Frank Conlon, a Regency resident who sits on the Regency Homeowners Association.

The Waterbury-based eQuality Valuation Services, LLC recently completed a revaluation in Prospect. On average, real estate values across town dropped 7 percent. That’s not the case in the Regency.

According to Conlon and a small group of Regency residents who delved into the figures from the revaluation, the assessments of units at the Regency climbed about 7 percent on average with some jumping up as much as 10 percent. The numbers given by the group didn’t include the affordable housing units at the complex.

Regency at Prospect is a senior housing development for people 55 years old and older off of Scott Road. The development opened in 2008 and currently about 150 people live there. When it’s complete the plans call for a total of 360 units.

There are eight different models of townhouses in the development, which range from nearly 1,500 square feet to a little over 2,000 square feet, the group said. The assessment of two of the models went down following the revaluation, while the assessments of the other six models went up, according to the group.

Conlon said the assessment increases of the units at the Regency don’t match up with what occurred with the homes in surrounding neighborhoods. He said the group looked at the assessment of 33 nearby homes on Scott Road and Timber Hill Lane. Of the 33 homes, he said, only one’s assessment went up. On average, he said, the assessment of the homes looked at on Scott Road dropped 16.4 percent and those looked at on Timber Hill Lane decreased 8.5 percent.

Conlon added units in the Boulder Brook Court condo complex, the town’s other senior housing development, saw their assessments drop on average as well.

The group questioned the credibility behind the process dating back as far as 2008 when the development opened.

Regency resident Joe Bongiovanni said when the development opened in 2008 the appraisals were set too high. After bringing their concerns to the town, adjustments were made to the assessments in 2010, he said.

During the recent revaluation, the group said, eQuality made a number of mistakes including listing all of the units as having whirlpools, when only 10 or 11 have them, and listing some units with “out buildings,” which are detached buildings such as sheds. Out buildings aren’t allowed at the development, the group said.

The errors made by the company were rectified after meeting with town officials, the group said, but they caused them to question the process.

“We say, where’s the creditability in the process?” Bongiovanni said.

Town Assessor Vincent Leone said the revaluation process is pretty “cut and dry” and felt the group may not understand the math used to determine values.

Leone explained the town has to use “good” sales and market values when conducting a revaluation. “Good” sales, he explained, are sales involving a unique buyer and a willing seller who is under no compulsion to sell.

“If somebody’s forced to sell … and they have to get out, you know that’s not a good sale,” Leone said. “They should be getting more money for the property; because they have to get out they take less.”

Leone said basically the units at the Regency had more sales and are holding their values compared to other homes in town that are seeing their values decrease.

The assessment appeal process began Monday. As of earlier this month, Conlon said 99 people from the Regency had signed up to appeal their assessment.

The group said they’re not against paying their fair share in taxes, but feels the town is singling the development out because it views the Regency as a “cash cow.”

“We have no problem paying taxes,” Bongiovanni said. “We’re willing to pay our fair share of the burden.”