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More property owners appeal assessments

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Disappointed with a local review panel’s decision to drop his property assessment by "only" $43,000, Stan Milacek is now taking his case before the provincial appeal board.

"I didn’t expect anything more from you here," he said to the three-member Property Assessment Review Panel who granted him the reduction at a review on Tuesday morning.

Based on evidence presented by both sides, the board decided to lower the assessment of Milacek’s Painted Cliff property from $1,511,000 to $1,468,000.

Milacek’s ski in/ski out property on the Blackcomb Benchlands has jumped almost 70 per cent in 12 months, from an assessed value of $890,000 last year to over $1.5 million this year. The review panel’s decision represents a five per cent reduction in property value.

"This is the type of unit that’s in very high demand," said Sandy MacLean, a property appraiser with B.C. Assessment who was defending the Painted Cliff assessment.

"People really want the ski in/ski out and they’ll pay for it."

But the 10-year Whistler property owner said the huge increase in his property is unrealistic, particularly when the Blackcomb Benchlands as a whole increased by 35 per cent in value, half the amount of his property.

Presenting his case, Milacek said the assessor put a lot of weight on a sale of $1.4 million in the same complex at the end of July 2002.

He argued that property should not be used as a comparable because the valuation date for 2003 property assessments is July 1, 2002. The $1.4 million sale happened after that date.

But property assessor MacLean argued that assessors look at sales before and after the July 1 st date to get a better evaluation. He said this is an accepted practice.

"Just because it’s beyond the valuation date doesn’t mean we can’t look at it as evidence," said MacLean.

Next Milacek questioned using the sales in the nearby Snowy Creek complex as an indication of the property values at Painted Cliff. Those units are three bedrooms and higher, whereas Painted Cliff does not have any units over three bedrooms.

A Snowy Creek unit sold for $1,975,000 in 2002 and again Milacek argued the sale took place in October and should not be counted.

MacLean admitted the sale closed in October but it was negotiated in July.

"We use whenever possible the date it was negotiated," he said.

"I would stand that that sale is a July sale."

Milacek’s Whistler home is a three-bedroom end unit right on the edge of the slopes. Its assessed value increased by 70 per cent, while every other unit in Painted Cliff increased by 65 per cent.

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