12 April 2016
Mr. O’Brien apparently fails to grasp that his “fairness” argument cuts two ways. While the rural landowner may only pay a reduced rate of taxes on qualifying parcels, this is a far cry from the tax exempt status of significant portions of Lake Monticello. Available public records show at least 35 LMOA owned parcels within the community are tax exempt. The underlying economic theory is that the value of the amenities will result in a higher valuation of the residences that enjoy the amenities and, consequently, a higher tax payment. In water-access subdivisions at Lake Anna, where every home has a deeded boat slip, this theory holds true. In Lake Monticello, however, it breaks down, as the amenities are undersized for the population present by any standard reference work on land use development. While the waterfront and golf course homes do exhibit the benefits of the theory, these properties are only a small fraction of the homes in the community. Having done a matched pair analysis of the “typical lot” homes and their counterparts outside the lake, I can make a compelling argument that Lake Monticello’s commonly owned areas should lose their tax exempt status. This would result in a higher home owners’ association (HOA) fee required to pay those taxes and would be wildly unpopular with Mr. O’Brien’s core constituency already straining under HOA fees and high water and sewer fees.
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