Going condo can save a lot of money in taxes, but not for much longer in Orchard Park.
The Town of Orchard Park is considering closing a tax loophole that allows town-house owners to save up to 60 percent in taxes by converting to condominiums.
"It was set up in the 1960s for concerns in New York City," Assessor A. Terrance Campbell said during a public hearing Wednesday night.
A section of the Real Property Tax Law allows condominiums to be assessed as apartment complexes, on their income-producing value. Other property, such as single family homes and town houses, is assessed on its market value. The law was passed to encourage empty New York City apartment buildings to convert to condominiums, Campbell noted.
But others have been taking advantage of the law to save 10 to 60 percent on their taxes, Campbell said.
"In the Town of Orchard Park, it's cost us about $190,000," he said, adding four or five town house complexes in the town are looking into going condo.
"The only reasons they were changing were because of tax implications alone. That's not right," Campbell said.
He said as assessments went down, that shifted the tax burden to other property owners in the town.
A change in state law allows municipalities to close the loophole.
Peter Vinolus, secretary of the Quaker Hollow Association, said the town house project off Webster Road should be allowed to convert to condominiums.
Vinolus said the town house owners pay for the upkeep of their private roads, including plowing and street lights and should not have to pay taxes for these services.
"This law was passed to benefit associations like ours," he said. "Either the assessor should reduce our assessments or he should allow us to be condominiums, which is what we want to do."
The Town Board took no action on the measure Wednesday.
Also Wednesday, the board referred a request from Quaker Crossing Shopping Center for a special exception use permit for a restaurant to the Planning Board. The Town Board also scheduled a public hearing on the permit at 8 p.m. Nov. 5.
The board also approved a building permit for a 6,000 square- foot addition to Battista Construction at 3315 N. Benzing Road.