Petition for Review of Order of the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board Docket Number 97-286-C-1 and 98-00969-1-3
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Holdridge
This is an action for direct administrative review of a decision of the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB). United Coatings filed two real property assessment appeals with PTAB, one seeking a reduction in the Kankakee County Board of Review's (Board) assessed valuation of a parcel of property for the 1997 tax year from $767,886 to $699,300, and the other seeking a reduction for the 1998 tax year from $1,066,560 to $700,000. After the assessment appeals were consolidated, PTAB issued a decision granting United Coating's reduction for each appeal and reducing the Board's assessment for the property for both tax years.
The Board filed a petition for direct review with this court pursuant to section 16-195 of the Property Tax Appeal Code (35 ILCS 200/16-195 (West 2000)), which provides for direct appeal to the appellate court where a change in assessed valuation of $300,000 or more. We affirm.
On January 14, 1998, United Coatings filed a property assessment with the PTAB, seeking a reduction in the Board's assessment for the 1997 tax year for a parcel of industrial property located at 2850 Festival Drive, Kankakee, Illinois. The parcel consists of 44.24 acres and is improved with a one-story steel frame industrial building covering 273,336 square feet. At the time of the assessment at issue the building was about 28 years old. At the time of the assessment appeal, the property was zoned I-1 (restricted industrial).
The appeal petition stated that the Board had assessed the property at $767,886. United Coatings claimed that the property should have been assessed at $699,300. In support of the appeal, United Coatings submitted an appraisal prepared by Midwest Appraisal Company (MAC). In response to the appeal, the Board submitted an appraisal of the subject property prepared by Mildice AM Coll Appraisers (Mildice).
On February 15, 1999, United Coatings filed another industrial property assessment appeal with the PTAB, this time seeking a reduction in the Board's assessment of the property for the 1998 tax year. The Board had assessed the property at $1,066,560. United Coatings claimed the property should have been assessed at $700,000. In support of its appeal, United Coatings submitted the 1997 MAC appraisal. The Board submitted the 1997 Mildice appraisal.
The two appeals were consolidated before the PTAB. On September 19, 2000, the Board filed a motion for leave to file newly discovered evidence. The Board asserted that negotiations to sell the property (now owned by the Knapp Family Trust) were pending and that the owner and the lessee of the property had petitioned the Kankakee County Zoning Board of Appeals to rezone the property. As a result, the Board sought to admit a transcript of the zoning hearing and correspondence reflecting the range of the purchase price being negotiated.
On October 5, 2000, the Board filed another motion for leave to file newly discovered evidence, this time seeking to admit the Illinois Real Estate Transfer Declaration for the sale of the property, which had occurred on or about September 20, 2000. The PTAB denied the Board's motions, finding that the new evidence was not timely submitted and neither of the parties that had participated in the zoning hearing and signed the transfer declaration were parties to the 1997 or 1998 assessment appeals.
On January 23, 2001, the Board filed a motion for issuance of subpoenas. It sought to subpoena Jules Knapp, trustee of the Knapp Family Trust and owner of the subject property; Frank Moravek, president and chief executive officer of Micro Inks Corporation (the prospective buyer); and John Pinion, an engineer who performed environmental site assessment and design activities on the property prior to June 2000. On January 24, 2001, the PTAB denied the Board's request for issuance of subpoenas.
After some further motion practice, United Coatings and the Board filed a joint motion for decision without hearing on February 14, 2001. In the motion, United Coatings dropped its objection to the admission of transcripts of the zoning hearing and the real estate transfer declaration into evidence. The PTAB granted the joint motion, and the transcripts and transfer declaration were accepted into evidence.
On May 15, 2001, the PTAB issued its decision. The PTAB determined that the reductions requested by United Coatings for the 1997 and 1998 tax years were warranted. In so doing, the PTAB found that the best evidence of the property's fair market value was the MAC appraisal. It noted that the appraisers for both parties relied most heavily on the sales comparisons approach in determining fair market value. In concluding that the MAC appraisal's sales comparison approach was the best evidence of value, the PTAB rejected the Board's argument that the comparables used in the MAC appraisal were too old where they occurred in 1994 and 1995. The PTAB noted that the Board's own evidence included sales from 1986 and 1989.
The PTAB further found that the evidence of the subject property's sale price in September 2000 was entitled to little weight. The PTAB observed that the sale occurred almost 4 years after the 1997 assessment and almost 3 years after the 1998 assessment. It also noted that no information was submitted regarding the conditions, concessions and other rights and duties in the real estate purchase contract. The PTAB also noted that a significant change occurred to the property after the assessment dates in issue. Specifically, the buyer had requested that the property's zoning be changed to a more intensive industrial zoning and requested a special use permit. The PTAB found that these ...