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Letter: Fairfield Taxpayers Subsidizing Private Clubs

Resident Joan Fortuna talks taxes and assessments.

Land owned by private clubs located in the Town of Fairfield has been designated as open space, thereby affording each club a generous reduction to their tax assessments. 

One example is Fairfield Beach Club as follows:

Fairfield Beach Club has 4.7 acres of which 2 acres are valued as open space.

Assessment: 2 acres x $1,750.00 (assessed value) = $3,500.00 valuation

$3,500.00 X .0233 (mill rate) = $81.55 tax paid on 2 acres

These assessments contrast greatly with private homeowners of close proximity to the beach club as follows:

Neighboring house on Fairfield Beach Road:

Assessment: .15 acres @ $952,560.00

Taxes: $952,560.00 (assessed value) x .233 (mill rate) = $22,261.00 taxes paid on

.15 acres.

Is this fair? Why does Fairfield consider these clubs as open space, when other towns have chosen not to designate golf courses as open space, but rather tax them as commercial property?  Why should the taxpayers of Fairfield subsidize these properties?

In Fairfield the Tax Assessor chose not to raise the assessed values of the open space property of country clubs and beach clubs in the 2010 revaluation, while adjoining residential properties had their revaluations dramatically increased.

Why didn’t private club properties share in that increase? 

I know the Town of Fairfield needs more revenue, evidenced by the dramatic increase that many home owners have seen in their revaluations and taxes.  The town does not have to look very far, just adjust the assessment value of the open space acreage for the private clubs so that we the taxpayers do not have to subsidize these private clubs and all parties are fairly taxed.  Hopefully this will change in the next revaluation.

 

Joan Fortuna

Brian October 01, 2012 at 10:05 AM
Is 'open space" open to the public?
Jane S. October 03, 2012 at 02:10 PM
probably because there was a land deal predating all of this back in the 1920's & 30's.
fairfield newcomer October 06, 2012 at 08:15 PM
It's time this issue was readdressed, by allowing these "open space" designations, the taxpayers are subsidizing private clubs they wouldn't have the income to afford to join or pay the monthly fees, if the clubs would be willing to admit all Fairfield residents, maybe the special designation should be allowed to stand, otherwise, it's an unfair deal that dates back to a time when these deals occurred without public input, those days have passed. The clubs benefitting from these open space designations are the Fairfield Beach Club, The Country Club of Fairfield, The Patterson Club and the Brooklawn Country Club.
Fitz October 06, 2012 at 08:16 PM
It's open space. get out from in front of your computer and go use it. It is open space, open to public use.
fairfield newcomer October 06, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Please add any other clubs that you may be aware of having the tax designation of open space and receiving tax benefits of that designation.
Fitz October 06, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Its open space, get out from in front of your computer and go enjoy the open space provided by the generosity of these clubs.
fairfield newcomer October 07, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Fitz, as a non member of any of these clubs, please explain just what generosity, except the view, is being provided in return for the taxpayers subsidizing the clubs?
fairfield newcomer October 07, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Not in the case of these clubs.
Fitz October 07, 2012 at 11:33 PM
I'm not a member. I am just saying you should go take advantage of the open space, go take a walk on the open space provided by these clubs.
fairfield newcomer October 08, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Fitz, I think signs that announce "members only" are meant to discourage hiking and walking on the club properties.
Fitz October 08, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Don't be discouraged. Go for a walk, they can't stop you. It's like the no hunting signs on open space land that was purchased with federal funding. The Town of Fairfield can not stop you from hunting even though they post signs saying so. If the open space was purchased with the help of a federal government grant or other federal monies you can hunt the open space with in the regulations of the State of Connecticut.
something to think about October 08, 2012 at 01:28 PM
I may be mistaken, but don't some of our neighbors who own many acres of land surrounding their homes have a lot of that land designated as "open space" and thereby have a huge reduction in their taxes?
Fitz October 08, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Hey Something to think about, if thats the case then go for a walk on that open space too. If it's deemed open space that's just what it is, go for a walk. Jason Robarts tried to keep people off the open space right of way at the end of Willow Street years ago. He called the cops on a couple of guys clamming down there. Cops set Mr. Robarts straight. Lads continued clamming.
Jim Eastwood October 08, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Good Morning Here iss a question for you I am not sure of this one Is the Sasco Hill Country Club located on Town owned(Deeded) Land and on a 99 Year lease?? As for open spaces---If Federal monies are involved in purchase, expansion or maintance of Open Space property---Then it Must be open to all citizens of all communities. Then why does Fairfielkd charge "Admission Fees" or Paring sticker fees for there use. And then why are the Charges for Out of Town people so high??? I am not sure of this , but I have been told that this is against Federal or State funding. Have a Great Day (and Pay and Pay !!!)
Fitz October 08, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Kicking a dead horse there Jim. First there is no Sasco Hill Country Club as you call it. All your other jibberish is nothing. There is no fee to enter open space land anywhere in Fairfield that has been purchased with Federal monies. Guess you just felt the need to spout off.

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