BERLIN - Berlin is hoping that development can resume on unfinished condominiums now that the townâ€™s pursuit of delinquent taxes on them has been ended.
The Town Council last month suspended the taxes on seven unfinished condos in the Sunny Ledge development that have accrued since 2001. The taxes, interest and fees came to $101,054.
The move allows the homeowners association for the development to find a developer that can take out permits and finish work on the condos without having to become current on delinquent taxes.
Under town ordinances, property owners arenâ€™t allowed to take out permits, including those for construction, until delinquent taxes have been paid.
â€śThe effort that weâ€™re hopefully culminating tonight is part of the broader tax collection process,â€ť said Finance Director Kevin Delaney before the action was approved.
New Sunny Ledge LLC was approved to build 20 condos on New Britain Avenue in 2004.
Eleven were built by 2006, but then the economy started its deep decline and the others werenâ€™t built, said Delaney.
In 2010 an investor bought the mortgage on the land to hire a builder to finish the development.
Because New Sunny Ledge Development LLC had negotiated with the homeowner association to maintain developer rights on the land until 2011, it was rehired.
Two condos were built, but the recession deepened and the cost of materials increased, and the remaining seven were left unfinished.
New Sunny Ledge LLC dissolved in 2013, Delaney said.
After discussions with the tax collector, Town Assessor Joe Ferraro - who has had several interactions with the homeowners association - the town manager and the corporation counsel, the town felt it was in the best interest to relieve the association of the tax burden rather than pursue legal action.
There was some dispute over whether the town had a legitimate right to pursue tax collection on the unfinished properties, Delaney said, noting ambiguities in the Connecticut General Statutes.
So instead, the association will now get the apartments built and the town can add them, and related motor vehicle taxes, to the tax rolls.
â€śItâ€™s a win-win for everybody,â€ť said Mayor Mark Kaczynski.
One of the last condos sold for $210,000, Delaney said, which under the current 32.5-mill tax rate would generate $48,000 in tax revenue.
Lucio DiLoreto, president of the homeowners association, said the move opens the opportunity to find a new builder to finish the development.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.