Hupps Hill seeks tax break, refund

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County leaders plan to consider cutting a tax break, and a large check, for Hupps Hill.

The Board of Supervisors meets today and could take action on an ordinance that would designate property owned by Hupps Hill LLC at 33229 Old Valley Pike as exempt from local real estate taxes. The board heard the request from representatives of the property owners earlier this summer and the county held a public hearing on the proposed ordinance as required.

Hupps Hill LLC also requested a donation for the real estate taxes paid during the years the property did not have the exemption. The board plans to consider a tax donation to Hupps Hill for almost $49,000 covering the tax years of 2012-2015 and half of the current year.

County Administrator Mary T. Price explained Monday that Hupps Hill LLC should have applied for the tax exemption when the property transferred from the Wayside Museum of American History and Arts Inc.

County administration received a request from Hupps Hill LLC, an enterprise of The Bernstein Family Foundation of Washington, D.C., seeking a tax exemption under state code. The statute allows the supervisors to classify the real estate as tax exempt by adoption of an ordinance based on answers to questions about the organization as it relates to the property.

The 2016 real estate assessment listed the property value at $1.83 million with a yearly tax revenue of approximately $11,005. The property consists of four parcels, of which one includes improvements.

Supervisors granted a tax exemption on the property in May 2005 in the name of Wayside Museum of American History and Arts Inc. At the time, the property was assessed at roughly $612,000. The property transferred to Hupps Hill LLC in Feb. 2011. The tax exemption did not transfer.

The county attorney reviewed the request and indicated the board may grant the exemption but supervisors are not required to do so.

Hupps Hill LLC, a nonprofit organization, receives a tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service. The exemption under the ordinance would apply only to local real estate taxes contingent on the use of the property for nonprofit, historical or cultural purposes and the continued ownership by Hupps Hill LLC.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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