from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District of
the State of Idaho, Bonneville County. Joel E. Tingey,
judgment of the district court is affirmed.
Hopkins, Roden, Crockett, Hansen & Hoopes, PLLC, Idaho
Falls, for appellant. C. Timothy Hopkins argued.
Nelson, Hall, Parry, Tucker, PLLC, Idaho Falls, for
respondent. Weston S. Davis argued.
Michael Kane & Associates, PLLC, Boise, for Idaho
Association for Counties, amicus curiae.
M. Purdy, Boise, for Community Action Partnership Association
of Idaho amicus curiae.
case involves the denial of a property tax exemption. Aspen
Park, Inc., a nonprofit organization, sought a property tax
exemption from Bonneville County for its low-income
apartments. The County's Board of Equalization denied an
exemption because some of the apartments were leased to
tenants with incomes above 60 percent of the county's
median income level, a requirement set forth in Idaho Code
section 63-602GG(3)(c). Aspen Park appealed to the Idaho
Board of Tax Appeals, arguing that the statute allowed vacant
apartments to be leased to higher-income earners. After the
Board of Tax Appeals denied tax exempt status, Aspen Park
filed a petition for judicial review with the district court.
The district court granted Bonneville County summary judgment
after deciding that to be eligible for a tax exemption under
Idaho Code section 63-602GG, every apartment must be rented
to low-income individuals or remain vacant. Aspen Park timely
appealed. We affirm the judgment of the district court.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Park, Inc., an Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) nonprofit
organization, owns and operates Aspen Park Apartments located
in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The apartments consist of 72 units
that are meant to be rented to individuals and families whose
income is 60 percent or lower than the median income level
for Bonneville County.
2016, Aspen Park applied for a property tax exemption from
Bonneville County under Idaho Code section 63-602GG. Aspen
Park's assessed land value was $206, 890 and the
improvement value was $1, 261, 020. The Bonneville County
Board of Equalization denied Aspen Park's application on
multiple grounds, including not meeting the low-income
housing property tax exemption requirements found in Idaho
Code section 63-602GG. Aspen Park appealed to the Idaho Board
of Tax Appeals. The Board affirmed the Board of
Equalization's decision denying a property tax exemption.
Aspen Park appealed to the district court seeking judicial
review of the Idaho Board of Tax Appeals's decision. The
district court granted summary judgment to Bonneville County
and dismissed the petition for judicial review. Aspen Park
timely appealed to this Court.
primary issue with Aspen Park's low-income
property-tax-exemption application was the requirements of
Idaho Code section 63-602GG. The statute requires that
"all" of the housing units owned by a nonprofit be
"dedicated" to providing housing to people who meet
certain low-income guidelines. In 2016, Aspen Park rented 13
apartments out of its 72 units to individuals or families who
did not qualify for low-income status because their incomes
exceeded 60 percent of the County's median income level.
I.C. § 63-602GG(3)(c). Bonneville County maintained that
the statute required that all apartments needed to
be rented to low-income occupants or remain vacant. Aspen
Park argued that it "dedicated" all of its units to
low-income tenants, but instead of allowing apartments to
remain vacant, it rented them to nonqualifying tenants while
leaving a certain number of apartments vacant for low-income
applicants who might apply. The Bonneville County Board of
Equalization, the Idaho Board of Tax Appeals, and the
district court all interpreted Idaho Code section 63-602GG as
requiring that every apartment be rented to low-income
tenants or remain vacant. We agree.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
interpretation of a statute is a question of law over which
this Court exercises free review." City of Idaho
Falls v. H-K Contractors, Inc., 163 ...