View Value

View Value

Sunday, July 30, 2006
| Ephesians 3:14-21

Open your tax assessment and you might find that your property taxes went up because you’ve got a good view. Assessors call it a “view factor.” We call it a “view tax.” What does Paul call it?

These days, many homeowners across scenic New Hampshire are paying through the nose for what they can see with their eyes, and it is forcing some off the land beneath their feet.

This is happening because officials in New Hampshire towns have decided that all those majestic panoramas for which the state is famous are not priceless after all. Instead, officials now consider spectacular views bonus features of houses, akin to a finished basement or an attached garage, and tax assessors are putting dollar amounts on them. This, in turn, requires homeowners with a glorious view to feed the community coffers a gluttonous property tax — stiff enough that some are selling out and moving away.

Bennet Nicholson, for example, lived in Winchester, New Hampshire, where his house overlooked a valley through which the Connecticut River flows. In 2002, his house and land were appraised at about $98,000. In 2003, after the tax assessor calculated a value for the vista, Nicholson’s domicile ...

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