• The Environment and Property Taxes
  • July 13, 2015 | Authors: Laura Bellotti Cardillo; Elliott B. Pollack; Gregory F. Servodidio; Tiffany Kouri Spinella
  • Law Firm: Pullman & Comley, LLC - Hartford Office
  • It seems that many stakeholders are trying to deal with climate change.

    Connecticut’s hundreds of miles of coastline along the Long Island Sound include many low-lying areas which scientists tells us will be hit by rising sea levels. The future market value of these properties and the scope of these changes must be taken into account, now or in the future, when appraisers do their work.

    Will the sale prices of properties at lower elevations (more likely to be impacted by rising sea levels) impact properties at higher elevations? What role do periodic FEMA flood map changes play in appraisal results? Will it be sufficient to simply refer to current maps or must appraisers examine trends and consider sources outside of FEMA materials? What impact will insurance underwriters’ decisions have on property values?

    As premiums inevitably increase, insurance no longer becomes available, or only with inadequate coverages or vastly increased deductibles. How will the property market react? To the extent that market data do not display strong indications of climate change on current valuations, are appraisers nevertheless entitled/required to take these elements into consideration?

    These and other questions remain to be explored in greater detail. What is quite likely, however, is that climate change will gradually move to occupy a front burner position in property valuation determinations. The budgets of many cities with rising sea level exposure will inevitably suffer as waterfront properties, formerly large tax generators, become less valuable.