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Volume 8 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 28

Opinions of Counsel index

Boundary dispute (towns) (methods of settlement) - County Law, § 228; Real Property Tax Law § 500:

A boundary dispute between towns may be settled by a consent order pursuant to section 500 of the Real Property Tax Law or by a judicial proceeding pursuant to section 228 of the County Law.

In the course of a tax mapping project, a question developed as to the boundary line between two towns in a county. We have been asked whether there is a procedure for the settlement of a dispute between two towns regarding their boundaries for real property tax purposes.

Subdivision 2 of section 500 of the Real Property Tax Law provides that where an assessor finds real property located within his assessing unit which was not assessed in that assessing unit in the preceding year, but rather was assessed in that year in an adjoining assessing unit, the status quo will be maintained until the proper assessing jurisdiction is established (as added by L.1980, c.748). Where the adjoining assessing unit consents to the assessor’s determination, a consent order may be approved by a Justice of the State Supreme Court and appropriate corrections made to each assessment roll. However, where the adjoining assessing unit contests the assessor’s determination, the dispute may only be resolved by a proceeding in Supreme Court pursuant to section 228 of the County Law.

The provisions of section 228 of the County Law replace the remedy for such disputes which was formerly within the jurisdiction of the State Engineer and Surveyor {*}, described in Jennings v. Watt, 264 N.Y. 306, 190 N.E. 658 (1937). The Commission on Uniform County Law had noted that section 228 was added to the County Law because the determination of disputed boundary lines is deemed judicial in nature and should be determined upon legal evidence before a court of competent jurisdiction (L.1950, c.691, n.47).

November 17, 1983

{*}  The Office of State Engineer and Surveyor was abolished by chapter 348 of the Laws of 1926, pursuant to a reorganization of State departments effected that year pursuant to constitutional authorization then recently adopted.