Cabin owners in Farmington Canyon face big spike in property taxes

Posted at 10:16 PM, Jun 04, 2014

FARMINGTON, Utah -- As soon as the snow melts off Farmington Canyon, 27 residents start to move in for the summer.

"It's been a family cabin since 1978 to now,” said Byron Conrad, who owns a two-story cabin in the canyon.

But his vacations to the area are now costing him more than they are worth, as he could now face skyrocketing property taxes on the home.

“I'll be paying close to $2,800 to $3,000 for the taxes or for the use of that property,” Conrad said.

The market value on Conrad’s two-story home just jumped more than 200 percent following an assessment of the property by county officials, something they haven’t done in 10 years.

"Maybe they choose not to do their job and update it every year. I don't know,” Conrad said.

According to the county’s deputy assessor, Paul Wood, the location of the homes has made them difficult to get to in the past.

“We just don't have the time or the opportunity to get out there and look at each property like we like to,” Wood said.

According to their findings, the homes are worth a lot more now than they were a decade ago.

For example, Conrad’s cabin jumped from $22,880 in market value to $78,540. While another home increased by 656 percent, going from $10,369 to $78,400.

“I suspect 27 cabin owners will probably let us know they're not happy about the values,” Wood said.

The increases stem from improvements made to the homes, such as renovations or additions. Because the cabins fall on U.S. Forest Service Land, only the actual structure was assessed, not the entire property.

“I know they don't like hearing this, but for that 10 year period, they've probably not been paying quite up to the normal that you and I, that's maybe getting looked at more often, have to pay,” Wood said.

The new values may have cost the county one resident in the canyon.

“There is a lot of sentimental value up through it,” Conrad said. “But, then again, I'm ready to let go of it with people coming after us this way.”

The property tax notices will be released to residents in July, at which point, they will have the opportunity to appeal them.