Ada County Commissioners approve property value depreciation for Terra Nativa residents

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jul 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-10 20:39:30-04

Some residents in the Terra Nativa subdivision in the Boise foothills are getting a break on their property taxes after Ada County Commissioners approved property value deprecation assessments on Monday. 

Terra Nativa is home to Alto Via Court, where a handful of homes have been condemned after land beneath the houses started to slide. 

Homeowners in the older part of Terra Native appealed their own property tax assessments, arguing their homes have lost value since part of their neighborhood was deemed unlivable.

"We did call in a  Keller Williams realtor, just to ask what in today's market would be our asking price, and he came up with a number so low it shocked us," said Paula Hawks-Deluca, a Terra Nativa resident. 

Monday, commissioners agreed to revalue certain properties by 25, 15, and 5 percent. 

"The closer you are to the area, it's much more likely that you could be affected, directly affected, by it, so that's why we gave the 25 percent depreciation on those [homes]" said Ada County Assessor Bob McQuade. 

Aside from the threat of moving ground under or near homes, Hawks-Deluca says she believes trespassers in the neighborhood would be a deterrent to future homebuyers.

"We've probably reported one out of every 50 instances of trespassing that we've been witness to because we are down-slope and we are able to see up," Hawks-Deluca said. "I just didn't want to become the Mrs. Cratchit of the neighborhood in the minds of the [Boise Police Department]." 

Hawks-Deluca's home is, so far, unscathed by the moving land, but she fears that could change without proper cooperation from city, county and neighborhood officials. 

The Ada County Assessor says since nothing like this has happened in the area before, it's difficult to establish comparables for the values of the homes.

"We always try to make our decisions based on factual information," McQuade said. "We don't really have that factual information right now, but that doesn't mean there's not some additional depreciation that needs to be recognized. We're doing the best we can and being fair to all of the other taxpayers in Ada County at the same time."

Owners of damaged homes in Terra Nativa have sued the City of Boise, developers and engineers. That case is scheduled to go to trial next year.