Submitted: August 1, 2019
Appeal from the Decision of the Kent County Board of
Spence and Marcia Spence, pro se Appellants.
T. Eliassen, Esquire of Schmittinger and Rodriguez, P.A.,
Dover, Delaware; attorney for the Appellee.
William L.Witham. Jr. Resident Judge
an appeal filed by Randy and Marcia Spence, farm owners, from
a decision of the Kent County Board of Assessment
(hereinafter, the "Board") determining that their
property was only partially subject to the tax exemption, and
that the poultry buildings situated on the property were not
tax exempt. For the reasons set forth below, the decision of
the Board is AFFIRMED.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Appellants' farm is located at 863 Central Church Road,
Dover, Delaware.The farm was assessed by the Kent County
Assessment Office in 2018. Appellants challenged the assessment in
front of the Board, which held a hearing regarding the matter
on March 19, 2019. The Board heard an argument by Mr. Spence,
who claimed that the poultry houses situated on their farm
should be exempt under Delaware law, and also a presentation
by Susan Durham, Director of the Kent County Department of
Finance. At the conclusion of the hearing, the
Board voted unanimously to deny the challenge and leave Mr.
and Mrs. Spence with a partial exemption. The Spences
appealed the decision to this Court.
Appellants argue that their poultry houses fall under the tax
exemption of 9 Del. C. § 8101(f) because they represent
nutrient management facilities. The Board submits that the
poultry houses are not covered by the statute because the
statute does not explicitly exempt them, and the statute
should be read narrowly.
Court is limited in its' review to "a determination
of whether the Board's decision is supported by
substantial evidence and free from legal error."
Substantial evidence is that "relevant evidence that a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion." In reviewing the record for substantial
evidence, the Court will consider the record in the light
most favorable to the party prevailing below. However, the
"[C]ourt is not authorized to make its own factual
findings, assess credibility of witnesses or weigh the