A public hearing on a legislative proposal that would restructure property tax assessments on country clubs in Montgomery County will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium of the Park Street School in Rockville.
The hearing, on a proposal by Del. Luiz Simmons to exempt Montgomery County country clubs from favorable special tax assessments on open lands, will be held by the Montgomery County delegation to the state assembly.
The Montgomery County Board of Realtors is opposing the Simmons proposal.
"I suppose it seems only equitable that country clubs should pay taxes at the same rate as other county residents," said Jesse L. Peck, board president.
"What has been omitted from all discussion is that country clubs do pay equivalent taxes on all buildings and property improvements," Peck said. "It is only on a club's green open spaces that the assessment differs. That's because it is non-residential, undeveloped land that does not require expenditures. . . ."
Peck pointed out that the special treatment was accorded country clubs after some threatened to move from the built-up lower county to less populated areas, where they could take advantage of lower land costs and lower realty taxes. Peck said that after the special assessment treatment was authorized by the state legislature only one club moved.
Speaking for real estate interests, Peck also said that extra taxation might force some country clubs, "few of which operate in the black," to close or move and thus open up their land to development by a purchaser. "The natural environment would be lost forever," he said.