Day Pitney LLP, along with co-counsel Tova Lutz, Esq., obtained a favorable decision in a pro bono case of first impression on behalf of client Aish Hatorah New York, Inc.
The case involved the City of Passaic's denial of a property tax exemption for the "Aish House" or the "Passaic Women's House" for the 2015 through 2018 tax years. The Aish House was conceived to provide an atmosphere for unmarried adult Jewish women to nurture and develop their faith in Orthodox Judaism in a supervised structured environment.
The program is operated under the guidance and instruction of an Orthodox "rabbi-in-residence" who is charged with ensuring that the Aish House is maintained and that the program and its participants observe, and comply with all applicable laws of Orthodox Judaism.
The Aish House consisted of a residence section for the women residents who lived at Aish House and participated in the program and a separate section for the "rabbi-in-residence" and his family to live. The rabbi's wife was also intimately involved in Aish's programming. In denying the tax exemption for the property, the City claimed that it was not being used for religious purposes, there was no signage, and there were three synagogues within walking distance.
Essentially, the City claimed the Aish House was merely a residence for single Jewish women and a rabbi and his family. That alone, it claimed, did not make it subject to a tax exemption for a religious use. The City also argued that because the Aish House did not obtain land use approval to operate for religious purposes, the exemption should be denied. To Day Pitney's knowledge, this case was the first tax exemption case of its kind in New Jersey involving this type of religious residence.
After summary judgment motions were filed and argued, the Tax Court of New Jersey issued a 37-page decision granting the tax exemption to the Aish House for the years in question, finding that it qualified as a tax-exempt property under both the religious use exemption and the exemption for the moral and mental improvement of men, women and children.
The Tax Court also found that the failure to obtain land use approval was "inapposite the court's determination whether the subject property is exempt from taxation," and therefore did not enter into the Tax Court's exemption analysis.
Christopher Stracco and Sylvia-Rebecca Gutiérrez handled the case for Day Pitney, along with co-counsel Tova Lutz of the Lutz Law Group. This tax case is one of several that Stracco and his team have handled for religious organizations on a pro bono publico basis.
On December 12, Michael Furey will be speaking at Commercial Leasing 2019: Complex Issues In Commercial Real Estate, a program presented by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE) in cooperation with the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section.
On December 11, Craig Gianetti will be speaking at "The Land Use Institute: Mt. Laurel and Other Hot Topics," a program presented by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE) in cooperation with the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) Land Use Section and the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planners Association.
Mark Romance authored an article, "Five Tips for Representing a Non-Party Served with a Document Subpoena: Welcome to the Party?," published by the American Bar Association Section of Litigation.
On October 25, Christopher Stracco and Katharine Coffey co-presented a webinar for the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE), entitled "The Legal Aspects of Electronic Billboards and Signs."
Christopher Stracco co-authored the New Jersey chapter for the 2019 edition of The Property Tax Deskbook, a publication of the American Bar Association Section of Taxation.
Day Pitney Press Release
Craig Gianetti is featured in a Market Forecast special section in the January 2020 issue of Real Estate New Jersey.
Day Pitney Press Release
Firm Ranked Tier 1 Nationally for Energy Law and Trusts and Estates Law
Craig Gianetti, a partner in Day Pitney's Real Estate & Land Use group, has been elected to serve as Vice Chair of the Land Use Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJBSA).
On January 28, Day Pitney hosted the New England Women in Energy and the Environment (NEWIEE) Boston Chapter's Off-Shore Wind Networking Event at the firm's Boston office.