Landowners hoping to have property reclassified by the Lewis County assessor have until the end of the year to submit their applications.
Those “current use” designations apply to property tax assessments. Properties up for reclassification would be covered by the Open Space Law or Designated Forest Lands. Anyone already enrolled in a program does not need to sign up again.
A press release from the Lewis County Assessor’s Office noted that under the Open Space Act the value of land as it regards to property taxes is determined by the current use of the land rather than the “highest and best use.” Meanwhile, the Open Space Act encompasses the following four categories:
• Open Space Farm and Agriculture Land (agricultural production): Farms with less than 20 acres are subject to minimum earnings in order to qualify.
• Designated Forest Land (growing and harvesting trees): Timbered parcels of 5 or more acres growing commercial types of trees. These include but are not limited to fir, alder, ash, hemlock and cedar.
• Open Space Land (land that is preserved in its natural state): This land must conserve and enhance natural or scenic resources, protect streams or water supplies, promote conservation of soils, wetlands, beaches or tidal marshes or preserve archaeological and historic sites.
• Open Space Farm and Agricultural Conservation Land: Land previously classified under farm and agriculture classification that no longer meets those criteria and is reclassified under open space land or “traditional farmland” (not classified), that is devoted to agricultural uses and has a high potential for returning to commercial agriculture.
Applications include a $350 minimum processing fee per parcel with an additional recording fee charge of up to $208. Refunds are not offered for spaces that are denied Open Space classification. Specific inquiries may be directed to Tanya Hahn, exemptions clerk at the Lewis County Assessor's Office, by phone at 360-740-1103.
Applications must be delivered to the Lewis County Assessor’s Office at 351 NW North St. or postmarked by Dec. 31.