WATERFORD — A Waterford family whose appeal of a denial for property tax relief was denied last week say they respect the decision of the Oxford County administrator not to have an immediate rehearing and hope the issue will be resolved soon without further appeals.

Virginia C. Howe of 187 McIntire Road requested town assessors grant a tax abatement because she said her property had been devalued by noise from a nearby gun club. The town denied the request Nov. 25, 2012.

State law requires appeals be filed within 60 days, but Howe said she was not notified of the denial until March 2013, and immediately filed an appeal to the Oxford County Board of Assessment Review.

On July 24, the board voted 4-0 not to review her application for an appeal because it was filed well beyond the 60-day period.

The following day, Virginia and her parents, John and Deborah Howe, joint owners of the property, sent a letter to Oxford County Administrator Scott Cole asking for an immediate rehearing.

Cole said Tuesday that it would not be granted because the appeal was filed too late.


“We respect that decision,” John Howe said. “If we fell through the cracks of the dates so be it and we’ll try to do better next time.”

Howe said he hopes the issue will be solved quickly without going through a lot of appeals.

“We’re looking forward to trying to solve the issue on the ground floor,” he said.

In 2012, the Oxford County Board of Assessment Review granted a tax abatement for John and Deborah Howe because of the gun noise. But when their daughter, Virginia, purchased part of their property and sought a similar abatement the following year, she was denied.

The Howes’ fight began when Howe and some 16 neighbors formed the Waterford Noise Abatement Coalition and brought their concerns to selectmen. John Howe, who has owned the 175-acre farm at 298 McIntire Road for 30 years, said previously that he and the gun club lived side by side cooperatively for years.

He said the noise problem began when the former Auburn Gun Club came to Waterford in 2006 and brought in new members to shoot skeet.


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