This Opinion is subject to motion for reargument or formal revision before publication. See V.R.A.P. 40
On Appeal from Superior Court, Windsor Unit, Civil Division. Mary Miles Teachout, J.
Garfield Goodrum and Lucille Goodrum, Pro Ses, Reading, Plaintiffs-Appellants.
William H. Sorrell, Attorney General, and Barbara G. Ripley and Mary L. Bachman, Assistant Attorneys General, Montpelier, for Defendant-Appellee.
Present: Reiber, C.J., Dooley, Skoglund and Robinson, JJ., and Maley, Supr. J., Specially Assigned
[¶1] Garfield and Lucille Goodrum appeal the superior court's decision granting summary judgment to the Vermont Department of Taxes' Division of Property Valuation and Review (PVR) and denying the Goodrums' cross-motion for summary judgment on their claim that their farm buildings are eligible for enrollment in Vermont's Use Value Appraisal (UVA) Program. We affirm.
[¶2] The undisputed facts are as follows. The Goodrums own 41.54 acres in Reading, Vermont. All but two acres of land surrounding their home is enrolled in the UVA Program as undeveloped forest land. In 2008, the Goodrums formed Turtle Hill Farm of Vermont Animal Sanctuary, Inc. (THF), a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, foster, and adopt out animals, including horses, chickens, rabbits, and guinea pigs. The Goodrums lease four barns and two sheds to THF, which the organization uses to house, feed, manage, and otherwise care for the animals. THF is funded almost exclusively by donations, which it uses to cover its operating expenses. Most of the donations come from the Goodrums.
[¶3] In 2010, the Goodrums applied to enroll the barns and sheds leased to THF in the UVA Program, which would exempt the buildings from property taxation, but PVR determined that the buildings were ineligible. The Goodrums appealed to the Director of PVR, who also determined that the buildings were ineligible. The Goodrums then appealed to the superior court, and both parties moved for summary judgment. The court granted PVR's motion, concluding that the buildings are not eligible for enrollment because THF does not operate for gain or profit and is therefore not a farmer under 32 V.S.A. § 3752(7). The Goodrums filed this appeal.
[¶4] " We review summary judgment rulings de novo, using the same standard as the trial court." Demag v. Better Power Equip., Inc., 2014 VT 78, ¶ 9, ___ Vt. ___, 102 A.3d 1101. Summary judgment will be granted when, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, " there exist no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to ...