Clarendon faces rising property taxes

CLARENDON, Va. (WJLA) - The Clarendon section of Arlington is often associated with food and good times – but that’s an idea that's currently being tested.

"It bears on ludicrous, this is crazy," says Joe Corey, who owns Faccia Luna. Like so many other businesses in the area, he is seeing a dramatic increase in property taxes because assessments in the neighborhood are skyrocketing.

"The property values may be high, but all of a sudden the taxes go up and you price yourself out of the marketplace," he explains.

Some businesses are seeing assessments jump one to two hundred percent, meaning thousands of dollars more in taxes. At Java Shack, it’s a 50-percent bump, as costs get passed on to Java drinkers.

"Customers will only pay so much for coffee. That's the bottom line, so it could price us out of business," says a Java Shack worker.

Michelle Cowan is the CFO of Arlington County, and she sympathizes with property owners. She says the high demand for retail space means higher rents, and in turn, high assessments:

"Rising property values mean that's good for property owners' pockets because you're making more money."

In Fairfax County, commercial property values have actually declined a bit, while residential property values are on the way up -- and some are glad to hear it and believe that rising property values are worth the increase.

"I know the values are higher. It's a good thing overall, and in the long run, it's a great thing," says McLean resident Jake Sullivan, who agrees with county leaders in that it’s simply a sign of a strong market:

The average property tax increase for homeowners in Fairfax this year is $330.

Arlington County is encouraging property owners not happy with their assessments to come and meet with county representatives to look at the possibility of reducing the bottom line. Several people ABC7 spoke with say they are strongly considering an appeal.