The Third Department determined an airplane hangar, previously tax-exempt, was properly deemed taxable by the town assessor because it was not held for public use:
Where, as here, a municipality decides to eliminate a previously granted tax exemption, it has the burden of “‘proving that the real property is subject to taxation'” … . Faced with the burden of demonstrating that petitioner was not eligible for an exemption inasmuch as the hangar, as is relevant here, was not “held for a public use” (RPTL 406 ), respondents had to show that the hangar was not “‘occupied, employed, or availed of, by and for the benefit of the community at large'” … . That a private corporation “derives a benefit or that [a] county has leased the property to a private party does not by itself defeat the exemption” … . A determination that a parcel is exempt from real property taxation turns on whether it has a “‘public use’ . . . that enhances the health, education, safety, or welfare of the residents of the municipality” … .
The record reveals that the hangar is locked at all times and is not accessible to members of the general public; access to the bays is strictly limited to petitioner’s three members and parties who execute rental agreements with petitioner. Matter of Hangair, LLC v Hillock, 2015 NY Slip Op 01850, 3rd Dept 3-5-15