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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 7, no. 156: March 11, 1871

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AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. YIL NEW YORK, SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 1871. No. 156. Published Weekly by ■ ' TEE REAL ESTATE RECORD ASSOCIATION. TERMS. Ono year. In advance.......................$6 00 AU communications should he addressed to C. "W. ST\;^3CTGT, 106 BROAllWAY. COR. OP PiNE STREET. :Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by 0. W. SWEET, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. ill No receipt for money due the Real Est.ite Record •will be acknowledged unless signed by one of our regular collectors, Henry D. SMrrir or Thomas b: Cummings. AU biUs for.collection will be sent from the office on a regu¬ larly printed form. Patent binders for preserving the Record can be had ,at the office,' or wiU be sent to any address in the city upon the receipt of one dollar. TO THE ALBANY LUMBER DEALEES. Otjb regular agent for the advertising de¬ partment of the Record, Mr. W. J. Slater, will be in Albany on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of. next week, and will make it a point during his stay to call upon the princi¬ pal lumber dealers of that city for the purpose of ofEering the advertising columns of the Record to such houses as deem it to their interest to extend their trade in this locality. As our paper is taken by all of the lumber dealers of New Tork and Brooklyn, besides having a large circulation throughout the lum¬ ber regions of the country, it is unnecessary to enlarge upon the unequalled opportunity offer¬ ed to the dealers of Albany to effectually reach through our .columns the whole trade of New York and .Kings County. During his stay in Albany Mr. Slater can be found at the Delavan House, and a note from any firm on business matters will receive prompt attention. THE WEST SIDE ASSOCIATION. The first public meeting of this Association was held at the Howard Rooms, on Wednesday evening last, Mr. W. R.Martin, the president, occupying the chair. One of the most interest¬ ing subjects presented was the correct principles of assessment, on which topic Mr. John W. Pirsson read an able paper, extracts from which we give below. Assessments for public improvements ma;y be divided mto two classes. First:. Those which relate to the opening of streets and avenues, and widening and straightening, or extending the same, and thes laying oiit and .establishing of public pa,rks and places, Second: Those relating to regulating, grading, sewering, and.paving the avenues,' streets, and public pla.ces, and, rendering them fit forithe usejnpt ,pniy of those owning lands fronting thereon, but also of the public. ' i r " f The procee^ugs for afisessments are bo numerous and so general throughout the city, and the burdens thereby imposed are so un¬ equally and': unjustly distributed, that every owner of real estate has a direct interest in the subject as to what are " the correct principles of assessment." When the laws are so amended and administered that no property shall be assessed for benefit, unless such benefit is direct, immediate, and actual, we shall have reached a substantial solution of this difficult problem. To ascertain whether such benefit really attaches or not, one of these three tests should apply to the property proposed to be charged: First. Will it bring more rent ? Second. Will those carrying on business thereon have an increase of trade ? Third. Will it command a greater price in the market ? Of the mode now in use, it may be safely averred that in a large majority of the cases the alleged benefit is indirect, uncertain, and often purely imaginary. An examination of the assessment proceedings on file wUl show that some of the.settled neighborhoods are covered over, as it were, with a network of assessments, while other like neighborhoods are comparatively free from such suggestive lines of demarcation. This goes to show that the cost is not properly distributed, and it never can be until the city pays it due proportion for the benefit it undoubtedly derives. An examination of two assesment proceed¬ ings of comparatively recent date will serve to show how unreal are the benefits in most cases which are assumed to be conferred. Take, first, the case of the extension of Madison av., from Forty-second to Eighty-sixth st. Now, Madison av. shared with the Fifth av. the pre¬ eminence of being one of the two first-class avenues for private residences. It was built upon in as good and expensive style, and was, to a certain extent, the rival of the Fifth av. But few vacant lots remained, its character was fully established, and it needed no help of this kind. As to the Fifth av. it was about to enjoy tha monopoly of being the only first-class avenue for residences between Forty-second st. and the Park. The extension of Madison av. added just so many lots to be brought into com¬ petition with it. One would naturally suppose, then,, that neither the FiEth ave. nor Madison ave., below Forty-second st., would have been called upon to pay anything for that improve¬ ment. But such was not the case. The bounda¬ ries of that assessment were, north by One- hundred and first St., south by Twenty-second St., east by the Third ave., and west by the Sixth ave. What benefit was that improve¬ ment to the Third, Fourth, or Sixth aves., or to any street lying between them, more than to any other street or avenue ? Did any piece of property thereon bring any greater rent ? or was it more valuable for business purposes ? Or would it sell for more in consequence ? Certainly not. When then was the justice of of assessing property upon those streets or avenues? The other case is that of the Plaza, as it is called, the 200 feet square added to the south¬ east corner of the Central Park at Fifty-ninth st. and Fifth ave., for the purpose (as the Board of Commissioners of Central Park state in their report of 18(38) of affording a more capacious entrance to" the Central Park at that place. Now, clearly the ojoly property which received a direct and certain benefit was the' Central Park, and a narrow strip of land not more than 100 feet in depth,which was thus made to front upon the Park as extended. Aa to all the other land charged, it received no greater benefit for that "improved entrance" than any other land on this island. And yet the boundaries of the benefit map were north by Seventy-second st., south by Thirty-fourth st., east by Fourth ave., and west by Eighth ave. The number of lota assessed was 8.318, including the 2,600 in that part charged to the Park. Eight thousMid three hundsred and eighteen lots assessed- to pay for sixteen lots. - „, Amount awarded for the 16 lots........$495, "JBO Amount raised by the aasessment...... . 583,530 Cost of the proceedings to acquire title to those 16 lots....................... §37,780 If any owner of real estate is prepared to con¬ tend that a system which can make such an exhibit does not need a through reforination then he must be one of those peculiar individuals who love to be imposed upon. And there are doubtless many such in this city, judging from the patient manner in which such impositions are submitted to. In conclusion, a few words vsdU serve to sug¬ gest the proper remedy, namely: First: The laws should be so amended that the limits of all assessments throughout the city shall be re¬ stricted to one-half the distance to the next street or avenue, and not to extend in length beyond the line of the improvement. Second: The amount to be imposed for the opening of any street or avenue, or the laying out of any public park or place, established under the act of AprE 3, 1807, should not be more than one-half the assessed value of tho the property charged, nor in the aggregate should more than one-half the cost be assessed upon the district. For all other improvements of that kind not provided for in the established plan of the city, the amount to be imposed upon the property should not exceed one-quarter of its assessed value, nor in the aggregate should more than one-quarter of the cost be levied upon the district assessed. Third: The remainder of tiie cost should be paid by the city in the "City Improvement Stock" or bonds, as authorized in the act of 1869. The advantages of this mode will be three¬ fold. It will simplify and expedite the pro¬ ceedings. It will, reduce largely the cost for maps, surveys, commissioners' fees, &c. It will be. substantially just to all, as the expenses wiU be borne by those properly chargeable with them, namely, the property owners really benefited, in their fair proportion, and the city, which derives the chief benefit a.nd holds it in perpetuity, in its fair proportion. OTJE NEW PABKS. It is very important that efforts should be made at once to impress upon Hhenew Depcvrt- ment of Public Parks the great impoztance of hastening forward the iinprovemeht of the MoRNiNGsrDE, Park, the assessment for which has been paid, and very liberally'too, by the property-owners last autumn. There is no reason why the whole expense of this improyemeiat should be borne by the city at this period.