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Assessors board grants exemption for church
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Forsyth County News

The Forsyth County Board of Tax Assessors approved a property tax exemption for a church that had previously been denied because of rent it receives.

Living Stones Church did not initially get the exemption given to nonprofits due to receiving rent from a co-located physical therapy business at the Ronald Reagan Boulevard building.

The five-member board unanimously agreed on Thursday to exempt the nearly 90 percent of the building used for the church.

Senior Pastor Gary Bulley said the church needs the space and plans to expand once the business’ lease expires in late 2014, at which point Living Stones must reapply for the full exemption.

The church has been putting the rent it’s earned back in the general fund for operations, Bulley said.

Formerly known as Lakeland Community Church, Living Stones sought a new location after Forsyth County bought its building on Old Atlanta Road for what would become Sexton Hall Enrichment Center, he said.

The church’s current location purchased in 2011 “came with an existing tenant,” Bulley said.

The board of assessors expressed concern about setting a precedent of carving out exceptions for income streams on nonprofit exemptions, and so added the caveat that the church must reapply in 2015 to show that the tenant has left as planned.

Also during the meeting, the board heard appeals for conservation use from seven property owners who had been denied. It overturned four.

The tax deduction allows property owners to enter into a covenant for 10 years that the property must remain in a conservation use.