The Maetreum of Cybele, a 501(c)3 religious organization, has won an appeal from the denial of its applications for real property tax exemptions in the Town of Catskill, N.Y. 

The Maetreum is the corporate entity for the Cybeline Revival, a pagan following founded in 1999. The group purchased a three-acre parcel of real property which included a three-story, 12-bedroom main house, formerly an inn, as well as a small caretaker’s cottage and several out buildings.

In 2009, the group filed an application for exemption from real property tax which was denied by the town.

The applications were dismissed on the basis that “the property primarily is used to provide affordable cooperative housing to a small number of co-religionists, with the religious and charitable uses of the property being merely incidental to that primary non-exempt use.”

The Appellate Division, Third Department, reversed.  “At issue here is only the second element, whether the property is primarily used for religious or charitable purposes.”

With respect to that element, the court said, “Property uses that are auxiliary or incidental to the main and exempt purpose and use will not defeat the exemption.”