Michael Jackson may have violated zoning rules on his Neverland Ranch when he claimed a tax break for preserving agricultural land, Santa Barbara, Calif., County officials said. Officials plan to visi

Michael Jackson may have violated zoning rules on his Neverland Ranch when he claimed a tax break for preserving agricultural land, Santa Barbara, Calif., County officials said. Officials plan to visit Jackson's home in the Santa Ynez Valley in the next month to determine whether he's surpassed the development limit for those claiming the credit.

Santa Barbara County supervising planner Larry Appel said he would present the results to the county's Agricultural Preserve Advisory Committee in April. He's scheduled to report his initial findings tomorrow (March 14).

Jackson can develop two of the roughly 2,600 acres on his property for nonagricultural uses and still claim major tax breaks. But Appel said the entertainer used nearly three times that amount. Neverland's structures include a guardhouse, recreational buildings, barns, a playground, and amusement rides.

The 2002-03 assessed value of Neverland Ranch is $12,292,618, according to Chris Lyons of the Santa Barbara County Assessor's Office. Jackson's property taxes this year are estimated at about $13,000.

Without the tax break, the property's value, for tax purposes, would increase by about $6 million, Lyons said. If the county finds Jackson violated zoning regulations, he may need to reduce the number of buildings on his ranch or lose the tax break.


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