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City Landfill Next Door

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Rick Neighbors

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Senior Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
I recently received a request for a property, just outside the local city limits, apx 25 acres with 2 houses and a mfg home on it. Just found out that the large dirt mound off in the distance is the local city land fill.
Any ideas as to where you might find some data as to landfills affecting property values?? I know in our politically correct society that landfills are not the same as a dumps, but if it quacks like a duck..............
 

Mountain Man

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Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Oh boy, Environmental Assessment or Phase 1 time? I don't think that I would want to do that appraisal until the subject is given a clean bill of health from an environmental engineer. CYA.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
Try this:

http://www.epa.gov/enviro/index_java.html

It's been quite a while since I've used it but, if it's the one I'm thinking of, it will give you maps of all environmental 'items' near your subject and tell you if there is a problem. I've downloaded information for my workfiles and incorporated that info into reports when I felt is was worthwhile doing. Some sites that come up might surprise you.
 

Mountain Man

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Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Good site Pam, Thanks. Wooah, it is also scary. 8O
 

Charlotte Dixon

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Delaware
Rick, to me a landfill is a dump. Having said that, let me tell you about a great subdivision in my area. It WAS a landfill/dump, lots of gravel, old refrigerators, stoves, lots of sand and other fill dirt...no garbage. Then they cleaned it out, dug a man made pond, and now the lots sell for over a $100,000, and the houses sell from $250,000 up. We all said homes would never sell there. We were WRONG! Now back to your problem....I tend to think that would be external obsolescence, but I'd say follow Pam's web site suggestion. Good Luck!
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
We had the dubious distinction of having the largest landfill in the world, until it closed last year (Fresh Kills Landfill). This landfill took garbage from all of New York City for decades, so you can imagine the size (and stink). Real esate agents sold houses mostly in winter, during the summer you'd gag on the smell. It attracted seagulls by the millions. When the local press was scaring the hell out of everybody with toxic waste stories day in and day out it did have a negative impact. However, when it was announced that the landfill was closing (a couple of years ago) values took off like a rocket and they are still increasing at 30% a year - of course the buyers are from outside of the area - go figure. They are in the process of "capping" the mountains of garbage with landscaping and are actually "mining" the methane gas it generates. Not sure what final plans are (talking about parks, etc.).
 

Don Clark

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Virginia
8)

Actually, a city landfill can be a positive instead of a negative. We have had one in my city of Virginia Beach, Virginia for over 30 years. It is called "Mount Trashmore". We now have a second Mount Trashmore. The first includes a City Park, Lake, boat rides, playgrounds, etc. The landfill has been closed for over 20 years. There is a slight problem with methane once in awhile. A local DJ pulled a "War of the worlds" thingee a few years ago by stating that Mount Trashmore was ready to blow. Panicked the hell out of a lot of people. The FCC jerked him up rather tight. Also, the city from time to time has free movies at the top of the hill. One lady took her kids there one night and then sneaked off about 100 feet to have a cigarette. When she hit the zippo she was blown about 50 feet :twisted:

The city did a study a few years ago. They did a deep sample to check rate of decomposition. When they pulled up a sample they had an intake page of a newspaper from the 70's, and a perfectly intact hot dog :wink:

House near the Mount Trashmore area have steadily gained in value over the years.

Don
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
Rick,

The other posters have given good advice. External Obsolescence depends on the demand for the neighborhood and how tight vacant land is in the area.

In my area, the GEMS landfill was taboo in the 1980's. FHA accepted loans near there on a case by case basis. It became a superfund site and the affected homeowners were paid damages by the gov. Now, they're building homes down the road and directly across the street from it. No one seems to care about this fenced "mountain" with methane vent tubes on top and "liquid" vent tubes sticking out of the side in flat South Jersey.

My big concern would be if the subject had a private well since you stated it was outside of town. If the well water becomes contaminated and is not potable, you have a big problem and you may have a worthless site. If you have public water, you may not have a problem. So if you have a well, you may want to tell the lender to require a well water test as a condition in the appraisal report, to cover them and of course, you.

Just some thoughts before you proceed with your analysis.

Ben
 

jtrotta

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
State by State may differ, but generally you can go to the area DEP and get some answers, you have to look them up yourself. Older landfills were not as carefully watched as they are today, so anything can be there; but since the Rules have changed, most have been tested in some way.

Yep, when you mix various components together, you always get something you never bargain for; be careful; be thorough; and keep all records if you decide to go forward, no mattere who you are doing this for.
Do your work strictly by the book - it's the best advice I can offer 8)
 
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