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Impact Of Cell Towers On Property Values

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lorhutton

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
New Jersey
Our town is in the process of hearing testimony from one of the major cell service providers who wish to install a 110 ft. monopole...1.5 miles down the road from an existing 120 ft. monopole (they were already denied permission to increase the height of that monopole in order to co-locate).
Here is my question; where can I find information regarding appropriate comps for this issue? The fellow who testified, claimed to be a licensed appraiser...and a relocation specialist; he then provided what he claimed to be "expert" testimony where he used a town that is 25 miles away...one which is much more densely populated....with fairly heavy density in housing with a large amount of commercial property as well as the comp on which he based his answer.
Our town is extremely rural...mostly farmland and residential....is noted for it's beautiful scenery, dotted with many historic homes, and is considered to be extremely desirable, with high property values because of that fact (voted the best rural place to live in our state by a local tourism magazine) .
Our contention is that even though there was no difference in the the sale of like house with a monople view to the sale of like house without the monople view within the same town...it is not comparable to our town because folks who endeavor to live in a "city" type environment are more accepting of having "city like" objects in their view; whereas those who endeavor to move to the country do so to have a view of things that are indigenous to such. In addition, the existing pole in our town is well camouflaged by trees...the proposed pole would not be...and would be very obvious from a major road that most use to travel into our town...and...would be directly across the road from a Bed & Breakfast.
Sooo...needless to say..we believe this fellow used such a comp because if he used an area that was indeed just like ours....the story would tell a bit differently. Therefore, can anybody point me in a direction where I can research this a bit more? Oh...and by the way...he claimed...unlike folks such as yourselves...he has no pressure to make the "numbers". He also claimed that as far as he knows, there is no other appraiser qualified..other than himself... to analyze the stats with regard to property values and cell towers. Hmmmm....perhaps you can see why we doubt his entire testimony. Any help is greatly appreciated. [/b]
 

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
Your best bet is to hire an experienced appraiser that is competent to do this type of work. The Appraiser that did that may or may not be right in his findings. This is not a typical job that most appriasers deal with.

If you have comparable data you need to be able to properly analyze the data. Thats where you need the professional service or a QUALIFIED appraiser that can explain and convince whoever that he knows what he speaks of.
 

lorhutton

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
New Jersey
Thank you for your prompt reply. My point in asking is not to find an appraiser to counteract his claim....only to have a better understanding as to why the two are even considered to be comparable. Are those who make determinations such as these trained differently...and certified differently than an appraiser who would appraise a residence for refinance or sale? Seems to me that comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges should not differ...regrdless of the application. If so...how would one find an appraiser such as this? Are they called something different? Again...and help that steers me in the direction of obtaining info is appreciated.
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
What you looking for is an appraiser that specializes in this sort of thing. Call around and ask there qualifications if they have experince with this.

As far as the cell tower goes. I've worked in the cell tower installation business several years ago. Has anyone in your area asked them to "camafaloge" it. When done properly, they can look like trees (southern california we did several that looked like palm trees) we even put them on the side of buildings and the end result was it looked just like the building. So that may be one approach to it.
 

lorhutton

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
New Jersey
Thank you for your reply. The site is in the middle of acres of vacant land...with one house (owned by the benefactor of the tower) closest to it.
We do plan to make a request that it be required to conform to the environment...but right now we are in the stage where the cell tower company gets to provide expert witnesses...whom we are allowed to question...but we are not yet allowed to make any statements. Also..the towers that I've seen that are supposed to look like trees in my opinion, really don't...so I'm not too sure it's worth the request. However, I'm thinking of asking them to construct a a structure such as a grain silo..and attach the antenna to that...and construct the equipment cabinets in such a way to look like small barns. However, right now, I am looking for any info that might prove the "experts" testimony to be inaccurate..thereby casting doubt on their credibility as a whole.... and possibly avoiding the tower altogether. Thanks for your input.
By the way...what do appraisers do when appraising like homes, in a like area...one with a view of a cell tower..one without? Are any adjustments made for negative impact? Or..is it treated as a non-issue?
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
It would have to be derived from market data. If sales within proximity or within view of a tower sell for less than like kind properties with out that feature, it is external depreciation. But in my area, the market does not indicate a difference for having a tower within view. Folks like the convenience of using their phones. Ahhh, modernization.
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
Haven't found any in my area (urban) no impact on value for cellular phone towers. People are so used to them here that they don't even notice them.

Ryan

P.S.

As far as the shelter for the equipment goes. Request they build it under ground. All you would see is a trap door sticking up out of the ground. The other thing for camaflague is have the build a tower that resembles a windmill.
 

lorhutton

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
New Jersey
Thanks to al for the input. I like the undeground equipment idea. However...I can just see them trotting out "Mr. Expert on Equipment Witness" who will drone on about how the cabinets can't be put underground...with the twon having no way to disprove it.....
There is a meeting tonight with "Mr. Expert Appraisal Witness" testifying....I'll report back if anything of interest should surface. Meanwhile...one more thing...he did state that he is unable to say whether or not the tower would have an adverse affect on the sale price of raw land...which surrounds the proposed site...so, that is at least something in our favor.
 

Shannon

Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
lorhutton:

I've been to 40+ public hearing regarding cell towers. The "experts" are trying to put on over on your community. Yes, you are right that the "comparable" urban area 25 miles away is VERY different from your more rural area. I'll bet the expert appraiser chose that area as comparable because it is not.

Here's a couple of questions that you want to make sure get on the public record. First, ask the board to require that the cell tower company purchase a bond to finance the removal of the tower once they are finished using it. Who's going to pay for getting rid of that tower if the industry goes to satellites? Next, ask if they can build a silo around the monopole to disguise it. Last, push for co-locating the tower on an existing one or an existing structure. The cell engineers are very anal, and they really don't like to alter their grid patterns. Push very hard on this issue. If you want a list of other towers or structures, contact the F(ederal) A(viation) A(uthority). They have to give their permission for any structure above a certain height, and they will have a record of the locations.

These tower companies all have very similar techniques for getting their way. They tend to mow down the locals with legions of suited "experts". I've been able to discredit in public hearings most of the so called appraisal experts.

When you go to these hearings, bring lots of people with you. More is better, and you can't have too many. Keep pushing the cell company to co-locate.

I wish you and your community the best of luck.

Regards,

Shannon Julian
Chapel Hill, NC
 

lorhutton

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
New Jersey
Shannon,

Thanks so much for your candid and helpful reply. Last night I believe that we may have made some headway. The Appraiser admitted that he did not know that the property directly across the road from the proposed site is a Bed & Breakfast....which would be less than 400 feet from the tower base...with a totally unobstructed view of said tower....which seems to indicate that he did not do his homework....and consequently makes one question what else he may have forgot to include in making his analysis. In addition, the fellow whose job it is to select sights within the search ring testified that one of the reasons that the site met the criteria was that an adjoining property contains a number of vehicles on it. Therefore, the impact of a cell tower would be far less than what he feels is the impact of that property. He admitted that the vehicles can't be seen unless one peeks in beyond the trees, etc. When I asked him to explain why he believes that there would be ANY impact on a property by a cell tower, when the Appraiser testified that there is no impact, his answer was "I don't know". Last..but by no means least, it has been discovered that the comps the Appraiser used (the one 25 miles away) were marketed under false pretenses. According to that town engineer...the buyers were told that the tower was to be torn down.
So...one more question. Do you know if indeed developers price the homes they build near towers take the tower into consideration when determining the market value?
Once again, thank you.
 
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