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Thread: Cell towers in low density SFR

  1. #1
    Cyburbian WhenIGrowUp's avatar
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    Cell towers in low density SFR

    I saw no answers that speak to this question during my search, so I thought I'd put it out there myself.

    Do cell towers lower residential property value? Have there been any studies published that link a correlation between home values and cell tower proximity?

    What is the hang-up folks have with cell towers in or near their neighborhoods/subdivisions? Is it purely aesthetic?

    Everybody wants great cell coverage, but no one wants the hardware in place to make that happen.

    I'm trying to formualte a defensible opinion of a propsed cell tower on a orphan piece of low-density SFR, and can hear the torches being lit and the pitch forks being sharpened already. Some of the arguments center around questionable looks, others tout the loss of home values.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder, so we can't debate what's pretty and what's not, but land values? Is there a credible way to support or refute this argument? Seems to me to be a WAG from an anti-, not sound criteria on which to formulate an opinion.
    "We are not going to have public meetings to review architecture. Public input ruins the idea of professional review." -Design Review Committee Chairman, 11/04/09

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Whether or not cell towers lower residential property values is difficult to tell because residential property values are market-driven. However, if the people in the neighborhood object to cell towers than they will assume that they will lower their property values just like every other undesirable land use does.

    The hang up with cell towers is both aesthetic and the common belief among a lot of people that they radiate some kind of electromagnetic energy that is harmful. Cell towers and utility towers are looked at in the same light.

    A suggestion with locating cell towers is to locate the equipment on an existing tower or building. Sometimes they can go on existing utility towers. I have seen school districts make extra money by locating cell equipment on the sides or roofs of schools. Look to see what already exists in the neighborhood that the cell equipment could be placed on.

    The problem with debating the issue of aesthetics is perception. Any logical argument that clearly illustrates how a cell tower can be made to blend into a neighborhood is useless where there is already a perception on the neighborhood resident's part that the cell tower is ugly, will lower their property values and will harm their children's brains.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    In my mind things of an industrial nature in a residential area may not lower property values, but could slow residential sales, and it will probably keep property values from rising as much as other areas without industrial appurtenances.

    You have an opportunity to help protect property values in the language of your zoning regs.

    For instance, we have a cell phone tower in the steeple of a church, and one "disguised" as a pine tree.

  4. #4
    Member
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    I use to work for a consulting firm for telecommunications. So I have heard all the excuses and the not in my back yard pleas. Do you work for the local government, for the telecommunications company, or will this be placed on your property.

    In regards to home values, I have seen pieces for both sides. Some claim, people want the technology so it only helps home values, some say it blends in and you wouldn't even notice over time much the same as power lines, other technologies, etc.

    Most neighbors if they do complain are worried about the look and health concerns. Despite many claims and reports always provided some still claim that the government/companies are lying and that the truth will one day come out.


    Some interesting items...
    http://appraisersforum.com/showthread.php?t=68344
    http://appraisersforum.com/showthread.php?t=115876

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    There are some great "wireless communications" ordinances out there - don't let cell towers dictate that. I have seen no evidence that cell towers lower property values. My last two houses, I actually lived less than a block from a cell tower at each one and it took me about 4-6 months to notice each of them.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WhenIGrowUp View post
    ...Do cell towers lower residential property value? Have there been any studies published that link a correlation between home values and cell tower proximity?

    What is the hang-up folks have with cell towers in or near their neighborhoods/subdivisions? Is it purely aesthetic?
    ...
    I'm trying to formualte a defensible opinion of a propsed cell tower on a orphan piece of low-density SFR... Some of the arguments center around questionable looks, others tout the loss of home values.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder, so we can't debate what's pretty and what's not, but land values? Is there a credible way to support or refute this argument? Seems to me to be a WAG from an anti-, not sound criteria on which to formulate an opinion.
    Having spent a decade in the wireless tower permitting industry (on the dark side, not the municipal one), this is an argument I've never heard. Of course I always steered my client's/employers installations towards zoning districts where they would be permitted by right, or with a simple admin review. Sometimes one of my site acquisition consultants would propose a residential installation. I'd talk common sense.

    Most WCF ordinances have stipulations on the tower fall zone. Yes, the structure can be designed to crumple. Obligatory Katrina photo:


    Keep in mind that a typical tower requires substantial foundation work; that caisson of cement represents a long-term commitment. It may need aircraft ID lighting on the structure, and always has a light above the shelter doorway.

    I've seen equipment shelters with heavy sound insulation. The temperature controls do make noise, and I wouldn't want one right next door.

    How about a pocket park instead?

    More pics here:
    http://s4.photobucket.com/albums/y13...wers/?start=40

  7. #7
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    We just approved a cell phone tower that is one of the light poles at the local football field. Now that it's up you can't even tell it's there. Coincidentally the networks get really bad service starting about 3 PM... so I say it was wonderful placement.

    We had one man who was going to get this tower on his property for several thousand per month (which was denied) and he just happened to be on the school board. When the vote came to approve the tower on their property he was the only one who voted "no", citing concerns for children's safety. He has since been replaced because it was quite obvious why he voted the way he did.

    Our Assessor did some studies and said they do not affect property values and the FCC Telecommunications Act of 1996 actually prohibits cities and their Boards from making cell tower decisions based on health issues. You will hear arguments about health issues but you really should hamper those immediately because by federal law you can't take that into account.

    People will start to bring out facts from European countries and how LA doesn't allow them on city property which really isn't relevant to the topic at hand because unless you're in LA or those EU countries it's no the same situation.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Vel, the obligatory Katrina example is rare and great for shocking public officials everywhere into over-regulating. In Wisconsin, a 105% setback to height is more real, as icing makes a tower fall down at its break points, not tip over like that picture. Same for major power lines. We did require all locators to be in one insulated shelter, for noise, but also to avoid the "village" effect of numerous "huts".

    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    It may need aircraft ID lighting on the structure, and always has a light above the shelter doorway.
    Sorry for the double post. There is a *good* reason why many cell towers are 199' tall. It avoids almost all FAA review unless its in an approach. Even then, many get bult despite an FAA objection.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    ^^ We had one installation, a 145' monopole, on the side of a wooded hill, high above the city which pulled the BANANA trick. (Let's put it here, let's put it there, how about a huge monopine in the middle of a future park, how about a veterans memorial shelter with a flagpole, why Veloise, you did too state that your company would pay for the entire memorial...sorry, we are too busy to speak with anyone...)

    City manager, also on the airport board, requested an FAA light. Thought it would help the local 2-seater pilots find the airport, and miss the hill.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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    Quote Originally posted by WhenIGrowUp View post
    I saw no answers that speak to this question during my search, so I thought I'd put it out there myself.

    Do cell towers lower residential property value? Have there been any studies published that link a correlation between home values and cell tower proximity?

    What is the hang-up folks have with cell towers in or near their neighborhoods/subdivisions? Is it purely aesthetic?

    Everybody wants great cell coverage, but no one wants the hardware in place to make that happen.

    I'm trying to formualte a defensible opinion of a propsed cell tower on a orphan piece of low-density SFR, and can hear the torches being lit and the pitch forks being sharpened already. Some of the arguments center around questionable looks, others tout the loss of home values.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder, so we can't debate what's pretty and what's not, but land values? Is there a credible way to support or refute this argument? Seems to me to be a WAG from an anti-, not sound criteria on which to formulate an opinion.
    In Canada, cell towers are controlled by the CRTC (Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission) which is a federal agency - as a result, Municipal law has no jurisdiction. Now because cell companies (some) have been reasonable and some cities have had problems; some (like Calgary) have policies on placement of Cell towers and companies (generally) try to work with companies.

    The issue has come up quite freequently here in Calgary and it is purely an esthetic issue for the most part; but it's also a consultation issue. Residents feel that it's not fair that something like that is being built in their community without any consultation or opportunity for input.

    This is one of the reasons I live in a downtown condo!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian WhenIGrowUp's avatar
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    This is all good information, thank you.

    This piece of property is for sale, but essentially un-buildable. It's a 3-sided corner lot, really it's the point of land in between a fork in the road. With 50' and 40' (or 35', depends on how they classify the minor street) setbacks on each street frontage, and the daily traffic counts in the thousands, the lot is not fit for a SFR structure.

    Co-location is not an option that I'm aware. There *is* a large capacity electrical tower across the street that runs through the city, but the guy walking this deal thru the process (a cellular speculator) says the power company does not allow co-locates on their infrastructure, and they do not allow new monopoles to be built on their property or easements.

    So far the gentleman has not been back to our office and I do not know where he is in the purchasing process.

    He will not buy the property for a pocket park for the neighborhood; he is not a philanthropist. He suggested the city should buy it, develop a park, and leave him 15k SF +/- for his pole & shack. The city declined his kind offer.
    "We are not going to have public meetings to review architecture. Public input ruins the idea of professional review." -Design Review Committee Chairman, 11/04/09

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