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Property Values near Towers


A hidden cost of any wireless infrastructure be it broadcasting, cell phones or smart meters, is their negative impact on the value of nearby properties.  A 2005 New Zealand survey found that buyers consider buildings with Cell Phone Base Stations (CPBS) attached to their roofs or that are close to such units to be very problematic, often avoiding such properties or are willing to pay 20% less for them.  [240]  One might think that to be true in any country but back in January 2014, amidst controversy over the need for towers for National Grid's smart grid / smart meter network, including a tower on Tory Fort Lane, Worcester City Council requested a report from the City Assessor on the impact of nearby wireless towers on property values.


Lacking a large enough set of examples locally, Mr. Ford contacted his peers from cities in Maryland, Texas & other states with smart meter deployments but none had done studies on the impact of microwave infrastructure on real estate values.  Relying on only one study in Florida that determined there was a decrease of 2% or less on parcels next to a tower and negligible decreases beyond 600 feet from a tower, the report dismissed any impact that increasing a tower's height might have, particularly the one on Tory Ft. Lane, that is sited within an existing substation.  [241] 


[Editor's note:  Florida, of all places, has very flat topography; tree height is limited by inability of roots to penetrate deeper than the very high water table; and the height of most buildings is limited by lack of solid ground.  This means the highest structure in most towns is the water tower that needs to be 60 ft. high or more to provide adequate water pressure.  Such a tower stands out above everything else.  FM radio stations have no trouble getting out 100 miles and more.  Even analog UHF-TV stations from 70 miles away were crystal clear using only rabbit ears or rooftop antennas.  The point being that cell phone , WiMax and other radio towers in Florida need not be as high as they need to be in the Northeast to cover a given square mile area so the visual impact of a given size tower in Florida is less than it is here in Massachusetts.]



















Tory Fort Lane Substation with 55' WiMax Antenna Pole, March 30, 2015


In July, 2014, the National Institute of Science, Law, and Public Policy (NISLPP) released a study finding "94-percent of the 1,000 people surveyed said that cell towers or antennas in a neighborhood or on a nearby building would impact their interest in a property and the price they were willing to pay for it. Additionally, 79-percent of participants admitted they would under no circumstances purchase or rent a property within a few miles of an antenna or cell tower."  [242]GoLocalWorcester.com headlined the discrepancy between the preferences of home buyers with Worcester's report about smart meter towers.   A survey by an EMF watchdog group returned extremely high percentage of respondents unfavorable towards renting or buying under or even within blocks of a cell tower base station.  [243]  In June, 2015, thirty subdivision residents in Gibsons, British Columbia expressed fear to their city council over locating a Rogers cell tower near their homes.  Some have health effects.  A real estate developer thought it will negatively impact value of houses he hasn't even sold yet. [244]

     On a related note wind turbines also have an impact on the desirability of parcels in their vicinity but for different reasons.  Their rotating blades produce infrasonic pressure waves that can be subtly felt as much as a mile away, keeping people awake at night.  Those in eyeshot are distracted by the visual flicker from the spinning turbines.  [245] 


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240  The Impact of Cell Phone Towers on House Prices in Residential Neighborhoods

         http://electromagnetichealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/TAJSummer05p256-277.pdf
241  City Assessor's Report:   Impact of Smart Grid, Smart Meters and Towers infrastructure

         on property values in other cities or towns throughout the country  [7 page archive 

         from Worcester City Council Attachments for 3/25/14]

         http://haltmasmartmeters.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/0425-1a-propertyvalues-7pages-attachment.pdf

         direct link:  http://www4.ci.worcester.ma.us/weblink7/DocView.aspx?id=428436

242  National Survey Contradicts Worcester’s Report About Smart Meters

         http://www.golocalworcester.com/news/national-survey-contradicts-worcesters-report-about-smart-meters
243  EMF Real Estate Survey Results: “Neighborhood Cell Towers & Antennas—Do They

         Impact a Property’s Desirability?”

         http://electromagnetichealth.org/electromagnetic-health-blog/survey-property-desirability/

244  Parkland residents oppose Rogers cell tower, Jacob Roberts / Staff Writer,

         Town of Gibsons, Coast Reporter, June 4, 2015

         http://www.coastreporter.net/news/local-news/parkland-residents-oppose-cell-tower-1.1957959   

245  Relationship between Wind Turbines and Residential Property Values in Massachusetts

         http://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-6371e_0.pdf