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DECREASED REAL ESTATE VALUE

How would you like one of these ugly monsters installed on the sidewalk next to your home?  This one was installed in a public right of way (PROW, aka sidewalk) on Via De La Paz in beautiful Pacific Palisades, because the City of Los Angeles currently lacks rigorous regulations concerning proposed PROW wireless installations.  Why isn't the Los Angeles City Council and Attorney updating the city's ordinance like residents are asking?  Photo courtesy Pacific Palisades Residents Association, http://pprainc.org/
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For residents in other communities opposing proposed wireless facilities in your neighborhood: in addition to the real estate studies you send and share with your local officials, talk to your local real estate professionals and inform and educate them about the negative effects on local property values that cell towers have, and ask them to submit letters of support to city officials, or have them sign a petition that will be forwarded onto your city officials.  See examples below.  It's very important to have your local real estate professionals back up what the experts report in their studies to make your arguments real and relative to your specific community.  You can also educate your local homeowners associations and neighborhood councils about the negative property value effects and have them submit letters and sign petitions, too.  Check out the other pages on this website (click links in right column) for other helpful information.

Residents are justifiably concerned about proposed cell towers reducing the value of their homes and properties.  Who would want to live right next to one, or under one?  And imagine what it’s like for people who purchase or build their dream home or neighborhood, only to later have an unwanted cell tower installed just outside their window? 

This negative effect can also contribute to urban blight, and a deterioration of neighborhoods and school districts when residents want to move out or pull their children out because they don’t want to live or have their children attend schools next to a cell tower. 

People don’t want to live next to one not just because of health concerns, but also due to aesthetics and public safety reasons, i.e., cell towers become eyesores, obstructing or tarnishing cherished views, and also can attract crime, are potential noise nuisances, and fire and fall hazards.

These points underscore why wireless facilities are commercial facilities that don't belong in residential areas, parks and schools, and find out why they should be placed in alternative, less obtrusive locations.  In addition, your city officials have the power to regulate the placement and appearance of cell towers, as long as such discrimination is not unreasonable, and especially if you show them that you already have coverage in your area.

As mentioned on our Home Page, putting cell towers near residential properties is just bad business. For residential owners, it means decreased property values. For local businesses (realtors and brokers) representing and listing these properties, it will create decreased income. And for city governments, it results in decreased revenue (property taxes).

Read this New York Times news story, "A Pushback Against Cell Towers," published in the paper's Real Estate section, on August 27, 2010: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/realestate/29Lizo.html?_r=1&ref=realestate

A number of organizations and studies have documented the detrimental effects of cell towers on property values.  

1.  The Appraisal Institute, the largest global professional membership organization for appraisers with 91 chapters throughout the world, spotlighted the issue of cell towers and the fair market value of a home and educated its members that a cell tower should, in fact, cause a decrease in home value. 

The definitive work on this subject was done by Dr. Sandy Bond, who concluded that "media attention to the potential health hazards of [cellular phone towers and antennas] has spread concerns among the public, resulting in increased resistance" to sites near those towers. Percentage decreases mentioned in the study range from 2 to 20% with the percentage moving toward the higher range the closer the property. These are a few of her studies:

a. "The effect of distance to cell phone towers on house prices" by Sandy Bond, Appraisal Journal, Fall 2007, see attached. Source, Appraisal Journal, found on the Entrepreneur website, http://www.entrepreneur.com/tradejournals/article/171851340.html or http://www.prres.net/papers/Bond_Squires_Using_GIS_to_Measure.pdf

b.  Sandy Bond, Ph.D., Ko-Kang Wang, “The Impact of Cell Phone Towers on House Prices in Residential Neighborhoods,” The Appraisal Journal, Summer 2005; see attached. Source: Goliath business content website, http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-5011857/The-impact-of-cell-phone.html

c. Sandy Bond also co-authored, "Cellular Phone Towers: Perceived impact on residents and property values" University of Auckland, paper presented at the Ninth Pacific-Rim Real Estate Society Conference, Brisbane, Australia, January 19-22, 2003; see attached. Source: Pacific Rim Real Estate Society website, http://www.prres.net/Papers/Bond_The_Impact_Of_Cellular_Phone_Base_Station_Towers_On_Property_Values.pdf

2. Industry Canada (Canadian government department promoting Canadian economy), “Report On the National Antenna Tower Policy Review, Section D — The Six Policy Questions, Question 6. What evidence exists that property values are impacted by the placement of antenna towers?”; see attached. Source: Industry Canada http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf08353.html website,

3. New Zealand Ministry for the Environment, “Appendix 5: The Impact of Cellphone Towers on Property Values”; see attached. Source: New Zealand Ministry for the Environment website, http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/rma/nes-telecommunications-section32-aug08/html/page12.html

On a local level, residents and real estate professionals have also informed city officials about the detrimental effects of cell towers on home property values.

1.  Glendale, CA: During the January 7, 2009 Glendale City Council public hearing about a proposed T-mobile cell tower in a residential neighborhood, local real estate professional Addora Beall described how a Spanish home in the Verdugo Woodlands, listed for 1 million dollars, sold $25,000 less because of a power pole across the street. “Perception is everything,” said Ms. Beall stated. “It the public perceives it to be a problem, then it is a problem. It really does affect property values.” See Glendale City Council meeting, January 7, 2009, video of Addora Beall comments @ 2:35:24:
http://glendale.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=12&clip_id=1227
 

2. Windsor Hills/View Park, CA: residents who were fighting off a T-Mobile antenna in their neighborhood received letters from real estate companies, homeowner associations and resident organizations in their community confirming that real estate values would decrease with a cell phone antenna in their neighborhood.  To see copies of their letters to city officials, look at the . Report from Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission regarding CUP Case No. 200700020-(2), from L.A. County Board of Supervisors September 16, 2009, Meeting documents, Los Angeles County website,  here at: http://file.lacounty.gov/bos/supdocs/48444.pdf

a.    See page 295, August 31, 2008 Letter from Donna Bohanna, President/Realtor of Solstice International Realty and resident of Baldwin Hills to Los Angeles Board of Supervisors explaining negative effect of cell tower on property values of surrounding properties. “As a realtor, I must disclose to potential buyers where there are any cell towers nearby. I have found in my own experience that there is a very real stigma and cellular facilities near homes are perceived as undesirable.”

b.    See page 296, March 26, 2008 Letter from real estate professional Beverly Clark, “Those who would otherwise purchase a home, now considered desirable, can be deterred by a facility like the one proposed and this significantly reduces sales prices and does so immediately…I believe a facility such as the one proposed will diminish the buyer pool, significantly reduce homes sales prices, alter the character of the surrounding area and impair the use of the residential properties for their primary uses.”

c.     See Page 298, The Appraiser Squad Comment Addendum, about the reduced value of a home of resident directly behind the proposed installation after the city had approved the CUP for a wireless facility there: “The property owner has listed the property…and has had a potential buyer back out of the deal once this particular information of the satellite communication center was announced….there has been a canceled potential sale therefore it is relevant and determined that this new planning decision can have some negative effect on the subject property.”

d.    See Page 301, PowerPower presentation by residents about real estate values: “The California Association of Realtors maintains that ‘sellers and licensees must disclose material facts that affect the value or desirability of the property,’ including ‘known conditions outside of and surrounding’ it.  This includes ‘nuisances’ and zoning changes that allow for commercial uses.”

e.    See Pages 302-305 from the Baldwin Hills Estates Homeowners Association, the United Homeowners Association, and the Windsor Hills Block Club, opposing the proposed cell tower and addressing the effects on homes there: “Many residents are prepared to sell in an already depressed market or, in the case of one new resident with little to no equity, simply walk away if these antennas are installed.

f.      See Pages 362-363, September 17, 2008, Letter from resident Sally Hampton, of the Windsor Hills Homeowner’s Assoc., Item K, addressing effects of the proposed facility on real estate values.

3.   Santa Cruz, CA: Also attached is a story about how a preschool closed up because of a cell tower installed on its grounds; “Santa Cruz Preschool Closes Citing Cell Tower Radiation,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 17, 2006; Source, EMFacts website: http://www.emfacts.com/weblog/?p=466.

4.   Merrick, NY:  For a graphic illustration of what we don't want happening here in Burbank, just look at Merrick, NY, where NextG wireless facilities are being installed, resulting in declining home real estate values.  Look at this Best Buyers Brokers Realty website ad from this area,  “Residents of Merrick, Seaford and Wantaugh Complain Over Perceived Declining Property Values: http://www.bestbuyerbroker.com/blog/?p=86.

5.  Burbank, CA: As for Burbank,  at a City Council public hearing on December 8, 2009, hillside resident and a California licensed real estate professional Alex Safarian informed city officials that local real estate professionals he spoke with agree about the adverse effects the proposed cell tower would have on property values:

"I’ve done research on the subject and as well as spoken to many real estate professionals in the area, and they all agree that there’s no doubt that cell towers negatively affect real estate values.  Steve Hovakimian, a resident near Brace park, and a California real estate broker, and the publisher of “Home by Design” monthly real estate magazine, stated that he has seen properties near cell towers lose up to 10% of their value due to proximity of the cell tower...So even if they try to disguise them as tacky fake metal pine trees, as a real estate professional you’re required by the California Association of Realtors: that sellers and licensees must disclose material facts that affect the value or desirability of a property including conditions that are known outside and surrounding areas."

(See City of Burbank Website, Video, Alex Safarian comments @ 6:24:28, http://burbank.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=848)

Indeed, 27 Burbank real estate professionals in December 2009, signed a petition/statement offering their professional opinion that the proposed T-Mobile cell tower at Brace Canyon Park would negatively impact the surrounding homes, stating:

"It is our professional opinion that cell towers decrease the value of homes in the area tremendously.  Peer reviewed research also concurs that cell sites do indeed cause a decrease in home value.  We encourage you to respect the wishes of the residents and deny the proposed T-Mobile lease at this location.  We also request that you strengthen your zoning ordinance regarding wireless facilities like the neighboring city of Glendale has done, to create preferred and non preferred zones that will protect the welfare of our residents and their properties as well as Burbank's real estate business professionals and the City of Burbank.  Higher property values mean more tax revenue for the city, which helps improve our city." (Submitted to City Council,  Planning Board, City Manager, City Clerk and other city officials via e-mail on June 18, 2010.  To see a copy of this, scroll down to bottom of page and click "Subpages" or go here: http://sites.google.com/site/nocelltowerinourneighborhood/home/decreased-real-estate-value/burbank-real-estate-professionals-statement )

Here is a list of additional articles on how cell towers negatively affect the property values of homes near them:

  •  “Cell Towers Are Sprouting in Unlikely Places,” The New York Times, January 9, 2000 (fears that property values could drop between 5 and 40 percent because of neighboring cell towers)
  • Quarrel over Phone Tower Now Court’s Call,” Chicago Tribune, January 18, 2000 (fear of lowered property values due to cell tower)
  • “The Future is Here, and It’s Ugly: a Spreading of Techno-blight of Wires, Cables and Towers Sparks a Revolt,” New York Times, September 7, 2000
  • In another case, a Houston jury awarded 1.2 million to a couple because a 100-foot-tall cell tower was determined to have lessened the value of their property and caused them mental anguish: Nissimov, R., "GTE Wireless Loses Lawsuit over Cell-Phone Tower," Houston Chronicle, February 23, 1999, Section A, page 11.  (Property values depreciate by about 10 percent because of the tower.)
Read about other "Tools" on our website that may help you and your fellow residents oppose a cell tower in your neighborhood in the column to the right.  These include:
Also print out this helpful article on court decisions from the communications law firm of Miller & Van Eaton (with offices in D.C. and San Francisco) that you can pull and read to realize what rights you may or may not have in opposing a wireless facility in your neighborhood: http://www.millervaneaton.com/content.agent?page_name=HT%3A++IMLA+Article+Tower+Siting+Nov+2008 (click the link once you get to this page). 

Other important decisions and actions taken by courts and local governments can be found in our Actions Taken page.

Watch how other resident groups organized effective presentations at their public hearings so you can pick up their  techniques and methods.

 You can read and find additional organizations and resident groups that have organized opposition efforts against cell towers and wireless facilities, on our Other Communities Saying "No" and Important Organizations pages.