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You should know

GENE JALESKI
Guest Columnist
opinion@lbknews.com

You should know that your developer-friendly town government is rapidly trying to install tall cell towers up and down Longboat Key. The Planning and Zoning Board is discussing opening up all town property for tall cell towers in direct repudiation of cell tower codes put into place less than three years ago, after strong opposition to cell towers by the community. The town is doing this without any needs assessment or economic impact studies.

Following are the results of a few studies about the impact of cell towers on real estate values:

The Bond and Hue Proximate Impact Study: The Bond and Hue study conducted in 2004 involved the analysis of 9,514 residential home sales in 10 suburbs. The study reflected that close proximity to a cell tower reduced price by 15 percent on average.

The Bond and Wang Transaction-Based Market Study: The Bond and Wang study involved the analysis of 4,283 residential home sales in four suburbs between 1984 and 2002. The study reflected that close proximity to a cell tower reduced price between 20.7 percent and 21 percent.

The Bond and Beamish Opinion Survey Study: The Bond and Beamish study surveyed whether people who lived within 100 feet of a tower would have to reduce the sales price of their home. Thirty-eight percent said they would reduce the price by more than 20 percent, 38% said they would reduce the price by only 1 to 9 percent, and 24 percent said they would reduce their sale price by 10 to 19 percent.

“As a licensed real estate broker with more than 30 years of experience, it is my professional opinion that the installation of a cellular tower can significantly reduce the value of neighboring residential properties,” said Lawrence Oxman, licensed real estate broker.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld a denial of a cell tower application based upon testimony of residents and a real estate broker that the tower would reduce the values of property that were in close proximity to the tower.

 

From Longboat Key real estate brokers:

Bruce Myer, of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, said that he doesn’t believe a tower is needed: “Based on the level of service that is achieved, I don’t see that it would be a help to real estate values,” he said.

Hannerle Moore, a veteran Realtor with Michael Saunders and Co., also questioned whether a cell tower was needed. She said she uses Verizon, which works with few interruptions on the north end. She also said she recently had a buyer for a $3.2 million home who walked away from the sale out of concerns about the proposed tower.

“People perceive it as ugly, but, more importantly, as a health hazard,” she said. “Today’s buyers are into living longer and healthier, they take the time to go to Whole Foods and exercise, and they’re not going to move into a community with a cell tower.”

I have discussed cell towers on Longboat Key with several other island brokers. They all agree that cell towers in an exclusive community negatively impact real estate values and sales.

Oddly Longboat Key real estate agent Barbara Ackerman of Coldwell Banker responded to a request by Jim Eatrides, who is trying to get a 150-foot cell tower at the Island Chapel, to evaluate the impact of a “stealth” tower on Longboat Key. It should be noted that Ms. Ackerman recently sold Mr. Eatrides’ home on Longboat Key.

“As a real estate professional with extensive knowledge of and experience in the Longboat Key real estate market, my opinion is that the proposed tower would not have a negative impact on nearby residential properties,” said Ackerman.

Perhaps Ms. Ackerman did not know that the proposed tower is not a “stealth” tower but a rather an imposing edifice 42-inches in diameter at the top. It should also be noted that in Mr. Eatrides’ cell tower application, now before the town, that Ms. Ackerman’s assessment stands alone with one other impact study from a blue collar neighborhood.

Ask yourself if you had options would you purchase property close to a cell tower? If no, is it because you believe that other people will not want to purchase a home near a tall cell tower?

What the Planning and Zoning Board and the commission are about to do may seriously impact real estate values on Longboat Key in the tens of millions of dollars in lost property values as a direct result of unsightly cell towers in an upscale community. Is it worth it to appease a few residents and a local cell tower developer? That is for you to decide.

Do we need island-wide Wi-Fi for our notebooks, smart phones and iPads more than we need improved indoor cell phone reception for a few seasonal residents on the north end? Our mostly-appointed commissioners are most likely on the verge of causing real damage to our real estate values. Why?

I urge every resident to become part of the discussion. I feel things are bad enough without our commissioners causing further declines in property values.

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4 Responses for “You should know”

  1. Gene Jaleski says:

    I have lived in the village since 1985. In addition I own a unit at Longbeach Condominiums at the north end of the island. I receive good cell reception at both locations. Yes there are numerous small areas of poor reception and homes with metal roofs. This is the case everywhere from large cities to rural communities.

    Small DAS antennas are better suited to deal with these small areas as opposed to a macro towers that causes large loses in real estate values. For most people on the north end there is no cell phone issue as was evidenced by the cell tower meeting at the chapel this past Sunday where fewer that 30 people showed up wanting cell towers even after a mass mailing, full page ads in the papers and numerous articles in the papers.

    There are optimal solutions. Let’s demand that our town government become proactive and bring better cell service to our community.

  2. Ross P. Alander says:

    Actually you may be surprised to know that there are year round residents in the infamous north end, including me. You should drive way up this way sometime and you may be surprised to find out that we live in real houses and condos :). Enough arrogance. Give me a break.

  3. Gene Jaleski says:

    Mr. Barile, since we have no idea about the needs of anyone since the previous town manager decided to never spend the money budgeted by the commission for a needs assessment study, your comment can only be viewed as more sales pitch so you can make lots of money at the expense of many others.

  4. Kevin Barile says:

    The needs of the many…
    Outweigh the needs of the few.

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