Most parts of the country fight wireless carriers who want to build a cell tower near them. Nobody wants the tower near their house for a variety of reasons, some health related and some financially related.

In Belchertown, MA, Verizon wants to build a tower in a residential neighborhood. Many in that neighborhood oppose such a move. Again, this is quite common as cell towers can be quite the eye sore for an area. On the other side, residents of the area agree that cell reception in the city is quite bad.

What makes this story interesting to me is that Verizon was asked to come up with an analysis about whether property values would decrease near this tower and to present the analysis to the city planning board.

Yesterday, the time came for Verizon to present their analysis. Their report concluded that there would be “NO DIMINUTION of value of nearby/abutting properties from the development of the subject with the proposed wireless telecommunications facility…”

Except, when planning board members looked at the analysis, they noted that it didn’t actually include anything of substance. It was Verizon simply stating that property values wouldn’t diminish. In fact, as the Chairman told Verizon at the meeting, their own report makes the claim that “individual homes or small numbers of homes have been or could be negatively impacted”.


Belchertown Planning Board member Daniel Beaudette told Verizon directly that there was “no real analysis in the appraisal. It doesn’t tell me anything . . . . It’s just a leap of logic.”

To be fair to Verizon, there is no absolute fact on whether property value decreases but some research shows that a home’s value can decrease from 5 percent to 30 percent depending on its proximity to the tower while others say property value can decrease by 20 percent.

Sharon Dale, a real estate agent, said the cell tower would have a negative impact on owners’ property values. Noting that she had years of experience selling real estate in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Prescott, Dale said, “Not one time have I had a buyer willing to live in proximity to a cell tower or a power line.” – Prescott Daily Courier

But then there are people who say that having a tower near a house would give that area a strong cell signal which in turn would be a positive for those wanting to buy a house in that area.

The bottom line is that I don’t feel bad for Verizon if they can’t put something together for a town meeting with basic facts about property values. AT&T at least comes to town meetings with a plan, pictures and stats.