As a longtime resident of Lakemoor Hills, I write as one who will be directly affected by the proposed cell tower. My home at 2025 W. Velmetta Circle will be within approximately 500 feet of the tower if built.

The presentation by Ms. Mary Miller at the LHHA meeting on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 will not be rehashed given the excellent synopsis posted by Jim Grey. But I feel compelled to respond to some of her assertions and/or implications.

I am a Tennessee certified residential real estate appraiser (CR-441) and a real estate broker with Dean Smith Realty (00213092). I have been involved in real estate for over 30 years.

Ms. Miller’s assertion that a tower has no effect on value for surrounding properties is without foundation.

Two residents who own property adjacent to the proposed site stated strongly that if the tower was present or they had knowledge of the intent to build before they purchased, neither would have bought. This is a clear indication of adverse effects on marketability.

Studies are few, but perhaps the most noteworthy is from a tract published for real estate professionals in Burbank, CA (2007) “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.”

From a technical standpoint, adverse effects on a subject from influences outside of the property are termed “External Obsolescence”. Recent attention has been focused on examples of external obsolescence for superfund cleanup sites that have suffered pollution from chemical or radioactive disposal. But external obsolescence can be much more subtle such as new highway next to a residential neighborhood that increases noise or view. Appraisal Institute publication (1983) reads “External obsolescence, which is the diminished utility of a structure due to negative influences from outside the site, is always incurable”. This is because the affected property owner seldom, if ever, can do anything about it. While the adverse effect on the property can be difficult to quantify, the effect can be obvious and very real none-the-less.

In addition to some cursory research, I have spoken to a veteran real estate broker and asked “If you had two homes to show to a buyer and one was close to a cell tower, which home would be more saleable?” Without hesitation, he said the one without the tower would be more saleable.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that such a structure in a desirable residential neighborhood is a pronounced scar that will benefit no one except the users and the lease grantor that gets paid!

While I appreciate the composure that Ms. Miller showed throughout her presentation, please remember that she is, by definition, an advocate for her client – the tower company. Certainly, I admit that I am an advocate for myself and my neighbors in Lakemoor Hills.

I fail to understand how any owner can have such callous disregard for the welfare of others, but we must band together as people who believe that we have a “community responsibility” to be good neighbors.

Thanks to all who have been moved to action in an effort to stop this abomination.


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About Forrest Orr

A happy resident on Velmetta Circle for about 20 years. My wife Susie and I are life-long south Knoxville residents and proud graduates of Young High School and the University of Tennessee. Our two children have blessed us with five grandchildren. We love living on the "quiet side of the river"

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