A water tower in the Owings Mills and Reisterstown area may be a nuisance during construction and an eyesore once completed, but home property values aren't likely to be affected, a University of Maryland architecture professor said.
If a water tower were not built and a water shortage occurred, that's when property values would go down, said Ralph Bennett, professor emeritus at the College of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and an architect in Silver Spring.
"Property values are affected much more by the antics on Wall Street than happenings in the neighborhood," Bennett said. "[They have] very little to do with civil works in the area.
"I just don't know of any definitive proof."
Neither does the Baltimore County Department of Public Works, a spokesman said.
David Fidler said the department was unable to find research that definitively showed one way or the other what impact the water tower might have on home property values in the area. He said he was inclined to agree with Bennett's assessment.
Six sites, all believed to be near housing developments, will be presented to the community at a public meeting Thursday evening at Glyndon Elementary School.
A site at the corner of Timber Grove Road and Bond Avenue has long been considered a top choice, and members of that community have mobilized via a petition and Facebook to stop the water tower's construction.
Fidler said he sympathized with residents and understood local opposition to the tower. Concerns about the tower's placement are about more than the fear of depreciated home values.
"No one wants something new and huge in their backyard," Fidler said.
Bennett, an architect for 50 years, agreed. Bennett said residents generally don't want new, unwelcome structures in their neighborhood, which leads them to fear for property values.
"If they're worried about their property values, they should join the Occupy Wall Street movement," Bennett said.