Water Tower Wouldn't Hurt Property Values, UMD Professor Says

A water tower that is planned for the Owings Mills and Reisterstown area shouldn't harm home values, where ever it is built.

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 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.

A similar claim is currently being made in Montgomery County, he said, where homeowners worry that the Maryland Transit Administration's Purple Line will decrease property values.

"If they're worried about their property values, they should join the Occupy Wall Street movement," Bennett said.

Sharon Yetter October 27, 2011 at 12:07 PM
This idiot knows nothing about real estate. Any structure that is an eyesore near a property will negatively affect the ability to sell that property. First rule of real estate--location, location, location! Given a choice of buying the same house next to a water tower, or with a normal neighborhood view, which would you want to buy??
Carl J. Galler October 27, 2011 at 03:07 PM
As a neighborhood Realtor I have to respectfully disagree with the notion that "home prices should not be negatively impacted" when in the vicinity of a water tower. I can tell you from my many years of professional experience that water towers and high tension electric towers do indeed negatively affect home prices nearby. In fact appraisers will sometimes calculate and mention "fall lines" and the mere presence of these types of structures in their reports; which can affect mortgage companies decisions to lend money for a purchase. Regardless of that, prospective buyers virtually always consider the aesthetics and safety of these types of structures when making home-buying decisions.
George V. Edwards October 27, 2011 at 04:49 PM
Water towers are beautiful.
Robert Armstrong October 27, 2011 at 05:07 PM
They can get a lot of rent from cell phone companies if they allow them to cover the top of it with antennas.
hatsoffsb October 27, 2011 at 05:59 PM
Typical.... "Book smarts" vs "Street smarts", I'm sure the "Professer" would like a 150 foot tall chlorination/water super structure in his backyard! Unless he now lives in a tent on "Wall Street"?
EB Levitt October 27, 2011 at 07:36 PM
This article is so one-sided! Perhaps Patch needs a lesson in "journalism 101." There were no quotes from anyone who disagrees with the assertion that property values would not be affected. And the professor's flip and callous comments do not have any credibility to me. He admits the water tower might be an "eyesore." So when does an eyesore not impact the desirability and value of a residential neighborhood?


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