Two views on whether new landfill would impact local property values - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

Two views on whether new landfill would impact local property values

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Posted: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 11:00 pm

If the Marana Regional Landfill is constructed, the value of existing, nearby residential properties would likely be "negatively impacted at a greater rate of depreciated value" than that of subdivisions built next to previously placed landfills, according to an analysis by senior property appraiser Brian Johnson of the Pima County Assessor's Office.

That opinion differs from an assertion by Suzanne Grace-Poore of Southwest Appraisal Associates, on behalf of the developer, that "despite the concerns of property owners in the surrounding area … it is my opinion that the proposed landfill does not adversely affect the property values of properties in the area."

In March, Johnson wrote a three-page analysis intended to identify "possible negative effects a landfill might impose on area property values."

He compared property values of four subdivisions built near existing landfills. The Gladden Farms development is adjacent to Pima County's Tangerine Landfill in Marana, and Johnson used mass appraisal techniques to illustrate Gladden Farms values and those of the comparable San Lucas development several miles away in Marana.

A second study analyzed property values in the Rancho Valencia development next to Tucson's Los Reales Landfill as they compared with the more distant Empire Vista development.

All residential property values have been affected generally and equally by local and national housing conditions, Johnson points out.

However, in comparing 2007 and 2009 sales data, Johnson found steeper declines in sale prices at Gladden Farms and Rancho Valencia, the two subdivisions closest to Tangerine and Los Reales.

Gladden Farms sale prices declined 26.85 percent, versus 16.23 percent in San Lucas. Ranch Valencia prices fell 16.22 percent, versus 10.36 percent in the Empire Vista development.

"The results of this sales analysis indicates that the proximity to a major landfill depreciates residential property values," Johnson writes.

He points out the subdivisions were developed "many years after the establishment of the landfills. Buyers of homes in Gladden Farms and Rancho Valencia were or should have been made aware of the negative impact of economic obsolescence on their property values by the developers who sold them their homes," Johnson writes.

The 92-lot Silverbell West subdivision is a mix of site-constructed and manufactured housing on land more than a half mile away from the proposed Marana Regional Landfill. The subdivision was developed in the early 1970s.

"The negative impact of economic obsolescence would be imposed after their properties were purchased," Johnson writes. "Since the local residents purchased their homes with the existing zoning, rural low or medium density, prior to any rezoning, they could be negatively impacted at a greater rate of depreciated value than the subdivision properties used in this study."

On Feb. 23, Southwest Appraisal Associates issued its analysis of property values for The Planning Center, which is assisting Marana Regional Landfill developer DKL Holdings.

In formulating an opinion, Grace-Poore reviewed the Marana Regional Landfill Specific Plan, researched the effect of other landfills on surrounding residential properties, inspected the proposed site and interviewed real estate agents.

At the time of the study, there were three active listings in Silverbell West, priced from $49,900 to $99,000.

"I acknowledge that public knowledge about the location of the proposed landfill is recent and there are no recent sales within the Silverbell West community," Grace-Poore writes. "It remains to be proven whether the proposed landfill will have an adverse impact on the final sales prices of the existing active listings."

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