New County Tax Values Must Account for Lower Property Values Around Potential Airport Sites

Airport Action Group 

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                                                      December 15, 2009

 Contact: Mark Marcoplos   933-5562  c) 524-6287      New County Tax Values Must Account for Lower Property Values Around Potential Airport Sites  The reckless airport siting process driven by UNC and its legislative allies has already negatively affected the economy of Orange County. 

UNC commissioned a study that was completed in 2005 by Talbert & Bright, one of the most reputable airport siting firms in the country. The study identified numerous potential airport sites in rural Orange County.  It is common knowledge throughout the affected areas that an airport could be located at one of the designated sites.

UNC has repeatedly stated its commitment to siting an airport in Orange County. In an interview published in the Chapel Hill News on Oct. 15, 2008, UNC Chancellor Thorp said, “We're excited about the possibility of having an airport that would service the university and our region. I want to proceed forward with formation of the authority.”

Realtors have an ethical and professional obligation to divulge the fact that an airport could potentially be located near a property. In fact, the proliferation of citizen awareness, the No Airport signs dotting the landscape, and the media coverage of the issue have effectively revealed the situation anyway.Studies have shown that proximity to an airport will lower property values. One study determined that the average devaluation is about 27%.  Southwest Orange property owner Miriam Lieberman lives adjacent to the proposed Site H and says, “It is very distressing to think that the value of my nest egg is going down as my taxes go up because UNC is playing god with our community.”  In order for the tax revaluation to be fair, the unavoidable reality of lowered property values around these potential airport sites must be factored into the new tax values of affected property. We are calling on Orange County to treat its citizens with fairness and ensure that they are paying taxes based on the current real value of their property. This will require analysis of the devaluation of property values caused by UNC’s clumsy machinations to site an airport in rural Orange County.In addition to being an issue of fiscal fairness for local taxpayers, this may also have unfortunate implications for the overall county economy. We encourage our elected officials at all levels of government to work for us by using all available means to conclude this damaging airport siting process and accept Talbert & Bright’s recommendation that RDU is the best location to replace Horace Williams Airport general aviation traffic. This well-supported result would spare us from ongoing fiscal, social, and political trauma as well as providing high quality aviation support services for AHEC and the private pilots who utilize Horace Williams.



you did your homework first, you might be able to make the credible case that needs to be made.  For example, you continue to emphatically state:

Realtors have an ethical and professional obligation to divulge the fact that an airport could potentially be located near a property.

Call the Legal Services Division of the North Carolina Real Estate Commission  (919-877-4220) and you will be told that the previously identified sites in a report that has been declared to no longer be operative has no material impact on the obligations Realtors have. Common sense makes clear that given who will make the next selections and a revised criteria, some sites may be repeated, some old sites might be dropped, and some new sites might be added.  A desire for a longer runway is just one example of why things might be different.If we follow your argument to its logical conclusion, any property transaction near any other property in OC that is fairly flat would trigger disclosure ass a possible airport.  Until sites are specifically identified, nothing will be material.  Don't take my opinion, call the number. After they provide info to you, it might be nice to share it with all of your CHH "Local Voices" and OP readers.

There is a recent study from two finance professors at UNCG that argues that the mere announcement of an airport or airport expansion lowers property values by 10%."The Announcement Effect of an Airport Expansion on Housing Prices "The study was published in The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics.Here’s a link to a summary. I have the full report if anyone would like to see it. real estate law dictates that if a potential material fact is public record, realtors have a duty to inform buyers of the material fact.  On this exact issue, Betsy Penny at the Legal Services Division of the NC Real Estate commission agrees that agents must disclose what is known - Airport Authority, old study, new study coming, location of the property to the old study sites or the new study sites when available, etc. so that the buyer can make informed decisions.UNC's desire for an airport in Orange County is clearly public record - in the papers, on blogs, in editorials from University officials, in County and University meeting minutes, and as we all know it's even present in the NC General Statutes. Realtors should be advising buyers in Orange County that an airport is a possibility and if you live anywhere near any of the proposed sites, you have a defendable position for a revaluation.The 2005 study is the best we have at present and potential buyers in Orange County know how to find the report. The fact that a new study will be conducted will not lessen a potential buyer's concern. In fact, so many sites are identified in the 2005 report and "no airport" signs are so prevalent in Orange County it is pure folly to argue that property values have not been negatively effected. Until this issue is resolved Orange County wears the Scarlet Letter (A for airport) from a real estate buyer's point of view.  “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”1 Tucker 248, N.Y. Surr.18

It's a sad day when any expanse of flat property is devalued because an airplane could land on it.  Said property is less agrible, owing to soil depletion and persistent drought conditions.  But the roadside view ups the ante considerably.  This all seems moot in light of Chancellor Thorpe's recent promise to claim eminent domain only as a final resort, effectively pushing the 2005 report off the table.  For now?  Forever?  That report is too stinky at this point to resurrect. 

He did NOT say, "I respect the sovereignty of the county and its representatives. I admire the long-term vision of sustainability that is found here and in precious few places around the country. I cannot in good conscience support the University taking land for an airport of which our AHEC program would be a minority user. The 2005 Talbert & Bright Report concluded that RDU was the best place to relocate AHEC operations and everything we've learned since then only adds to the soundness of that choice. This outcome would spare our neighbors and ourselves much distress. It is also not fair of us to spend over $50 million of taxpayer money so that a small handful of AHEC service providers can shave a few minutes off of their trip time. The choice of RDU is the only choice that respects all the affected parties and will get this issue behind us so that we can move on to building a better University." He DID say that if the county zoned some areas appropriately for an airport that met their requirements, that they would not need to use eminent domain. If necessary, eminent domain will be used. Cold comfort. Iron fist in a velvet glove.

 He DID say that if the county zoned some areas appropriately for an airport that met their requirements, that they would not need to use eminent domain. If necessary, eminent domain will be used. Cold comfort. Iron fist in a velvet glove.

I thin you are conflating two different issues. I believe he said that (since the legislation said that county land use ordinances WILL apply to the airport siting) that the airport could NOT be cited at any locations where airports are not a permitted use, or if a special use only if a special use permit is granted.He then said that eminent domain would only be used as a last resort. Eminent domain and zoning have nothing at all to do with each other.

I've said it here before, but if an individual or group is going to mount a campaign against the UNC system or its individual institutions, I can say with great certinity that victory is made even more difficult if people (1) resort to personal attacks; (2) ignore the facts that don't fit their agenda; (3) forget that the emotional appeal may rally supporters but rarely helps achieve victory; and (4) don't do their homework so that what they write and say is not credible.Your last sentence is just another example indicating that Mark M needs to do more homework.


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