Press Release from BREDL: February 20, 2018. Contact: Sharon Ponton, 434 420-1874, firstname.lastname@example.org
Property Values Plunge for Some Landowners Who Signed Easements for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Highland and Nelson Counties
Lovingston, VA-A property records search conducted in Highland and Nelson Counties by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League reveals property values plunged on parcels whose owners sought relief through the reassessment hearing process. Three properties in Nelson County with signed easement agreements with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) for pipeline construction and/or roads to access the pipeline route, received reductions in property values averaging 32.5%. Many of these house owners and those alike will now be wondering how to increase property value on their home.
“The construction of the proposed pipeline and resultant losses in property value are devastating for directly affected landowners,” stated Sharon Ponton, a Nelson resident and the Stop the Pipelines Campaign Coordinator for the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. “It is also important for every property owner to understand these reductions will affect them, too, whether they are looking to sell their property with the likes of realtors Lynchburg or stay put. The governing bodies of these localities will be forced to increase real estate tax rates for every property owner to offset the difference in lost values caused by the proposed ACP. Lower property values will cause higher tax rates for all,” Ponton stated.
When the prices fall, even people from abroad may look for investment options in such areas. The benefit could be that once the price drops, the property can be bought as an investment at a low price, and sold a few years later after full development of the area when there is potential for an increase in property rates. That being said, it can be difficult to decide on the right properties to invest in, which is why the assistance of a mortgage provider and finance management company like Simon Conn can be beneficial. From sound legal advice to property investment benefits, financing, and re-financing the real estate, the aid of experts can make the process much smoother.
“The assessors for Nelson only considered pipeline easements in their computations if a landowner came forward during the hearing process. Property owners with signed easement agreements who did not come forward were unknown to county assessors. Therefore, pipeline easements have not been considered for those properties,” Ponton explained.
In Highland County, while some properties with signed easements increased in value, many were devalued, from a high of 75% to a low of 2%. The average overall loss on those properties with signed easements was 8%. Interestingly, in Highland, consideration paid by the ACP to landowners was approximately $1.3 million for 172 acres. In Nelson, the ACP has paid just $1.8 million for easements covering 316 acres. The acreage figures include permanent and temporary rights-of-way, as well as extra work space and access roads.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission dismissed the concerns of affected landowners, citizens, and grassroots groups regarding lower property values along the path of the proposed ACP in its Final Environmental Impact Statement. “Plainly, FERC was wrong. Property values are affected,” stated Ponton. “Blowing off our mountain tops and cutting millions of trees which can never be replaced while building a pipeline affects property values. We implore all landowners who have signed easement agreements with ACP and who did not seek relief during the reassessment hearing process, to present their cases before the Boards of Equalization in their specific counties. These directly affected landowners shouldn’t be abused twice–once by having their land taken by ACP and then a second time by being required to pay taxes on inflated property values,” Ponton concluded.
If you are concerned that the value of your property will have been affected by the pipeline construction, you could speak to a property valuation company and ask them to value your property. This will take any guesswork out of the process and will confirm whether or not Ponton is correct.
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