Property Values Decrease When a Quarry is Built

Property values drop when a quarry is built. Over the past twenty years, the evidence is clear. Scientific methods have been developed to account for other factors such as the size and location of the property, the local environment, age of the house etc., so that the effect of property value changes caused only by the quarry can be calculated. The value of property decreases most within the immediate vicinity but will be felt several miles away. Homes within a quarter mile will drop by about 30%. A mile away the value of homes will decrease by about 13%, Home as far as 3 miles away can expect about a 6% drop in value.

Property Value loss

 On average, property within a mile of the quarry will lose about 19% of its value as soon as a quarry begins. For example, a $350,000 home will lose about $67,000 if it is within a mile of the quarry. For Lower Milford Township, this loss translates to more that $6 million loss in property value with its attendant loss in local taxes, change in the type and mix of new construction, and other effects. These losses do not account for loses in other areas where truck traffic, dust, noise will contribute to further loss in property value.

There have been several studies that have confirmed this data unequivocally. Quarry operators, including witnesses for Geryville Materials, try to refute that fact. They claim there is not effect when quarries are built. This certainly goes against common sense -- would you pay the same amount for a house with a quarry in the neighborhood and the same house without a quarry? But it also goes against the actual data. Quarry operators compare property values in one of two ways:

  • It compares values in two locations but do not account for differences in the type of environment. They compare homes in an industrial area or a lower income housing area with homes in the quarry area which were more rural or residential thus commanding a higher price. They then claim homes are comparable in value, not taking into account the loss when the quarry came into existence.
  • They look at the property appreciation over time pointing out that the value of the properties grow at about the same rate as homes further away from the quarry. They also point out that there is development that occurs in the area. Both are true. The loss in value occurs when a quarry first comes to the area. This loss persits essentially forever. However, the property after the initial loss will grow at about the same as other, more desirable areas. Development also occurs in that area but it is of less value, e.g., strip malls, small subdivision homes, industrial companies seeking fewer regulations for the manufacturing processes they use.

The consulting company C4SE looked at 6 cases where home values were purported to remain the same once a quarry was built. In 5 cases, They found that the methodology used was flawed and did not account for other factors. That is, the comarison was more like comparing apples and oranges. In one, done by the Bureau of Mines, they found that the values actually decreased in 4 of the 5 areas the Bureau claimed remained the same. In the remaining study by the Bureau, the study was in an area that already was heavily industrialized and so a quarry did not affect the overall quality of the area.

Lower Milford Township will lose in a variety of ways:

  • It will lose a small amount in real estate taxes. The quarry rezoned to industrial will not bring in more tax revenue to offset that lost by the surrounding properties. That is because the equipment and storage facilities are temporary and not subject to real estate tax. Property owners will have to make up the revenue. Of course, the School District will lose even more. This time the School District residents will have to make up for the loss.
  • It will have to provide more municipal services such as Fire, EMT, and Police as well as legal services to have them comply with our ordinances.  It will raise taxes even if Geryville agrees to relocate and support financially the extra services. Other areas, have shown that the training costs for specialized services and the need to recruit often end in non-volunteer services which the Township has to maintain.
  • It will affect the safety of our citizens. Additional traffic will increase the number of accidents in the Township on Kings Highway and Limeport Pike. When accidents occur due to truck traffic, data has shown the accident is either minor or very serious. There are no accidents that causes non-serious injury or moderate damage. We can expect more residents dying.

Lower Milford Township will chage dramatically, none for the better, if a quarry is permitted. How much value in property loss will you encounter. Check the map below to see where you will live if a quarry is built on West Mill Hill. Then as a rough guide use a 19% loss if you live with a mile (red circle) of the quarry, and use a 9% loss if you live between 1 and 3 miles(black circle) from the quarry. The only winners will be Geryville Materials investors and Haines & Kibblehouse who purportedly will be the quarry operators.

View Geryville Materials Proposed Quarry in a larger map