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Money in the bank?

Streams task force talks property values

Posted: October 20, 2012 - 6:19pm  |  Updated: October 20, 2012 - 7:17pm

The Anadromous Fish Habitat Protection Task Force on Thursday night mulled how the value of private property near anadromous streams and lakes might be affected once they are officially managed under the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s anadromous habitat protection code.

The task force also heard from Steve Colt, University of Anchorage Alaska professor of economics, about how proximity to natural resources and environmental assets affects similar property values in Alaska and Outside.

After the meeting, Colt said he was hesitant to comment specifically on how a 50-foot zone that protects fish habitat on anadromous streams and lakes in the borough would affect property values near those water bodies without seeing more data on the subject.

“The only opinion I could give right now is that I haven’t seen any data that shows a decline in the market value,” he said, clarifying later that doesn’t mean it hasn’t or won’t happen.

Colt said, from a property owner’s standpoint, the buffer could reduce specific uses of the property in that area. The market value of real estate depends on what the next round of buyers are willing to pay for, and reduced uses could reduce enjoyment of the property, he added.

“But as far as whether the property value goes down in the market place, it’s ultimately what we call an empirical question — we are going to have to see,” he said. “The evidence from around the country seems to be that as long as everybody sort of does it together, setbacks and buffers can actually enhance the value of the property for resale.”

It also seems to be the “norm,” Colt said, in the Lower 48 to have what “some Alaskans might call pretty strict imposed rules experienced for everybody” on rivers and lakes.

During his presentation, Colt referenced a study colleagues of his are conducting in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough on property values near environmental assets. Colt said he suspected the study was the first of its kind in the state.

The study, which has not be finalized, looked at properties’ real market value and focused on those that had been bought or sold in 2009 and 2010, which was about 3,100 transactions.

“Proximity to lakes really matters for property values,” Colt said.

Specifically, as one travels from a half mile to one mile away from a lake, property loses 7 percent of its value. Colt said that number was generated after the data was controlled for the size of house and lot and other things also affecting values.

The same is true for anadromous water bodies and streams, Colt said — one kilometer closer to streams causes the property value to go up by 6 percent.

Colt said property values significantly increase when they are near land with a conservation management status — if there is a conservation unit within 10 meters of the property, it increases in value by 14 percent.

Fred Braun, a member of the Citizens for Responsible Waterfront Landuse group seeking to eliminate Ordinance 2011-12 that expanded the habitat protection to all anadromous waterbodies on the Peninsula, challenged Colt’s claims.

Braun, who is a local realtor and member of the task force, said after the meeting property value trends and statistics from elsewhere in the state would not be indicative of Kenai Peninsula property values.

“In the Anchorage bowl and the Mat-Su Valley there’s not (a lot of) privately owned waterfront available so those people are going to pay top price,” he said. “So yes, land values are extremely high because there is not any available. So my point is that you can have those (properties) so restricted that no one here would even want them if they were given to them.”

The reason property next to streams and lakes is attractive and valued highly with Kenai Peninsula buyers, Braun said, is because of what they can do with that property and the uses they can get out of it. It is not from high demand, he said.

“If I had two lake parcels the exact same size and exact same price and one had this ordinance and the other didn’t, again apples to apples on floatplane sized lakes ... I can tell you that 99 percent of the people are going to buy the one that is not under this ordinance,” he said.

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Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 10/21/12 - 07:10 am
What a mess these OUT of Control Control things are

I do see this becoming more of the Norm as OUR President showed was coming when he did his Worldwind Tour of Europe and Gave several speaches about his not being an American(which we knew) but a Citizen of the world.
OUR Prez. said that "We Cant' Wait, We Must All Act Now To Save The Earth."
It all falls back to Romans 1; where Gods word shows that mankind loved and worshiped the Creation of rocks, trees, birds, fish and everything else rather that the Creator, God.
Regulations are good to a point and we do need to protect what God has Created and use it wisely, BUT PLEASE, don't treat me and others like Idiots with this save the earth crap when OUR Nations Landfills are FILLED DAILY with usable goods and foods just tossed because of the false god of supposed supply and supposed demand.
We pretend to care in one area while we turn a Blind eye in other areas.
What a mess this lie of protection is as it's used to gain more control of OUR Lands and Rights to use OUR Lands and God given resources found on and under them all provided by God not mankind.

msjinxie 10/21/12 - 08:54 am
The Out of Control Mess

I commend you makes me feel more confidant that there ARE more of us like you out there who see whats really going on. Here is a tiny morsel you may think is a tee hee at first....but read it twice.....

"If you can afford alcohol, cigarettes, DRUGS, new vehicles and the like...YOU SHOULD NOT BE ON WELFARE." I know this isn't exactly the topic, but the end is the same. We have been lulled into this false sense of security with our own "government"...99 weeks of unemployment that only allows for MORE lazy people to collect an easy check. Not to mention, this EXCUSE we currently have for a leader....
Take care of your own, increase your morals, decrease your TOLERANCE for your freedoms being yanked from you daily
...Our phones track us, our vehicles that are newer etc, a cop and Onstar have the ability to shut your vehicle down from a place all the way across the country.....for instance if there is a crime? Its very kewl, I won't lie, amazing it can be done....all those new gadgets that connect us all? Makes us ALL freely give it at every turn, when we don't even realize it. Remember we are AMERICAN CITIZENS. ACT LIKE IT! STAND UP and Fight for it! Amen...

M1A 10/22/12 - 10:39 am
Gov Land Grab

This is nothing more than the local government stealing the land out from underneath people because they live on the river or lake. My property value has already decreased due to these rules. Its been predicted that this was coming and now you have people who care less about your property and want to do nothing more than to destroy what you have. Get out of my private life and leave my property alone.

Allen 10/22/12 - 03:51 pm
Proof of Decrease In Value?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't this stream protection code been around since the 90s? So if this law did decrease property values, surely we would have heard about it before now. I don't remember hearing widespread complaining about the code until now, so where's the proof that property values have decreased because of this law? My tax bill from the Borough sure doesn't show any decreases in the last couple of decades and I own property along one of the protected streams.

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 10/22/12 - 04:38 pm
More control

Just ONE MORE area of control and forced subjection by politico-religious governments, no matter who is leading.

Brian Smith
Brian Smith 10/22/12 - 06:43 pm
Proof of decrease

Allen - I checked with the borough's assessing department and because property valuations were done much differently than now, not annually and state statutes do not require submission of the final sales of real estate transactions there is little to no data to show whether the property values saw a shift in 1996 along the Kenai or years later when it was expanded to include 25 major rivers and lakes.

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