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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    327

    Default Fair Market Value for ROW Easement

    Hi All, I need some advise. We have been approached by Verizon Wireless for a 30 foot wide by 890 ft long ROW for ingress and egress to a wireless site behind our property. The ROW will be along a private paved road that we own. Additionally Verizon wants an underground easement about 30x400 foot to upgrade their power and bury the cables.

    They want to give us a one time payment of 10,000 and have us convey a non-exclusive, assignable, and perpetual easement.

    I for one absolutely will not convey anything. I am in the mind set to offer an exclusive, non-assignable 5 year lease, prepaid and nonrefundable, plus Verizon must pay for all damages.

    From what I read wireless companies are NOT public utilities, but rather private messaging service companies, so the threat of eminent domain is not on the table.

    What is the current fair market price per foot for a ROW? I was thinking $1.00 per foot per month.

    Next problem: Local ordinances require a setback equal to the tower height plus 10 percent. The proposed location of the new cell tower will cause the setback to encroach about 100 feet onto our property. Can we also negotiate a one-time payment for a variance?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    98,846

    Default Re: Fair Market Value for ROW Easement

    You negotiate. If you ask for more than they're willing to pay, they'll have find another way. You have a snowball's chance in hades of getting them to agree to your lease.

    You can't issue a zoning variance. That's up to the zoning authority.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    327

    Default Re: Fair Market Value for ROW Easement

    I agree to the variance reply, however we are the only property surrounding the site, so we can hold up a special use permit if we do not agree and fight it arguing for safety and security if the tower should fall.

    We are also the only physically possible access road to the site. The hilltop is not accessible any other way.

    There is an existing 15 foot easement abutting our property line that does not include the paved road, however the easement owner who leased the site to Verizon has never maintain the easement. The easement is now overgrown and has utility poles preventing access. We told Verizon that they can always use the existing ROW and not stray outside, negotiate to our terms or contact the original easement owner (their landlord) for another route.

    We really would like to know, aside from anything else, what a fair market value per foot would be?

    The reasoning behind the non-assignable clause would be to prevent Verizon from giving permission to just any Tom, Dick and Harry to travel through our property.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,592

    Default Re: Fair Market Value for ROW Easement

    Mr. K is right- they will never go for your lease, and as you will absolutely not convey anything, your conversation with Verizon is over.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    327

    Default Re: Fair Market Value for ROW Easement

    So mote it be.

    Verizon has the most to lose. They have already invested in the site. I would rather lease a ROW and have monthly income than to give away a ROW forever. I will never be able to build in the future if I convey the ROW, whereas I can renegotiate an alternate path if I lease and retain control of the land.

    Life goes on with or without Verizon Wireless.

    The question is still on the table. What is the FMV per linear foot of a ROW for cell tower access. I am not the first person to have this issue.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    98,846

    Default Re: Fair Market Value for ROW Easement

    That's a question for a commercial real estate appraiser familiar with your local real estate market.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Fair Market Value for ROW Easement

    Is the cell tower already built? If so i know in my state MS, they can take you to court and a judge will determine a price. Probably less than they offered. If that is the best way and only way in to the site. If so a judge can and will grant them an easement. You cannot land lock someone. I have had to do this before and it will cost you money. I would try to get the most out of them I could.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    176

    Default Re: Fair Market Value for ROW Easement

    Seems they have landlocked themselves and knew it when they started talking to you. You are right in my eyes by getting their attention now and not later. Later they won't talk to you at all. If you do something make it non assignable so that any new owners or other companies they allow to get on the tower have to come to you as well. The electric company will want to be overhead. There will be all sorts of traffic on that access road. If they use a gas (propane) generator as backup then you will have people to fill the tank, people working on the tower, other users on the tower, on and on. Can they sue to get access, they can sue for anything. Will they win and at what cost to you is the question. They are looking at either paying you or condemning you. If they condemn you will get paid and they will end up with an easement. You should try very hard not to let them get anything in the condemnation they are not suppose to get. Not sure of the going rate these days but a few years ago in the country here in Georgia they were paying up wards of 600.00 a month for a 1-2 acre site. You question of per square foot is still unanswered. Call an appaiser in the area. Told my neighbor at the time he was easy. Also, your local city or county may be one of the future users on the tower for fire, police, etc. Think they might get a favorable nod on the variance. Since you are close to this tower, ask for them to use neighborhood lighting (if tower is above 199 agl). Otherwise, the lights they use will light you up every night. After is up, forget getting them to do anything. I like for utilities to be underground. You most likely will get more out of them negotiating than going to court but you are right that they had a choice in the location but they have a right to visit their assets. Therein lies the problem.
    For what is worth, they rent space out on the tower for thousands every month. They get a 100 thousound dollar tower paid for pretty quick. You as the landowner in this case don't get anything but the traffic. Stick to you guns.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    327

    Default Re: Fair Market Value for ROW Easement

    I now agree with most of you. We will only lease, not convey, an easement, but it will cost Verizon more upfront. One important thing not mentioned was that our neighbor, Verizon's LL, conveyed a 30 foot easement through our property, when they legally only had a 15 foot easement; although unusable. Verizon has been using the 30 foot easement without our consent and locked us out of our property for three months until we added a second lock. Verizon then realized their easement agreement with neighbor was invalid.

    They can always use another ROW on the backside of the hill, but they would have to clear and build a road. Not our problem.

    Our five year lease proposal is a win-win, in our eyes.

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