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Field Guide to Cell Phone Towers

(Updated March 2014)

Cell phone towers may bring extra tax revenue, greater reception, and security to a city or town. Despite these benefits, many remain skeptical of towers due to potential health risks, environmental aesthetics, and the impact on property values. (K. Stockert, Information and Web Content Specialist)


Cell Phone Towers & Property Values 

Telecommunication Tower Leases Not Subject to Self-Rental Passive Income Rule, (Journal of Accountancy, Feb. 2013). Q

Rent from Easements for Equipment Treated as Rents from Real Property, (Real Estate Taxation, 2012). Q

Telecoms Facing a Bold New Challenge Nationwide: Vertical Consultants Collect Billions in Underpaid Cell Tower Rents, (PRWeb, Jan. 29, 2012).

The Effects of Distance to Cell Phone Towers on House Prices in Florida, (The Appraisal Journal Fall 2007). Q

The Impact of Cell Phone Towers on House Prices in Residential Neighborhoods, (The Appraisal Journal, Summer 2005). Q

The Impact of Wireless Towers on Residential Property Values, (Assessment Journal, 2003). Q


Cell Phone Towers: Benefits

Mobile Masts Could Help Measure Rain and Chill Vaccines, (Appropriate Technology, June 2013). Q

Thinking Outside the Box—Real Estate Investment Trusts Up High, Down Low, and Sideways. (Real Estate Taxation, 2012). Q

Palm Beach County School Board Waits on Decision to Allow New Cell Towers no District Properties, (WPTV.com, Jan. 25, 2012).

Cell Towers to Create Revenue for Sacramento Parks, (Sacramento Press, Nov. 7, 2011).

“Fully 91% of American adults own a cell phone and many use the devices for much more than phone calls” (Source: Cell Phone Activities 2013, Pew Research Center, Sept. 2013, p. 2).

Source: Wireless Substitution: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, July–December 2009, (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, May 12, 2010).

The hidden taxable capacity of land: enough and to spare, (International Journal of Social Economics, 2009). Q

Outliers: Assides & Insides, (Modern Healthcare, Mar. 23, 2009). Q


Cell Phone Towers: Risks & Health Concerns

Cellular Phone Towers, (American Cancer Society, n.d.).

Study: No Health Risk From Cell Phones And Towers, (CBS Atlanta, Feb. 14, 2014).

Municipalities Lose Control Over Cell Tower Locations, (ABC WBAY, Feb. 28, 2014).

Cellphone Tower Bill Draws Concern From Municipal Group, (eMissourian.com, Feb. 6, 2014).

OSHA Investigating Fatal Cell Tower Collapse in Harrison County, (WOWKTV.com, Feb. 1, 2014).

Cell Tower Deaths Get OSHA’s Attention, (Risk Management, Oct. 2013). Q

Reflections on the INTERPHONE Study of Cell Phones and Brain Cancer, (CDC NIOSH Science Blog, July 26, 2010).

Study: Cell Phone Towers Not a Cancer Risk to Children, (PBS.org, June 23, 2010).

Mobile Phones Base Stations and Early Childhood Cancers: Case-Control Study, (British Medical Journal, June 22, 2010).

Radio Frequency Safety, (U.S. Federal Communications Commission, n.d.).


Cell Phone Tower Aesthetics

Cell phone towers that are designed to blend in with their environment are often called stealth or concealed cell phone towers. Conducting an Internet search using the terms stealth, concealed, or camouflaged will yield up-to-date results on this topic.

Greenville County Schools to Allow Cell Towers, (GreenvilleOnline.com, Mar. 1, 2014).

Cell phone tower in Norton Shores build to resemble 155-foot pine tree, (The Muskegon Chronicle, Oct. 29, 2011).

Appeals Court upholds county permit decision on Franconia Township cell phone tower, (Chicago County Press, Nov. 10, 2011).

Making a cell phone tower into a tree, (WZZM 13 Muskegon, MI, Nov. 1, 2011).

City blocks expanded cellphone tower, (CBC News Calgary, Oct. 28, 2011).

Streaming Live Revenue, (Journal of Property Management, 2007). Q

Cell tower camouflage artists just want to blend in, (Network World, 2004). Q


Research on Your Own

To search for the most recent articles on this topic, go to ProQuest and enter subject terms such as:

  • Cell towers and real estate
    • Enter into ProQuest text box as SU(real estate) AND cell tower*

Information Savvy!

Many websites, such as Wikipedia, can be great resources to quickly get oriented on a subject before conducting more in depth research. However, anyone in the world can create and maintain a website or write a seemingly legitimate article and may, intentionally or unintentionally, publish false or "misinformation." When reviewing information on the Internet, you should always consider the ABC's:

  • Accuracy. Is the information accurate? Can you confirm the same information using other resources published by a different author or organization?
  • Author. Who composed the information? Can you easily identify the author and contact the author or website publisher?
  • Bias. What bias might the author or author organization have?
  • Credibility. What is the author’s or author organization’s credentials for publishing the information? What expertise, experience, or education does the author have in this area that makes him or her qualified to write on the subject matter?
  • Currency. When was the web page last updated? Is it possible the information might have changed since this web page was last published?
  • Critical eye! Remember to always use your discretion and critical eye to determine whether information you find on the web (or even in books and news sources!) is trustworthy. Putting websites to the ABC test will get you started in developing a strong critical eye.

eBooks & Other Resources

eBooks.realtor.org

The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Real Estate Appraisal (Kindle and Adobe eReader)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Central. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Central at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

The Impact of Cellular Phone Base Station Towers on Property Values, (University of Auckland, 2003).

Cell Towers: Wireless Convenience? or Environmental Hazard?, (Safe Goods/New Century Publishing, 2001).


Field Guides & More

These Field Guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Choosing and Using a Smartphone

Field Guide to Effects of Power Lines on Property Values

Field Guide to Wind Farms and Their Effect on Property Values

InfoCentral Blog


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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.