Indian River County Commissioner Davis wants AAF study; Property Appraiser Nolte says, ‘Pay for it’

Posted on March 21, 2016

By Staff Report

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — County Commissioner Wesley Davis, a candidate for county property appraiser, is criticizing incumbent David Nolte for what Davis says is an unwillingness to study the impact All Aboard Florida trains would have on local real estate values.

"All Aboard Florida has created an 'AAF Property Disaster Zone,' cutting a 2,000-foot-by-22-mile swath across Indian River County," Davis said in a statement, prepared for presentation at Tuesday's County Commission meeting. "I believe that the property appraiser is failing to react in a timely manner to address the issue. The property appraiser's lack of action is also creating a hidden shortfall in future tax revenues affecting county, School Board and cities."

All Aboard Florida plans to begin its Brightline service through the Treasure Coast — connecting Miami and Orlando — by late next year. It plans eventually to run 16 round trips daily.

"The negative impact of All Aboard Florida began the day the AAF plan was announced in 2012," Davis said in his statement. "Property values immediately declined, but not taxes. A study commissioned by the Martin County property appraiser revealed that residential property within 400 feet of the rail lost an average of 16 percent — or $16,681. Homes within 1,000 feet lost $10,502."

For his part, Nolte said no one ever has asked him to conduct such a study.

"If they asked us to, we'd look into it," he said Monday in response to Davis' news release. "We don't know what the scope (of the study) is."

The study would cost about $60,000, Nolte said.

"There's no money in my budget to do it," he said. "It's not work that we do, and they've never offered to pay for it. If they want something done, they need to pay for it like they have done in other counties."

"I don't think there are any dramatics about it," Nolte continued. "The whole deal sounds foolish. If you want something, then you ask for it, then you work it out."

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