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Pipeline locations raises property value concerns

September 20, 2010 6:48:50 PM PDT
There are new concerns being raised about what the PG&E pipeline explosion will do to property values in San Bruno and whether anyone looking to sell their home will have to disclose the fact that they are sitting on a dangerous pipeline.

A real estate agent told ABC7 the housing market in the neighborhood was just beginning to rebound, with homes selling for $600,000-$700,000 on average. Now, experts predict years down the road the market will be back, but in the short term they say there will be a drastic drop in home values.

There is already a long list of disclosures San Bruno homeowners must warn potential buyers about.

"When I started in the business 25 years ago our list of disclosures was half a page long but now our folders are three to four inches thick," San Bruno realtor Bob Marshall Jr. said.

Now Marshall, who is also the San Bruno planning commissioner, is bracing for a new addition to that list. He predicts anyone looking to sell a home near the blast site will eventually be made to tell buyers they are sitting on one of PG&E's main gas transmission lines.

"It's going to be one more thing that most people know about now, I think the pipes are all over the place, I'm going to guess they're all over the place," Marshall said.

One home for sale is located just a few doors away from the destruction. Selling it now will not be easy, according to the lawyer who last week filed the first blast-related class action lawsuit against PG&E.

Potential property value decline is one of the things he is suing the utility company over.

"There was an explosion in San Bruno and that's going to ring in people's ears when they're looking for a place to live unfortunately," attorney Bill Audet said.

It may be hundreds of miles away, but Audet likens the devastation in San Bruno to the destruction caused by BP's gulf oil spill.

The blast left nothing but the "for sale" sign in front a property Marshall had listed on Glenview Drive. Whether anyone will buy it remains to be seen. The owner does not know what he wants to do anymore since there is no longer a home to sell.

"That person is telling us he's going to not put it on the market, maybe sell the land and go from there," Marshall said.

It is not just the residents in San Bruno that could be made to disclose the existence of a gas transmission line. Now that PG&E made its list of dangerous lines public, residents in those areas could have a new disclosure requirement on their hands too.

PG&E customers can call 1-888-743-7431 for information about gas pipelines in their area.


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