Will the lure of natural gas drilling leases attract modern-day prospectors to the region to buy up vacant land and drive up local property values?

Or will the fear of industrial activity and environmental damage send potential homebuyers running for the hills, leading to a drop in the housing market?

It's a question Tompkins County Assessor Jay Franklin is eager to answer, but one he suspects will take time to play out as the marketplace responds to the issue of the day.

As Franklin explained to municipal leaders at a recent meeting of the Tompkins County Council of Governments, the presence of new large-scale horizontal gas drilling in the area is just as likely to have a positive impact on property value as it does a negative one.

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