Residents Stop Church Cell Tower Near Schools

By John Cadiz Klemack and Yvonne Beltzer
|  Tuesday, May 22, 2012  |  Updated 11:25 PM PDT

[This will sound so familiar to Santa Fe residents protesting the tower to be hidden in a “stealth chimney” at St. John’s Methodist Church, which ouses a day care center and is within 1000 feet of the Children’s Museum.]

NEWS BREAK: The residents have prevailed and the cell tower was stopped. See letter from activists below this article!

Residents of a Burbank neighborhood protested Tuesday evening outside Burbank City Hall against plans to install a cell phone tower atop a church.

T-mobile wants to build the wireless telecommunications facility (WTF)  atop the Little White Chapel Christian Church in the 1700 block of North Avon in Burbank.

Residents of that neighborhood claimed the tower would only be 500 feet from an elementary school and a little more than a thousand feet from a middle school.

Last October, the city of Burbank changed its ordinance on cell towers to permit the building of them in residential neighborhoods as long as they were placed on properties such as churches that are used for institutional purposes.

A grass-roots group of parents, property owners and neighbors have appealed to the city to block the tower.

They were concerned about the constant emission of electromagnetic radiation coming from the tower and the potential for adverse health effects.

“We don’t want to take a gamble,” said Roy Weigand, a Burbank resident who was an organizer of the protest movement.

“We’d rather look foolish in ten years and say maybe we overreacted but we’re healthy than look back in 10 years and say you know these brain tumors some of us are getting, maybe we can trace those back to the cell phone towers we live underneath,” Weigand said.

They also said the tower would lower property values.

But Burbank city officials claimed their hands were somewhat tied on the matter.

Senior City Planner Jesse Brown explained why:

“The FCC has said we can’t deny these facilities based on the health affects of the facilities. So that mainly leaves us with aesthetics to control the facilities.”

The group opposing the tower submitted a photo showing what the tower would add to the church, but city officials claimed it meets the city’s aesthetic and other building requirements.

But Burbank city officials claimed their hands were somewhat tied on the matter.

Senior City Planner Jesse Brown explained why:

“The FCC has said we can’t deny these facilities based on the health affects of the facilities. So that mainly leaves us with aesthetics to control the facilities.”

The group opposing the tower submitted a photo showing what the tower would add to the church, but city officials claimed it meets the city’s aesthetic and other building requirements.

Just got this news from those fighting the tower:

“Just wanted to let you know that we SUCCEEDED in our battle against T-Mobile, there will NOT be a T-Mobile tower installed on the Little White Chapel across the street and so close to schools!!!! We are all so happy and frankly surprised – the City Council kept telling us their hands were tied in this issue.
We had close to 200 people show up at the appeal meeting and we had ABC and NBC news cameras show up – we had a lot of great community support which I think helped.”


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