Many of you will recall that 2 years ago we had a cell tower proposed for Rectortown. The site then was to be on Crenshaw.It did not happen because our community SPOKE UP.Here we go again.The proposed site this time is on School Board property at our Village elementary school, Claude Thompson. Here are some facts as I understand them, so far:The site would be near Fortune Mountain Road, behind the School on School Board property.The School would receive cash payments, which of course it can use;Several families on Fortune Mountain Road, many, with young kids, live very near the site, at least one property with kids abuts it.The site will be in a Rural Historic District, Cromwell's Run;I'm told there Is substantial precedent that land values near such sites would be diminished;I am also told the School does not need cell service for the kids;There is much research (disputed by telecom carriers relying on many years old FCC standards) that indicates cell towers can be harmful to one's health and that little kids are especially susceptible;I was also told that folks with Lyme disease or a compromised immune system may be vulnerable.One of our neighbors is disabled and was forced to retire prematurely suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity. She lived in a building next to a cell tower. Now she cannot use a cell phone, have wi-fi in the house, or even use a microwave oven. Any proximity to these, and especially cell towers, produces disabling headaches, etc.She moved here from DC to get away from neighbors' wi-fi. Rectortown has been a godsend for her. If this tower goes up she will likely have to move.....and I would be moving with her. She hopes we can help her and the others.As I mentioned, the FCC standard as to safe levels of radio frequency is very old and last I heard, there is ongoing litigation to bring the standard up to date to reflect current science. The Environmental Health Trust can give us an update on that.BOTTOM LINE:The tower company, Milestone Towers, has a marketing contract with the School Board permitting it to market cell towers to a great many schools in the County...there is a lot of money involved for the tower company and School Board.Our Village does not need the service since we are hardwired;The School kids do not need cell service.There is a great deal of documentation as to the health risks.QUERY, why would the School Board permit this at Claude Thompson when there are reasonably disputed questions about safety? Surely the money is not worth the risk to the kids.Aside from health risks I'm told it would be visible from Rectortown road, a Virginia Scenic Byway, viewsheds would be impacted, our property values would go down, and it would be inappropriate in a Rural Historic District, Cromwell's Run, etc.Ideally, these concerns would be enough to defeat such a proposal but I don't think they would sway the School Board. However, since it has a special interest in providing a SAFE learning environment for the kids, one would hope that any risk for their safety would offset the financial gain. If you would like more, I am forwarding information I have received from the Environmental Health Trust (ehtrust.org,) to Matt for your access.I'm told the next School Board meeting is on 6/14. I'm not sure what the process is, public hearing, whatever, or if this issue will be heard at this meeting or even sooner. Word has it, it is moving on a fast track.My hope is that when the School Board hears that the folks in Rectortown are serious about protecting the various interests of our neighbors and the kids, it will work with the tower company and Verizon to find another more appropriate site with fewer problems.I have asked our School Board representative, Suzanne Sloane, Vice Chair, to keep us abreast of this issue and when we might be heard. In the meantime you may want to drop her an email or a phone call if you have views or questions on the cell tower issue.Her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions you may reach her at 540 316 7323.
I understand she is very responsive to constituents and I'm sure she would appreciate hearing from us. I placed a call to her, I believe it was on Friday the 28th.By the way, if you are unable to reach Ms. Sloane other School board members are:Donna Grove, Chair ...email@example.com...540 272 2249;Stephanie Litter-Reber....firstname.lastname@example.org...540 935 3126;Duke Bland...email@example.com...540 935 3111;Susan Pauling...firstname.lastname@example.org...540 935 3393These are busy folks so please don't bother everybody. Ms. Sloan is our representative but she may be away, whatever.In conclusion, I was told (off the record ) by one cynic formerly in the industry, that, sadly, this will be like the issues with the tobacco companies, in that the public will not get protection by the government until there are enough deaths to offset carrier lobbyists.Such a happy note.We have several new folks in the Village and my list may be out of date. Please share this email with your new neighbor.Last time we secured a petition with a great number of folks signing.I will consult with Matt as to how to do this efficiently, perhaps electronically, if that would be acceptable to Vice Chair Sloane.Thank you.Hank Lavine