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City Council of Greenbelt, Maryland Unanimously Opposes Cell Towers on School Property
“We do not need to be force-fed cell phone towers.” The Council votes to take action by communicating their opposition to County, State and Federal authorities.
1. The Greenbelt Council is sending a letter to the Prince George’s County Executive and School Board stating their strong opposition to cell tower construction on school grounds. The letter will also call for greater transparency in the cell tower development process.
2. The City Council will plan a meeting with the newly elected School Board member Lupi Grady to voice their concerns about cell towers at schools.
3. The City will send letters to elected officials and federal authorities on pending legislation that limits municipal control over cell tower siting.
“We do not like cell towers in Greenbelt — particularly [not] on school sites.” stated Edward Putens. In the meeting, Council members described Greenbelt’s long history of opposing residential cell towers.
Citing safety concerns, building new access roads, hazmat materials, possible tower collapse and maintenance visitors as "all good points of not having it in an area where there are kids, " Mayor Pro Tem Judith Davis added that, “For aesthetic reasons, most people do not like to live next to a cell tower, whether there is a health reason or not — it lowers the value of their property.”
The controversial issue of health concerns from children’s long term exposure to cell tower radio frequency (RF) radiation was prominently discussed after the Council was presented with research studies showing neurological damage and DNA damage. Thea Scarato gave the Council a letter from the American Academy of Pediatrics urging the FCC to enact more protective (RF) radiation regulations as "children are more vulnerable to cell phone radiation." The letter also detailed the World Health Organization’
"Sometimes when you have conflicting scientific views… sometimes just regular old common sense is the best way to go and common sense tells me to err on the side of safety." stated Councilman Rodney Roberts after Mayor Emmett Jordan, Davis and Councilmember Leta Match expressed hesitations about basing their cell tower concerns on radiation exposure effects.
The Council raised the importance of community involvement in tower placement decisions after hearing that PGCPS cell tower permits were being given in residential areas without the special exception process. “If you are going to come in and put something in a residential area, this should be a special exception. People should be notified. People should have a chance to comment and be a part of the process,” said Councilman Rodney Roberts.
Davis held a letter from the CTIA Wireless Association asking the Council to oppose their course of action. She also stated that a Verizon representative had tried to reach the Council to communicate similar sentiments “for obvious reasons.”
“We do not need to be force-fed cell phone towers.” said Councilman Rodney Roberts, who suggested that the Council send a letter to federal representatives telling them to oppose legislation that would limit the control that municipalities had in tower siting after Councilmember Konrad Herling detailed pending legislation.
Earlier in the meeting agenda, the Council also unanimously voted to alert citizens to cell phone safety warnings by creating informational brochures that highlight the manufacturers’
Watch the video of the cell tower agenda item at https://www.youtube.com/
The Greenbelt City Council’s actions are part of a growing movement to ban cell towers on school grounds in the state of Maryland. This comes in the wake of a Prince George’s County Public School (PGCPS) Board vote to approve a master leasing agreement with Milestone Communications making 73 schools available cell tower sites in 2010. PGCPS cell tower development on several schools did not begin until 2014. Prince George’s County community groups (including the NAACP) organized opposition and then connected with community organizations in neighboring Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County and Baltimore City to form the Maryland State Coalition to Halt Cell Towers at Schools.
SafeSchoolsPG is a member of the Maryland State Coalition To Halt Cell Towers at Schools. Their website and petition is at http://www.SafeSchoolsPG.org
Coalition Contact: safeschoolspg@