AT&T would like to place an 80 foot tower on school grounds, but Council members in New Castle, Pennsylvania are skeptical. Ohio firm GPD Group of Akron requested a conditional use permit that would place a new cell tower on the George Washington Intermediate School campus. A school chimney currently hosts three antennas, but that location is at capacity, reports New Castle News.
Ed Block of GPD stated that: “AT&T wants to try to improve coverage in the area.” However, not all residents were convinced that a cell tower would make a good neighbor. New Castle resident Leroy Polding spoke with emotion, saying, “From what I understand, if this is a 5G tower, it is a hazard to health and things like this. And that’s been proven by studies, not in the United States so much, but overseas.”
If granted, the permit would allow for some flexibility in the actual placement on the property. An option that would site the tower in the playground area caused some alarm for Polding and others. New Castle Area School District’s solicitor Charles Sapienza Jr. sought to allay fears saying, “I know that the residents have some concerns and I would have concerns too if I lived around there, but in talking with Mr. Block and take this for what it’s worth and doing a little bit of research on my own, the FCC does not license these folks if there’s any danger in and around the area.”
The school would receive $25,000 per year in lease fees if the conditional use permit is granted. “The funds will go into the general budget,” Sapienza said. “It’s a struggle as far as the budgetary concerns and what’s really attractive about this particular endeavor is that they are repeating funds. It’s not a one-time gift.” He concluded, “We’ve investigated it. I’ve done the reading. We’ve talked, and I am very confident that there is no risk to our children by having this tower there.”
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