AT&T wants to install a 65-foot monopole to fill coverage gaps in the city of Montclair, NJ, reported the Montclair Local. The project includes six concealed antennas, as well as a generator and related equipment at one site plus 12 antennas on the roof of an adjacent building. At a recent community meeting, residents expressed their concerns regarding the location of the site, which is near a school, senior residences, a daycare center, and a restaurant. Opponents voiced their objections related to health issues and aesthetics.
According to AT&T engineer Andrew M. Petersohn’s written application, “The RF emission levels from AT&T and other PCS and Cellular communications base stations are similar to that of other two-way communications systems like those used by police, fire and ambulance personnel. In contrast, commercial broadcast systems like television and radio often transmit at power levels ten-times greater or more than the systems discussed above.”
Residents weren’t convinced. Dawn Muhammad, a Montclair local who sells electromagnetic field reduction devices, said the emissions affect everyone. “Your body is an electromagnetic field. Adding emissions disrupts energy, cardiovascular system, and sperm levels. WHO [World Health Organization] says your phone is a [possible] cancer agent. It affects every cell in your body. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s not a health issue,” Muhammad said.
The Local reported one resident considered the positive aspect of the project. “I live in this area and don’t have good cell service in my home. Is there anything positive about this, or is it a NIMBY (not in my back yard) issue?”
The issue was tabled by the Deputy Township Manager Brian Scantlebury, who said AT&T will have to go before the Historic Preservation Commission given the site location.