Milestone Communications plans to build a 135-foot monopole 485-feet from Maryland’s Chesapeake High School and residents are concerned. Over 40 people attended a recent community meeting to learn about the project, with the majority voicing objections.
The tower would be the first constructed near a school in Pasadena, though Milestone has built seven towers on Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) since 2012.
The proposed tower would service an estimated 900 homes, bringing improved broadband speed and voice connectivity, reported the Pasadena Voice.
Under a 2012 agreement between Milestone and AACPS, the district receives 40 percent of all revenue made on the towers, reported the Voice. AACPS also earns $25,000 after a tower is built and $5,000 for each carrier co-located on the tower.
The talk of revenue incited outrage in some meeting attendees, with one noting that “this amateur amount of money is not enough to cover even one cancer case.” To subdue concerns, Matt Penning, project manager for Milestone Communications, said that they contract an independent third-party consultant to conduct RF emission evaluations that go beyond safety regulations imposed by the FCC. “We’re routinely 100 to 1,000 times below the safety limits,” Penning said.
Studies on the matter differ, reported the Voice. According to The American Cancer Society, there is no evidence showing that cell towers increase the risk of cancer. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) had a different conclusion after it spent $30 million over ten years to conduct studies. In 2018, NTP announced its findings: exposure to high levels of RF radiation, like that used with 2G and 3G cell phones, is associated with tumors in male rats, according to the Voice.
Towards the end of the meeting, Greg Stewart, AACPS’s senior manager for planning, revealed that a school board member received a campaign contribution from Milestone.
As a next step, Milestone will apply for a site plan and permit approvals, plus coordinate leases through the AACPS board and staff.