UPDATE In late August, Inside Towers reported that a judge dismissed a municipal review brought to the Berkshire Superior Court by twelve residents of “Shacktown.” The properties of the latter abutt a 115-foot Verizon tower in Pittsfield, MA. Residents claimed they were not notified of the project until “construction trucks rolled in this spring.” Now, the same opponents are appealing the court decision while attempting to persuade officials to keep future cell towers further from homes.
The Berkshire Eagle reported that the city’s Community Development Board would hear public comment on the matter in early November. A petition calls for future cell towers to be located at least 1,600 feet from residences. Another point, unanimously backed by the City Council, calls for requiring the city to notify people (via certified mail) who live up to 1,600 feet from any proposed tower.
Although a hearing before the Community Development Board will not affect the current tower, neighbors who oppose the project hope to improve the process. “We didn’t want this to happen with other people,” Courtney Gilardi said. “We’re seeing other people be blindsided by projects.”
City Councilor Christopher Connell said, “The whole City Council is acting as the petitioner” to keep structures at a further distance from homes. The November session is expected to include presentations about perceived health risks associated with cell towers’ electromagnetic radiation, reported the Eagle.
Connell added that the process is going “to take a little while” and that “unfortunately, it’s not going to help the residents of Shacktown. That whole thing was a debacle.”
In addition, the Tri-Town Health Department is sponsoring a Zoom event on October 19, titled “Safe Cell Tower Siting: What You Need to Know.” The online forum will include remarks by Cecelia Doucette of Massachusetts for Safe Technology and Jonathan Mirin of Hilltown Health.
Gilardi said she believes the public needs to know more about the health effects of cell towers. “You can be pro-technology, and you can be pro-human,” she said. “We’re all learning.”