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Council OK’s cell tower upgrades
COVE — After a lengthy public hearing, the Cove City Council voted to approve upgrades to a cell tower in Cove that is owned by AT&T.
AT&T had applied to the city to upgrade the tower to become 4G compliant.
The upgrade was contested by landowner Richard Furniss, who has taken legal action over a cell tower owned by Verizon that is adjacent to his property.
“My two concerns are about health and damage to my property value,” Furniss said.
Furniss presented to the council numerous studies citing the potential health risks posed by cell towers.
“I have to live under a much higher rate of this microwave radiation and I don’t think it is healthy,” Furniss said.
Furniss also expressed concern that current FCC regulations allow a much higher level of radio
Charles Wiens, a representative for Velocitel, a wireless network services company that is handling AT&T’s tower upgrade, said during his years of working on cell towers, the actual levels of radiation have never been at the level allowable by the FCC.
“It has never been anywhere near that high on any site I have worked with,” Wiens said.
Federal law prevents state or local governments from denying upgrades on existing cell towers unless the upgrade substantially changes the physical dimensions of the tower.
The proposed upgrade involves replacing three panel antennas on the existing 80-foot transmission tower. The new antennas will be 18 inches to 24 inches longer and be able to handle more data at greater speed.