Resident takes issue with cell tower

By Kelly Ducote / The Observer October 09, 2013 03:22 pm

Cove resident Richard Furniss says he is concerned about the health impact of radiation, noise pollution and the visual impact of this Verizon cell phone tower located near his house. The tower is less than 100 yards from his home. (Jeff Petersen/The Observer)
Cove resident Richard Furniss says he is concerned about the health impact of radiation, noise pollution and the visual impact of this Verizon cell phone tower located near his house. The tower is less than 100 yards from his home. (Jeff Petersen/The Observer)
 

COVE — Richard Furniss claims he has suffered damages from a Verizon cell tower authorized by the City of Cove and built on a ridge above his home.

Due to the proximity of the tower — less than 100 yards from his home — Furniss is concerned about the health impact of radiation from the tower, noise pollution and the visual impact of the tower located near his house.

“I believe strongly it diminished the value of my property,” Furniss said.

Furniss would like Verizon to mitigate alleged damages by either moving the tower away from his property or compensating him monetarily so he can relocate.

In July, Furniss formally appealed to the city that Verizon went beyond the scope of the original permit issued by the city by making changes and additions to the tower.

In September, Cove Mayor Lyndon Rose asked city councilors, including Doug and Regina Kruse, to conduct a site inspection to review the complaint filed by Furniss.

“We really didn’t note any sound issues and everything that can be observed on the tower is clearly defined in all the previous permit requests,” said Regina Kruse.

Regina Kruse feels that the council acted in accordance with the ordinance by having an initial hearing and allowing Verizon to make subsequent changes based on the permit process.

According to a report Furniss submitted to the city, he was informed of the initial application for a cell tower but since the first cell tower seemed small, he did not object. In hindsight, he believes the location diagram was inadequate. 

By approving the first tower, Furniss said he did not realize he would not receive further notification of expansions made to the tower and lose the opportunity to review and object to those expansions.

Regina Kruse recommended last week that the city council send a letter to Verizon stating an adjacent property owner approached the council with concerns about additions made to the site and ask Verizon to work with the property owner to try to understand the concerns and mitigate injuries that may have been realized.

“I think that is a fair offer and a fair approach,” Furniss said. “I think that the letter from the city is helpful to me because it motivates Verizon to deal with me directly without having to sue them.”

Furniss said he has retained the services of Jonel Ricker of the Joseph and Ricker Law Firm in La Grande.

“If I have to sue them I will, because I’ve sustained a lot of damage,” Furniss said.