HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – A meeting was held Thursday evening to discuss a proposed cell tower in Howland. The tower would be put in a wooded area near the Howland Springs Elementary School. Some at the meeting worried about the health risks and the impact on the area.
In a meeting with the Howland Board of Appeals, an attorney representing Verizon asked for the approval to put a cell tower in the township. It would be behind Howland Springs Elementary School, about 400 feet away from the building.
“This particular site is clearly needed given the fact you have very poor coverage,” said Joseph Cortese, an attorney representing Verizon.
The Howland School Board has already agreed to let the tower be built. The proposed tower would be just under 200 feet tall, so it would not need lights on top, per the Federal Aviation Administration.
The closest resident is about 360 feet away.
Per the Federal Communications Commission, it’s required to handle three phone carriers, not just Verizon. The range would cover 2 to 3 miles.
When it comes to electric magnetic fields…
“This facility will operate way below the thresholds that are permissible by the FCC,” Cortese said.
Some people brought up concerns at the meeting, which included property values.
“We found that homes closest to the tower itself are at a discount of up to 7.6% and any noticeable effect disappears within 1,500 feet,” said Bruce Gump, a Howland resident.
Other concerns were about health risks.
“There is risk. You cannot deny that there is risk. We do not know the answers as to whether or not there are health effects,” Gump said.
“I am going to be a father in the next six months. So I do believe it is my job to, in my best interest and family’s best interest, to keep them safe,” said Anthony Washington Jr., a Howland resident.
But under law, the board does not have to take health effects into consideration.
“As long as Verizon is licensed by the FCC, operates its signal consistent with those licensing requirements, the health and safety issue is not something for this body to adjudicate,” Cortese said.
The board voted to meet again on this issue at 6 p.m. Nov. 2.