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Let community residents decide where to place cell phone towers

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There is a serious problem in our country with the proliferation of cell phone towers within residential neighborhoods. It is my understanding that federal legislation has limited the right of local communities as to the placement of these cell towers.

In northeast Queens, we see cell towers going up in many locations. Not only are they on rooftops, but many are free−standing monopoles. Owners who allow these towers to be placed on their property are paid well by cell phone companies. The towers are unattractive, take away from the character of neighborhoods and decrease property values. It is my belief that we do not know the full impact these structures will have on our health in the long run.

We have a particular cell tower in our neighborhood that has caused considerable concern and anxiety among residents. It is a monopole located in the rear parking lot of a group of businesses on 35th Avenue between 205th Street and the Clearview Expressway service road in Bayside. This tower went up seemingly overnight. No one in the community knew it was coming. The monopole is just feet from homes and near two elementary schools. It is an inappropriate location for this monopole and the community had no say as to its placement.

To further complicate the problem, I have learned CTIA−The Wireless Association, which represents the cell phone industry, has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to impose more limitations on local zoning authority when it comes to the placement of these towers. This would allow the placement of cell phone towers virtually anywhere in our neighborhoods. This is unacceptable. Local municipalities should have reasonable control over where cell phone towers are placed.

Cell phone towers are necessary in today’s world of communication, but I feel local municipalities could more effectively recommend sites for these towers away from residences, schools, hospitals, etc. With cooperation between the community and cell phone companies under FCC guidance, more appropriate, acceptable and safe placement could be achieved.

City Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside) has introduced a resolution in the Council that urges the FCC to deny CTIA’s application. I support this resolution. As first vice president of the Auburndale Improvement Association, I feel it is important local communities maintain the right to consider issues that affect them.

To help, contact FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin (445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554) and ask him to deny CTIA’s petition. Also contact Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D−Manhattan) (City Hall, New York, NY 10007) and ask her to support Avella’s resolution.

This problem must be addressed by respecting the rights and wishes of the residents of municipalities across our country while allowing the public to have access to the services of the telecommunication companies. These companies must not be allowed to do as they please without community input.

Henry Euler

Bayside

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