July 09, 2009 at 11:08AM AKST
On June 24, the Cordova Planning Commission awarded conditional use permits for two new cell towers in downtown Cordova. Immediately thereafter, Cordova Telephone Cooperative and Bayside Storage each applied separately for a conditional use permit to install one new tower apiece in downtown Cordova.
This follows a trend of rapidly escalating cell tower proliferation in the rest of America – and the world. If Cordova follows this trend, then residents can expect many more similar requests for more, ever more, cell towers in downtown Cordova.
Related to the rapid spread of cell towers and wireless antennae, there are two another trends in the rest of America and the world.
First, a trend shows an emerging public health threat from electromagnetic radiation exposure; i.e., people are getting sick because the legal guidelines overlook EMR exposure and, in the U.S., the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 specifically blocks rights of state and local governments to stop placement of cell towers and wireless antennae based on human health concerns.
Second, there is a growing movement of people worldwide to insist that public health is protected as a mandated precondition for locating utilities that transmit and receive EMR emissions that have been proven harmful to people and other life on the planet.
Where does this leave Cordova?
I would like to see Cordova skip the first two trends – cell towers all over downtown Cordova and ensuing health problems – and go right to the third one. The first two trends are proving costly in terms of human health and economics: some cities are breaking contracts with cellular companies over location of towers and even relocating existing utilities away from schools, hospitals, and other areas of concern.
Let's get informed and get organized. We can choose to locate cell towers and other EMR-transmitting/receiving technology well away from areas where people live and work – if we act soon and if we act as a united community.
Sign the petition located at several downtown businesses. The petition requests the city of Cordova to consider – and inform residents of – options under our home rule charter to protect the health and well-being of all Cordova residents and guests from involuntary electromagnetic radiation exposure. Further, it requests the city of Cordova to stay the June 24, 2009, Planning Commission's conditional use permit for GCI cell towers – and all other such requests and conditional use permits for cell towers – until such time as the city has fulfilled the first request to protect public health as a mandated precondition of cell tower placement.
Support the appeal, filed on July 6, of the Planning Commission's decision to approve the conditional use permits by calling or visiting the city office.
Attend the July 14 Planning Commission meeting and request that further cell tower conditional use applications are stayed until the city of Cordova has time to consider an ordinance on cell towers.
Get informed. The Cordova library has a notebook of information on health problems from EMR exposure that people sent me from around the country.
Attend the Aug. 5 City Council meeting to express your opinions about cell tower locations in downtown Cordova. I'm hoping to present a draft ordinance to our home rule charter for discussion.
Author/community activist Riki Ott can be reached at www.ultimatecivics.com
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