A 150-foot telecommunications tower in the Palm Coast community prompted public opposition over perceived health risks. Officials have tabled discussion about the necessary property lease for the time being.
(TNS) — Jim Challender, a Palm Coast resident for all of three months, was shocked to learn a 150-foot telecommunications tower could be built within 300 feet of his home on Palm Harbor Golf Course.
Challender, who spoke out against the tower at Tuesday's City Council meeting, shared his thoughts with The News-Journal Wednesday.
“The health concerns of being within 300 feet of this tower are staggering,” Challender said, adding that there are minimal studies on the effects of 5G to human beings. "My family will be exposed to this radiation 24/7."
City officials did not return multiple calls asking about health concerns regarding the proposed tower.
Challender, who sent a letter to the City Council stating he's "vehemently opposed" to the proposal, also said the tower would cause property values to "plummet" as well as negatively impact the nearby wildlife, including the bald eagle that flies down the fourth fairway each day.
Challender was just one of about 25 residents who asked the City Council Tuesday to oppose the tower.
City officials unanimously agreed to table approving a ground lease agreement at 20 Palm Harbor Drive.
The tower is part of the city's proposed Wireless Master Plan, which was created in 2018, to improve Palm Coast's wireless infrastructure. It is designed to work in conjunction with the proposed telecommunications ordinance to improve service for city residents and businesses by reducing coverage gaps, enhancing the capacity of wireless networks within the city, optimizing deployment of equipment and technologies, and encouraging towers on suitable publicly owned sites.
Councilman Ed Danko asked that the item be removed from Tuesday's consent agenda and revisited at the next meeting in January.
“I have no idea what this tower is actually going to look like,” said Danko. “We haven’t seen an image of it. I would like to see a photograph of what this looks like when you cross that bridge in the Palm Coast.”
Danko said residents have reached out to him directly to share their concerns.
“I’ve received a lot of emails on this subject from residents,” said Danko. “I read every one of your emails, and I understand your concerns on this and I have concerns on this."
Danko said the city should consider alternative locations for the tower.
“I'd also like to know if the city looked at any alternative sites where this wouldn't be 300 feet from people's homes,” said Danko. “A location that would give us great cell service. I want great cell service. I mean our cell service is horrible, let's be honest. So I'd love to have it. But I have those concerns.”
Residents in attendance Tuesday voiced their opinions — oftentimes boisterously — in opposition of the proposed telecommunications tower.
Residents Louis and Debra Vitale, owners of Virginia-based Vitatech Electromagnetics, reached out to the board and offered to perform a free analysis regarding the tower. Danko said he'd like to take them up on their offer.
Vitatech Electromagnetics' website cites "collecting accurate and detailed data about your electromagnetic field and radio frequency exposure" as one of its specialties.
Debra Vitale shared her concerns regarding her 2- and 3-year-old grandchildren and why the motion should be tabled.
“My property line is within 300 feet of the proposed cell tower,” she said. “I'm also a registered nurse and the managing director of Vitatech Electromagnetics for the past 30 years. We’ve been dealing with EMI and RFI solutions, shielding and assessment. I’m also the grandmother of two toddlers that currently live with me. I'm concerned about the health effects on those two children.”
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Palm Coast officials table telecommunications tower after negative feedback from residents
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