Read about the news here!
Sign petition to power off this rogue Pittsfield, MA Cell Tower
A MISLEADING AND DECEPTIVE Wireless Telecommunications Facility (WTF): The address of the project is 877 South St. which is zoned industrial, but anyone who knows the exact location of the tower (at the top of Alma St. next to our neighborhood city water tower, knows this is only technically a South St. address. In reality the construction site is approximately 1,000′ from South St. with no clear line of site to the WTF location. The entrance to 877 South St., and the building located at 877 South St is located less than 100′ from the top of Alma St., with a clear line of sight to the WTF location. This WTF is in our neighborhood and not one resident on Alma St. knew about this, prior to construction commencing.
The crew built a non-permitted access road from South Street, so all of the construction trucks have been able to sneak onto the job site without ever having to drive through our community, even though it is just a short distance from multiple houses. If one were to drive along South St (Rt. 7) and look up and see the ridge line you might think, “seems like a good place for a cell tower, it’s just woods up there.” But, in fact, there is a residential neighborhood on the other side of that hill accessible from Holmes Road. Just northeast of this property is the trail network of the historic Arrowhead.
OUR COMMUNITY WAS BLIND-SIDED: Property owners who are 300 foot abutters were supposed to receive two letters:
- a notice of the cell tower and public hearing date AND
- a second notice of approval of the tower and a 300day window of which to appeal the permitting decision.
We have obtained this list of abutters from the City and asked many of them if they were notified during the process which took place back in 2017. Only two neighbors (out of a list of 30 properties) who happen to live in the highest valued homes in the neighborhood claim to have received a letter in the mail!
One of the neighbors attended the public hearings discussed this lack of transparency and knowledge of the project as well as the height of the tower. Is it likely that more than 20 other residents with homes on that list all ignored multiple letters in the mail about this and threw away their mail without reading it? Not likely.
The bottom line is that no one in our community knew about the tower, few received notice letters and as far as we know, no one received a second notice letter affording an opportunity to appeal this decision!
Oppose Wireless Telecom Facilities (WTFs) of Any “G” Close to Homes, Pittsfield MA, July 5, 2021
View Slides by Kent Chamberlin, PhD here.
In Response to the Feb 19, 2022 Opinion Piece in the Berkshire Eagle, described here, the following letter was submitted, but not printed in the paper.
University of New Hampshire
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
33 Academic Way
Durham, NH 03824-2619
February 21, 2022
Re: Response to Feb 19th Opinion Piece in The Berkshire Eagle on Verizon Cell Tower
Dear Berkshire Eagle Editor,
I am writing as a former member of the New Hampshire Commission that was tasked with exploring the Environmental and Health Effects of Evolving Wireless and 5G Technology. As some of your readers may know, this Commission was formed through bipartisan legislation and was supported by the governor. The Commission was comprised of unpaid and unbiased experts in fields relating to health and radiation and were highly qualified to evaluate the issue in a fair and in-depth manner. The Commission submitted its final report in November 2020, with a key finding being that exposure to wireless communication radiation is harmful to the health of humans and the environment. It is because of the sharp contrast between the opinions expressed in your article and the factual conclusions reached by a panel of unbiased experts that I am writing you now.
I should note that I have weighed in on this issue several times before, including presentations to people in Pittsfield and a presentation to the Lenox, MA Board of Health; a video of that presentation can be seen on here. The video provides an overview about the science behind wireless radiation, with that science coming from peer-reviewed journals and internationally recognized experts. The video also shows why statements about radiation from industry and some governmental agencies are not to be trusted. Please keep in mind that these are not the unfounded opinions of conspiracy theorists, but they are the well-documented conclusions of a formal state commission.
The Board of Health’s decision to consider a cease-and-desist order is a brave one, and it puts its members in an uncomfortable position. They weighed the facts in this situation, not opinions, and came to the correct decision that the tower is harming nearby residents. I feel confident that if you were to review the proven science relating to wireless radiation, you would come to a conclusion similar to the one they reached.
Your Board of Health is doing its job by working to protect citizens against a known toxin. Sometimes doing the right thing can be an uphill battle because of the monied interests that are unwilling to pay the costs associated with mitigating a toxin. We have seen this situation play out many times before, and you are watching it play out now with wireless radiation. I implore The Berkshire Eagle to learn the facts about this issue so that it can support the efforts of the Board of Health.
Professor & Chair Emeritus
Dept. of Electrical & Computer Engineering
University of New Hampshire
Pittsfield Board of Health Continues Push to Remove Verizon Cell Tower
By Brittany Polito, Mar 21, 2022 | Original article here.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Board of Health Chair Bobbie Orsi says the panel is continuing its “thoughtful forward process” in trying to remove the Verizon cell tower at 877 South Street.
The board last week interviewed one of two potential attorneys to assist with a cease and desist order that was approved in early February. Since the tower’s erection in August 2020, Alma Street resident Courtney Gilardi and her daughter, Amelia Gilardi, have claimed that they are suffering from negative health effects from electromagnetic fields generated by the antennae on the 115-foot pole.
Other residents have joined the protests, holding up signs at February’s meeting to advocate for the cease-and-desist order. Orsi on Wednesday said City Solicitor Stephen Pagnotta gave recommendations on what needed to be presented to the City Council in terms of rates and retainers, relevant experience, and what the attorney would provide for the city.
There was also a recommendation that the attorneys understand the preemption and administrative law, be knowledgeable with the federal government and Federal Communications Commission guidelines, and be sympathetic and really just want to help people in the neighborhood.
When the cease-and-desist order was approved, board members acknowledged that this action is a long shot and would be expensive to the city if it has to go to court, but they said they felt it is their duty to do everything they can to protect the health of residents.
The potential attorneys that Orsi identified were not named and the interview was conducted in executive session.
Orsi said to the board:
“The other thing that I did want to bring up with regard to the cease-and-desist order, is that I’ve done a little more research and did compile some studies specifically that address, electromagnetic health sensitivity. There was this whole body of information from the science that says that it is a real thing, I thought that was helpful, there is a lot of additional information out there, scientific evidence-based, peer-reviewed studies to support the direction that we’re moving in to keep that neighborhood safe.”
Orsi also reported correspondence that was received early in the week from Special Projects Manager Deanna Ruffer — former director of community development — and from Pagnotta that recommended the board consider asking Verizon to employ a data system to monitor emissions from the cell tower.
Orsi said in response:
“I think the challenge is that we believe that the FCC guidelines are inherently not protective of people who are sensitive . . . I’m not sure necessarily that looking at an emission number is going to help at all.”
That method is similar to a previously conducted study that found the tower was within FCC guidelines, board member Brad Gordon pointed out, but that measurement is more thermal than biological.
“I just wanted to make you aware that I did receive that communication and that that is an option out there. Having said that, I do think that it’s a good next step to continue our thoughtful forward process in doing what we need to do to be successful with the cease-and-desist order.”