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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news February 5, 2016

4/17/2014 2:13:00 PM
90-foot cell towers get grudging approval
Terence Pratt: “I understand that folks oppose this, but our hands are tied.”
Terence Pratt: “I understand that folks oppose this, but our hands are tied.”

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

COTTONWOOD -- A lengthy process to allow 90-foot cell towers in two locations in Cottonwood was finally given approval Tuesday night by the City Council.

The on-going public outcry over aesthetics and health effects of a cellular tower shrouded in faux-pine boughs has waned and only a couple protests accompanied the public comment Tuesday.

Many in the audience, instead, wore suits of consulting specialists for companies that contract with AT&T or have advised the city.

Called a "monopine," the fake pine tree cell towers will be located on VFW property off Aspen Street and off El Camino Real on the Mingus Union High School grounds.

A recent amendment to the city zoning ordinance's height limitation of 60-feet in the city allows a waiver of the restriction and heights to 90 feet,"upon a showing by the applicant that the additional height is the least intrusive means of filling a significant gap in a wireless."

Contractors for Capital Telecom Acquisition for the VFW site and Coal Creek Consulting for the Mingus Union High School site each said that for each 90-foot tower, four 60-foot towers would have been needed to provide the same cell signal coverage.

RF engineers hired as consultants by the city confirmed that at least "two or three" of the smaller towers would be needed instead of the taller pole.

The benefit to the towers with multiple arrays is that subsequent service providers may co-locate on the towers.

Scott Raspberry, who a regional manager for AT &T told the council that "if Verizon approached us about co-locating them, we would welcome them."

Patrice Rohmer, who has spoken earlier before city boards, warned of the cumulative effects of RF radiation from wi-fi, microwaves, wireless cars, and smart-meters. She urged the council to postpone deliberations "to get more information."

Still, the council voted unanimously to adopt the provisons,

Council Member Terence Pratt said, "I understand that folks oppose this, but our hands are tied."

Saying he was probably born 50 years too late, Tim Elinski said "I don't like the pine tree. I don't like any of this and I strongly encourage future providers to co-locate on the towers."

All Verde Valley communities have considered the towering antennas during the past year. A proposal in Clarkdale was withdrawn. Camp Verde approved a tower near La Fonda of SR 260 and the Sedona area has seen a proposal near Sedona Shadows.

Taylor Waste

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014
Article comment by: Mark Carroll

I question why MHS was chosen for a site? $$$

Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Article comment by: Per 'Distance is safety' it seems that getting the signal 30' higher is good?

And having 2 towers rather than 8 could keep the distance from tower lower. So yeah. Why are we going after the council with pitchforks and torches again? Why not have the Verde Wireless Trials and banish those found to be practicing the witchcraft of wifi and cellular devices! No users means no market! Carrier pigeons are the next hot market to get into in the valley! Ground floor opportunity!

Posted: Monday, April 21, 2014
Article comment by: Distance is Safety

Distance is the only safety. This is the big deal.
Evidence of harmful health effects on persons living close to cell transmission base station antennas.

Germany (2004): "The proportion of newly developing cancer cases was significantly higher among those patients who had lived during the past ten years at a distance of up to 400 metres from the cellular transmitter site, which has been in operation since 1993, compared to those patients living further away, and that the patients fell ill on average 8 years earlier. After five years' operation of the transmitting installation, the relative risk of getting cancer had trebled for the residents of the area in the proximity of the installation compared to the inhabitants of Naila outside the area."

U.K. (2007): "Seven clusters of cancer and other serious illnesses have been discovered around mobile phone masts, raising concerns over the technology's potential impact on health. Studies of the sites show high incidences of cancer, brain haemorrhages and high blood pressure within a radius of 400 yards of mobile phone masts. One of the studies, in Warwickshire, showed a cluster of 31 cancers around a single street. A quarter of the 30 staff at a special school within sight of the 90ft high mast have developed tumours since 2000, while another quarter have suffered significant health problems."

Germany (2009): Persons living within 400 meters from the cell tower experienced:
"sleep problems, depression, cerebral symptoms, infections, skin problems, cardiovascular problems, joint problems, problems of the visual and auditory system, hormone system and gastrointestinal tract."
For more information:

Posted: Monday, April 21, 2014
Article comment by: @ City Council meetings .

The council meetings/videos you posted are posted on the public city website so one of these things does not match the other one... which one is not the same?

The meetings are also aired live many times aren't they?

Not sure what the issue is really. People historically don't attend unless they think it is a topic that directly affects them.

Nothing new there. Perhaps you will encourage more folks to attend but trying to stir up some faux controversy/conspiracy isn't really doing anyone any good is it?

Per that video you posted.. the P&Z department took several months to review these issues and ended up voting 5-1 in favor of both.

How long would you like them to take to review applications? Is 3 months or more not adequate?

The only real question before the council seemed to be the height of the poles. Unless you wanted to have 4 times as many short poles it would seem the outcome was reasonable.

Posted: Saturday, April 19, 2014
Article comment by: City Council Meeting April15,2014

This is not posted on city website. Why? There are 26,000 residents and you have maybe a dozen show up and another 25 watch your video. I think local governments actually like this and the reason is two fold.

One, they can make decisions with no outside opinions or interruptions.
Two , they can complain that no one shows up.

You need to do citizen engagement with all the untested things you are placing upon thier children and health.

You had a community member ask very good questions about statements that were made in AT&T letter of intent and you ignored her.

Please watch the video.

Posted: Saturday, April 19, 2014
Article comment by: Frank Henry

The mayor and council hands were not tied by
Fed law. The Fed law was/is flexible enough
for local gov to confirm established FCC limits
are met.

The so-call 1996 Fed law the council members
and mayor were referring to implies/allows local
gov to ask for and receive adequate information
from the tower requester(s) so that they can be
ensured that the established FCC safety limits
is being met.

Attended the meeting Tuesday evening and no
member/mayor asked for adequate info and,
the tower requester(s) did not volunteer said
info related to the FCC safety limits.

Now...if the FCC safety limits is met the council
and mayor hands become tied with respect to
human health impacts by rf radiation...etc.

Maybe the council/mayor and/or the planning
board did receive the needed safety info...would
like to see said info.

Thanks and Good Luck,
Frank Henry
Tel: 928-649-0249

Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014
Article comment by: Cities Job, not the residents

From the FCC:
A Local Government Official’s Guide to
Transmitting Antenna RF Emission Safety:
Rules, Procedures, and Practical Guidance

This document addresses only the issue of compliance with RF exposure limits established by the FCC. It does not address other issues such as construction, siting, permits, inspection, zoning, environmental review, and placement of antenna facilities within communities. Such issues fall generally under the jurisdiction of states and local governments, within the limits imposed for personal wireless service facilities by Section 332(c)(7) of the Communications Act.

Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014
Article comment by: only VFW had expert opinion not the school

Why no expert report at the school,Coyote 51? Did they need a variance on the fall zone since children could be under it? Ask an expert.

Here is how some of your expert report read:

You asked me to review their engineering to see if their data appeared valid. As expected, this
proved somewhat difficult as carriers such as AT&T are reluctant to provide much detailed
technical data on their system, such as receiver sensitivity, effective radiated power, etc.

Some comments in the expert summary:

Using the limited data available to me, it would appear that a 90' tower does indeed provide some
additional coverage within the proposed AT&T cell 4070. I cannot confirm that AT&T would need to construct four additional towers to in-fill the needed coverage.

I’m not denying that there MIGHT be that need, just that I can’t CONFIRM them.

Appear, cannot confirm, might? Lets do it!!
Get your facts Coyote 51

Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014
Article comment by: coyote51 coyote51

Remember This should have watched or attended the whole meeting. Federal law specifically prevents municipalities from denying cell phone towers based on health or environmental issues. Their hands were tied when independent Rf engineers did agree that there were significant coverage gaps currently. Your name calling i.e. cowards is adolescent behavior at best. Both Prat and Elinski did state that they were not happy to be put in this situation, but if this was denied, it could have cost the city big $ in litigation fees. get your facts man.

Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014
Article comment by: Remember this the next time -

The next time you see 2 towers rather than 8.

The next time your call does not drop.

The next time you make that 911 call that saves a life.

And so on and so forth. Maybe the individuals that are opposed should go ahead and take the towers companies to court rather than expect the city to do so with the funds from all but the 2 people that objected?

Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014
Article comment by: REMEMBER THIS during ELECTION TIME

The suits were lawyers sent to scare you and it worked. Imagine all those people sent to little Cottonwood. Well, it does involve money and they are fully backed by your government and apparently the Verde Independent. The paper did not even let people know the meeting was happening.

Council did have a choice and you chose to pretend your hands are tied. That was an illusion sold to you by the carriers. They presented you with an excuse and you went with it. Now live with it. Just don't tell us that was all you could do. Your so called expert had to guess his report because he could get the information so call it like it is. It was based on guesses.

Cottonwood is owned by the utilities, just ask APS. You never once tried to educate your residents about smart meter. You are cowards.

The carrier is not even putting up the Camp Verde tower which was decided a year ago because they don't want anyone to see one up until they have all the approvals. They are embarrassed of what they are. Now you are with them. An embarrassment to your residents. There are many places that are fighting back, Scottsdale for one.

An international boycott is in order for this AT&T, easily done these days. Time to get busy.

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