Citizens Group Protests Verizon Antenna on Historic Building


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Concerned citizens are protesting the proposal to put an antenna array atop the Curtis, a former historic hotel and now a subsidized housing facility in Lenox, MA. iBerkshires reported that the project was awarded to a local company, Evolution Site Services, on behalf of Verizon Wireless. It’s not the first time infrastructure was proposed for the Curtis. Two proposals by AT&T have been rejected to date, one in 2002, and another in 2017.

The Lenox Citizens for Safe Cell Siting Group highlighted concerns about the current project last weekend, among over two dozen other neighbors. Issues include health risks for residents, equity concerns with placing wireless infrastructure on elderly and handicapped housing, and “opening the floodgates” for placement on residential properties.   

According to group member Courtney Gilardi, the issue is also socio-economic. “These towers are placed in low socio-economic areas, and the Curtis is the only elderly disabled low-income housing option for people in Lenox,” she said.

Gilardi added that since the infrastructure isn’t typically placed in wealthier neighborhoods, residents don’t need legal counsel to fight it. “They [wealthier residents] get to have the benefit of it [wireless infrastructure], but they don’t have to have it living right next to them,” Gilardi stated.

According to iBerkshires, Gilardi moved to Lenox after a tower was placed near her former residence in Pittsfield, MA. She claims the tower made her family and neighbors ill and advocates for proper notifications of tower projects, setbacks, and the removal of the towers in residential areas. 

Gilardi also pointed out that attorney Anthony Lepore of Cityscape Consultants is working for both the town and Verizon. Lepore is advising on revised telecommunications bylaws, which are currently “very protective,” according to Gilardi.

“The town has hired him to rewrite the wireless zoning bylaws, and he’s also representing the contract on the Curtis,” Gilardi said. “So it’s such a conflict of interest, and people have been so upset by this, they’ve been speaking up at the select board meetings, they’ve been speaking up at the planning board meetings.”

City administrators have tabled the proposal and requested further study on the issue, reported iBerkshires. 

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