Last Thursday, a 95-foot cell tower began operating less than 500 feet from Markham Place Elementary School, causing several dozen parents to protest. The Asbury Park Press reported that the parents formed a group called Little Silver Citizens Against Cell Tower and spoke to the Board of Education, asking them to move the tower 1,500 feet from the school or remove it all together.
Parent Jennifer Borenius told the Asbury Park Press, “There have been boards of education that have petitioned, in other states like California, where they were successful in moving cell towers that were in the proximity of schools, so there is a little bit of precedent.”
Parents cited a study from the International Association for Research on Cancer that found “that radio frequency radiation, including the radiation spewing from cell towers, is a possible carcinogen.” At this time, the board did not take a stance on the situation but told parents that they will investigate the issue.
“We’re all parents. I have two kids in the system. If we find out there is a significant concern we will be right alongside with you,” said Board President Christian Smith. Parents feel misled because of how the borough council represented the planned tower, positioning it as an emergency communications structure, not a cell tower.
Back in February, Verizon, which won the bid to lease space on the tower, presented a proposal for the cell site to be at an alternate location; however, the borough asked for the tower to be constructed on their property (near the school) to offer better service in dead zones and to assist with emergency management needs.
Verizon’s attorney Warren Stillwell submitted a report that the facility met FCC requirements for RF transmission and posed no health problems. The planning board approved the project during a February 26 meeting.
In an email to the Asbury Park Press, Mayor Robert Neff stated, “The objections have been made extremely clear to the governing body. We are exploring every possible option.”
A public information session has been scheduled at Borough Hall on June 12, to discuss the tower.
May 31, 2017