UPDATE Prior to its construction, Inside Towers reported the Pittsfield, MA cell tower drew the ire of nearby residents who claimed they did not receive proper notice of the project. Now that the 115-foot Verizon cell tower has been erected, the City Council has been hearing reports from neighbors citing health complaints, reports iBerkshires.com.
Zoning for the tower was first approved in 2017. Despite objections from some residents, the cell tower was built in 2020, on the back section of a property accessible via South Street. Construction was completed last September when a petition to re-open the special permit received no traction. At that time, City Solicitor Stephen Pagnotta determined that the board had no legal grounds to re-address the permit.
Obligated to investigate the health complaints from residents whose properties abut the cell site, Councilors Chris Connell and Patrick Kavey suggested both further investigation, and potentially shutting down the tower. Councilor Earl Persip III then stepped in and explained that Mayor Linda Tyer does not have the legal authority to nix the tower. Barring a court order or the voluntary action of Verizon, the tower will continue to operate.
“We can’t just shut the tower off,” Kavey told iBerkshires.com. “But in the event that we found these side effects were coming from the tower there would be lawsuits and it would be a big process, it would be extremely difficult for us to do, but that’s one way this could go and it really just depends on findings.”
The most vocal agitant, Courtney Gilardi, has contacted the city council every other week and has also complained to the state Health Department, which has thus far declined to respond. The World Health Organization continues to assert that cell towers do not create a health risk for humans, but Gilardi is insistent that her health has suffered due to the proximity of the cell tower and has threatened to move if the tower continues to operate.