Pretty Please, Asks Pittsfield

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Without a legal ruling or proven health claim to force a response from Verizon, the Pittsfield Board of Health has opted to try a new tactic – asking nicely. As reported by the Berkshire Eagle, the city’s interim health director, Andy Cambi, said, “We flat out asked them, ‘Are you willing to consider removing the tower or relocating it?’”

Fellow Board member, Brad Gordon, joined Cambi in voicing the request to Verizon. He noted that “It was unlikely” that Verizon would accede, adding, “We really pressed them to have an open mind and think about it, and they said that’s what they would do, but I don’t want to build false hope we’re moving forward in that manner.”

The ongoing issue involves a cell tower erected by Verizon in 2020 in the Massachusetts community. The structure has been placed in the section of town referred to as “Shacktown” by local residents. Leading the charge against the tower has been citizen Courtney Gilardi, who first pointed out aesthetic concerns about the tower. After the tower was built, she and her family members contend that the tower’s proximity has made them all ill. 

Demanding action, Gilardi and her supporters have worked to get state legislators and public health officials to review the situation. An independent commission is being formed to study the situation. State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier cautioned that it is important that the panel be composed of members who will look at the cell tower from different angles. 

“It’s important the commission is not industry-controlled, but they should be represented. What we need are health experts on the commission,” Farley-Bouvier told the Berkshire Eagle. So far, there has been no verifiable evidence that the cell tower is unsafe, or is responsible for the health complaints reported by the Gilardi family.

Pittsfield Board of Health members Cambi and Gordon have said that they will present Verizon with alternate suggestions for re-locating the cell tower.  

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