Sprint Agrees to Relocate Ripon Tower

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The controversial cellular phone tower at Weston Elementary School in Ripon, CA may be relocating to a nearby strawberry farm, according to the Manteca/Ripon Bulletin.

In a meeting held yesterday at a Ripon City Council Meeting (ed: results were not available at deadline) Sprint submitted an application to the San Joaquin County Planning Department to move the tower currently at Weston Elementary School to a location within the county’s land use authority. The application states: “The property where the tower will be located is adjacent to a property that is currently zoned residential in the City’s general plan and by having the tower at this location, would preclude that adjacent property from being developed residential by the City of Ripon that at some point in time it is annexed into the City.” 

 Studies have since shown a trace of cancer-causing chemicals in the groundwater that was allegedly affecting both the children and residents of the town as reported by Inside Towers on May 6. The initial move by Sprint from the school grounds caused debate within the tower community over whether, by taking the site down, the carrier was showing sensitivity to the 200 local residents who filed a petition, versus admitting by its actions that the telecom was the cause of the problem. 

WIA President and CEO Jonathan Adelstein was staunchly in the latter camp. “Sprint went too far in removing the tower when hearing out the community and explaining the science with patience and compassion for the children afflicted by cancer would have been a better response,” Adelstein told Inside Towers. “Now that we know… 

“Now that we know there is an apparent cause of the tragic cases of cancer among the schoolchildren, groundwater contamination, it’s wrong to double down on the mistake of agreeing to move the tower in the first place. Armed with the truth, are we considering whether the school will lose adequate coverage for the students’ safety and educational needs?” Adelstein said. “School officials should be prepared for a public safety emergency, and we know for certain that students rely heavily on wireless devices for their school work. We shouldn’t deprive the school of wireless capacity and much-needed additional revenue to fund children’s programs even after we know the truth.”

Sprint told Inside Towers yesterday the company takes compliance with federal regulations of radio frequency exposure to humans very seriously. “As you may know, three independent tests were conducted and the results showed the site was fully compliant and operating at less than one percent, or hundreds of times, below federal limits,” said Adrienne Norton, of Sprint Corporate Communications Network. “We understood though that the community continued to have concerns. We’re committed to being good neighbors, and we’re working with the community on a solution to relocate the site,” Norton said. 

While Inside Towers took the editorial position at the time of understanding Sprint’s kinder, gentler response by listening to the local community and responding to their wishes, the question now is: does their agreement to relocate only serve to reinforce the fears of an overstimulated, uninformed mob? Now that the carrier is vindicated, should Sprint stand its ground so the same sources that broadcast, tweeted, Facebooked and published false witness against the tower industry can take a second look at their rush to judgement?

“We’ve been a member of the Ripon community for a long time,” Sprint’s Norton said in response. “We worked with them two years ago when concerns surfaced and we began a dialogue then. This issue recently resurfaced again though and we think our decision to relocate was the right choice.”  Comments? Email Us. 

By Jim Fryer, Managing Editor, Inside Towers

July 18, 2019         

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