The coronavirus pandemic has caused an unexpected outrage over a temporary tower activated in Rancho Mission Viejo, CA, reported The Capistrano Dispatch. Town officials temporarily activated a Verizon cell tower to facilitate 4G communication during the pandemic; however, residents were assured last year that the tower would be relocated.
According to Mike Balsamo, Vice President of Government Relations for the Ranch, officials will “dismantle the tower when the time is appropriate.” Balsamo added that the Ranch would honor their commitment to residents who voiced frustrations over the proximity of the tower to homes and schools, which raised health concerns.
In 2019, residents cited studies showing the potential for health risks associated with living near a cell tower, including developing cancer from radiofrequency signals, reported the Dispatch. Other residents are concerned with the impact on their view and a decrease in property values.
The decision to turn on the tower is a betrayal, according to some residents. “Given that Rancho Mission Viejo made a commitment to not turn the tower on at all in response to overwhelming community concern, they have now broken trust with our community,” resident Bob Viscount said.
Balsamo noted that officials are working with Verizon to choose a more remote location for the tower, but it’s still a work in progress. Regarding the temporary tower that’s enhancing communication, Ranch officials want to ensure they offer residents access to “a proper level of broadband” to stay in touch with family and friends, work from home, and attend online classes during the pandemic.