Opponents of a Verizon Wireless tower planned to sit atop the Southern Oregon University (SOU) Science Building recently, appealed to the Ashland Planning Commission to reverse staff approval of a conditional use permit, reported the Ashland Daily Tidings.
Appellants cited potential health concerns over electromagnetic radiation exposure, including tumors, brain and breast cancer, reproductive impairment and bone loss. They also complained that students, who will be in proximity of the tower, were not notified of the project.
In May, planners approved the application because it met requirements including minimum visual impact, being shielded by walls, and offering a co-location option. Commission Chairman Roger Pearce stated that a 1996 FCC rule bars local agencies from considering any health or environmental issues in making decisions about siting of cell towers.
Still, opponent Ivy Ross said she wanted the Planning Commission to hold off for 90 days so they could educate students and the public. “SOU hasn’t done any community education on this and Verizon pays them only $16,000 a year to rent the spot, then Verizon is free to rent it to other companies,” Ross said. “We’re not going to quit the fight. We’re putting up signage, researching, protesting, showing movies. We see this as a five or 10-year process. We’re challenging the ’96 law and the telecom industry.”
Chairman Dawkins predicts the matter will go in front of the Land Use Board of Appeals after it’s appealed to the City Council, which could significantly delay the project.
Resident TaraShea Ananda told the commission, “5G is an attack on our physiology and consciousness … It threatens our ability to dream, to meditate, and to feel our connection with each other.
Opponents have 10 days from when notice of a final decision is mailed to file an appeal to the council, reported the Daily Tidings.
June 29, 2018