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Research Indicates that Trees are Harmed by Radio Frequency (RF) Radiation: Tell MoCo Leaders to Protect Trees in Our Neighborhoods!

RF Radiation Likely Harms Trees — Take Action to Protect Trees Now!

The dense network of small-cell towers on poles in front of our homes that proposed County ZTA 19-07 promotes will require pruning and removal of untold number of trees. (Professional arborists' rule of thumb is that if more than 25% of a tree canopy is to be pruned at any one time, the whole tree should be cut down. Even worse, research indicates that the trees left behind that are close to antennas would also be harmed from constant exposure to radio-frequency radiation.

Consider the independent research below related to the impacts on trees:

 

Take Action to Protect Trees Now!

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert, Legislation

Urgent Action: Cell Towers Coming to #MoCo Homes if ZTA 19-07 passes. Please share widely

Tech Wise MoCo MD news banner

Dear Mo Co Friends and Neighbors,

This is it! The Mo Co Council is set to hold a work session on ZTA 19-07 that, if passed:

  • Allows short “small” cell towers—also called wireless transmission facilities—to be placed as close as 30 feet—or less—from our homes.
  • Our street lights can be replaced with these cell towers.
  • Our utility poles can be replaced with these cell towers.
  • No required notice or public hearing so long as they are 30 feet from homes!

Opposed to the removal of our right to participate in the decision making process?

We need you to take action. Join us! Sign our petition to County leaders opposing the ZTA.

History of the bill

In January of this year Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer re-introduced Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-07 that will allow small cell towers—also called wireless transmission facilities—to be placed as close as 30 feet—or less—from our homes. The PHED (Planning, Housing and Economic Development) Committee made additional changes that allowed existing street lights and utility poles to be replaced by stronger, wider poles to hold the cell antennas and heavy equipment. This bill has been rejected 5 times over the last 5 years but Councilmember Riemer keeps bringing it back.

Read MC4T’s SUMMARY OF What’s in ZTA 19-07: Montgomery County Council Poised to Vote on Radical ZTA 19-07 – IMPOSES CELL TOWERS NEAR HOMES – WITH NO MINIMUM SETBACKS!

We strongly oppose this bill and hope you will also.

Below are top issues raised around the World, the U.S. and by your Montgomery County neighbors about wireless installations—especially 5G—placed so close to homes:

  • Loss of local control over our historic rights of way in our own communities.
  • Eliminates resident voice in plans for cell towers; no resident notification and no public hearing required about cell towers in residential areas if placed 30 feet or more from homes.
  • Where 5G coverage is desired, it may be supplied from 5G signal transmitted from 3,000 feet up to 3 miles or more from antennas to homes.
  • 5G coverage already exists in many parts of the County. Check the coverage map for T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon.
  • 5G is NOT faster.
  • 5G has major cyber security problems by providing millions of entry points for hackers into key utilities and infrastructure.
  • 5G is designed to support 3 million wireless devices per square mile, digitizing our entire lives and monitoring behavior 24/7 with massive invasions of privacy–– a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
  • The NSA reports, “Focusing predominantly on 5G technology, the implications of privacy and security are contrasted across the competing requirements of high- speed, low-latency connectivity of billions of devices…the Internet is using much data about many people in many ways, and this raises privacy concerns.”
  • Concerns about compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA).
  • “Small” cell antennas in front of houses reduce property values, according to the Montgomery County Property Tax Appeals Board.
  • The Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board for Montgomery County lowered a Rockville home’s assessment: “Comparables warrant a reduction in value. Probability of neighboring cell tower also affects value negatively.”
  • MoCo has demonstrated a total lack of transparency and accountability with these local cell towers so far; this will just get worse as the number of small cell antennas vastly expands.
  • Bias towards industry—and its 5G propaganda—is short-circuiting elected officials’ duty to prioritize public interests.
  • The insurance industry will not insure cell towers, antennas, poles, wires, and devices due to the health risks and damages from long term exposure.
  • 255 leading scientists and experts in Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) from 45 nations have signed an Appeal to the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) asking for greater health protection on EMF exposure as of January 14, 2021.
  • As of June 2021, 301,023 signatories from 214 nations and territories have signed an Appeal to the UN, WHO, Council of Europe, and governments of all nations to halt the deployment of 5G wireless networks, including 5G from space satellites.

Montgomery County residents have continuously and strongly opposed the previous as well as the current proposed ZTA. Here are video-recordings from the two most recent public hearings:

Watch these informative presentations on the issues surrounding the ZTA:

Join our Petition to STOP the Cell Tower ZTA 19-07. It just takes a minute!

You may also contact the Mo Co Councilmembers directly by phone or individual emails.

However you contact the Council, please make sure you do it TODAY!

Contact us to be added to our e-News & Action Alerts. We will post many updates, including on upcoming public hearings, in these alerts.

 

For those who have asked how to help, please contact us if you are interested in receiving flyers and yard signs for your neighborhood. We also have PDF flyers and handouts available to download.

Share this email with with your Mo Co friends and neighbors.

Thank you,

Team Tech Wise Mo Co MD

Tech Wise Montgomery County Maryland logo

TechWiseMoCoMD.org

Montgomery County Coalition to Protect Neighborhoods

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert, Legislation

Urgent Action: Cell Towers Coming to #MoCo Homes if ZTA 19-07 passes. Please share widely

Tech Wise MoCo MD news banner

Dear Mo Co Friends and Neighbors,

This is it! The Mo Co Council is set to hold a work session on ZTA 19-07 that

  • Allows short “small” cell towers—also called wireless transmission facilities—to be placed as close as 30 feet—or less—from our homes.
  • Our street lights can be replaced with these cell towers.
  • Our utility poles can be replaced with these cell towers.
  • No required notice or public hearing so long as they are 30 feet from homes!

Opposed to the removal of our right to participate in the decision making process?

We need you to take action. Join us! Sign our petition to County leaders opposing the ZTA.

History of the bill

In January of this year Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer re-introduced Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-07 that will allow small cell towers—also called wireless transmission facilities—to be placed as close as 30 feet—or less—from our homes. The PHED (Planning, Housing and Economic Development) Committee made additional changes that allowed existing street lights and utility poles to be replaced by stronger, wider poles to hold the cell antennas and heavy equipment. This bill has been rejected 5 times over the last 5 years but Councilmember Riemer keeps bringing it back.

We strongly oppose this bill and hope you will also.

Montgomery County residents have continuously and strongly opposed the previous as well as the current proposed ZTA. Here are video-recordings from the two most recent public hearings:

Watch these informative presentations on the issues surrounding the ZTA:

Join our Petition to STOP the Cell Tower ZTA 19-07. It just takes a minute!

You may also contact the Mo Co Council members directly by phone or individual emails.

Use your address to find your district here.

However you contact the Council, please make sure you do it TODAY!

Contact us to be added to our e-News & Action Alerts. We will post many updates, including on upcoming public hearings, in these alerts.

For those who have asked how to help, please contact us if you are interested in receiving flyers and yard signs for your neighborhood. We also have PDF flyers and handouts available to download.

Share this email with with your Mo Co friends and neighbors.

Thank you,

Team Tech Wise Mo Co MD

Tech Wise Montgomery County Maryland logo

TechWiseMoCoMD.org

Montgomery County Coalition to Protect Neighborhoods

 

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert

URGENT-OPPOSE CELL ANTENNAS IN FRONT OF OUR HOMES – Info, Flyers & Sample Letters (Updated 3/30/21)

Montgomery County Council will vote soon on ZTA 19-07. Without a public hearing or your permission, telecom carriers could install a 4G/5G wireless cell tower 30 feet from your home. With a special permit, cell towers would be allowed far closer.

Added March 30, 2021. Email County Council TODAY with our Online Action Tool:
actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-zta-19-07

Councilmember Hans Reimer (D/At-Large) issued a press release setting February 10, 2021 as the date he intended to revisit action (again) on Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-07 that had been "suspended" almost exactly one year prior. The Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee that he chairs voted on March 10th 2021 to send the ZTA on to the full Council, which the Committee had drastically revised. It’s urgent to voice your concerns to the Council ASAP as they will likely vote on it very soon.

Lining our neighborhoods with small cell towers would increase climate change, reduce property values, beam radio-frequency microwave (RF/MW) radiation 24/7 into our homes -– just to name a few issues. (See details below!) A map exists of the intended plan for densification (cancel sign-in to gain access).

Even worse, in the past year, informed residents have exposed just how inept the County’s current oversight of existing wireless facilities is –– especially the antennas allowed to accumulate on top of affordable multi-family apartments without any inspections or measurements. No one, it turns out, knows for sure that the families who live directly under them are not being exposed to illegal levels of RF radiation! Please urge Mr. Riemer, the rest of the Council, and the County Executive to act immediately to end this blatant environmental injustice –– instead of rushing to inflict similar safety and health hazards on every resident in the County.

Mr. Riemer is a big fan of 5G. He apparently buys all of the telecom industry’s pro-5G advertising. However, what industry never mentions in their advertising are the many downsides to implementing 5G, including:

  • 5G would be a huge new energy hog -- intensifying our climate crisis. Energy experts estimate that wireless internet communication technologies could be responsible for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, undermining our efforts to combat climate change. Many trees also would likely have to be cut down for 5G towers –– a further climate cost.
  • 5G has major cyber security problems by providing millions of entry points for hackers into key utilities and infrastructure.
  • 5G is designed to support 3 million wireless devices per square mile, digitizing our entire lives and monitoring behavior 24/7 with massive invasions of privacy–– a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
  • The NSA reports, “Focusing predominantly on 5G technology, the implications of privacy and security are contrasted across the competing requirements of high- speed, low-latency connectivity of billions of devices...the Internet is using much data about many people in many ways, and this raises privacy concerns.”
  • ZTA 19–07’s sponsors falsely suggest the pandemic has shown we need 5G, including to help wipe out the digital divide. What the pandemic has revealed is how many residents and businesses still need affordable access to safe, reliable, secure, high-speed Internet service. Improving wired connections –– that were paid for, but never delivered –– will meet that goal better than expanding wireless technology. We don’t need 5G in our neighborhoods. For equity, we need to make sure that wiring all the way to their premises for high-speed Internet is available for all residences –– including individual apartments –– and that the service is affordable for all, including businesses.
  • Montgomery County passed Bill 44-20 saying that racial equity and social justice issues must be considered in all county ordinances. However, zoning legislation will not be subject to the bill until September 2021 because of a transition clause. ZTA 19-07, if passed before then, will evade such scrutiny. Such scrutiny is essential, because the County’s process for cell-tower oversight is broken –– including its failure to monitor radiation levels inside affordable, multi-family housing and other buildings it lets be used like cell towers, even when the rooftop antennas exceed FCC limits.
  • “Small” cell antennas in front of houses reduce property values, according to the Montgomery County Property Tax Appeals Board.
  • The Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board for Montgomery County lowered a Rockville home’s assessment: “Comparables warrant a reduction in value. Probability of neighboring cell tower also affects value negatively.”
  • The Mayor of Takoma Park and most of Takoma Park’s City Council are part of an amicus brief supporting this same promising, landmark court case against the FCC. The case seems likely to push the FCC to thoroughly review decades of science indicating its 25–year–old exposure guidelines for wireless radiation are not applicable to modern technology, and to update them accordingly. Oral arguments were just heard in late January.
  • In 2018, Councilmember Riemer, in supporting a previous court challenge led by Montgomery County, noted that he and others had asked the FCC “to make every effort to consider all available research and update their RF emissions guidelines accordingly. They have declined to that...so we are taking them to court to ensure that they fulfill their responsibility to keep our residents safe.” ZTA 19–07 undermines the promising new effort above –– involving Takoma Park officials –– to finally achieve the County’s very own goal.
  • Evidence from hundreds of studies, including the definitive NIH National Toxicology Program Study, show that wireless radiation, from 2G, 3G and 4G –– all below 5G, cause biological and environmental effects. There is “clear evidence” of cancer from cell phone level radiation exposure. 4G/5G densification will add significantly to current levels of radiation exposure.
  • Symptoms are being experienced by wireless deployments in other areas: firefighters suffered neurological damage, cancer cluster at an elementary school with tower , and injuries in Switzerland.
  • 252 leading scientists and experts in Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) from 43 nations have signed an Appeal to the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) asking for greater health protection on EMF exposure as of October 2019.
  • The insurance industry will not insure cell towers, antennas, poles, wires, and devices due to the health risks and damages from long term exposure.
  • As of March 2020, 203,659 signatories from 203 nations and territories have signed an Appeal to the UN, WHO, Council of Europe, and governments of all nations to halt the deployment of 5G wireless networks, including 5G from space satellites.

Below is a sample letter you can personalize and send to your District member and all At-Large Montgomery County Council members (Glass, Albornoz, Jawando, and Riemer, the sponsor). Include your address on your District letter.

Note: Councilmember Riemer is the lead sponsor, while Gabe Albornoz, County Council Vice President, and Craig Rice, Councilmember for District 2, are co-sponsors. However, they are not on Mr. Riemer’s PHED committee, which is taking the lead on ZTA 19–07. The only other two members of that committee are Councilmember Jawando and Councilmember Friedson, so please be sure to contact them ASAP!

If you would like to help on this issue or get more information, please email our great group of informed citizens at info@mocosafeg.org

To: Montgomery County Council

Short:

I am writing to request that you vote against ZTA 19–07, which would allow densified 4G and 5G “small” cell microwave radiation antennas in residential areas of Montgomery County. I oppose deploying untested, ultra-high frequency microwave radiation in Montgomery County. Several lawsuits against the FCC for its unreasonable Orders and outdated exposure guidelines have been brought to court by Montgomery County and its affiliates. We ask you to table this amendment until all devices are proven safe for all Montgomery County citizens, our environment, and the core values of our society. In the meantime, rewrite wireless zoning for maximum protections for our communities until FCC standards are safer for people and the environment.

Likewise, require warnings be made mandatory for every Wireless Telecommunications Facility (WTF) installation, and in every commercial venue with WiFi, antennas, small cells, etc. The robust promotion of 5G for this ZTA is new, therefore another public hearing on ZTA 19–07 is urged by your constituency.

Sincerely,

<organizations and individuals names, address>

Stronger:

The undersigned organizations and individuals request that you publicly oppose and vote against ZTA 19–07, which would allow deployment of intensified 4G and new 5G “small cell” microwave radiation antennas in residential areas of Montgomery County. We support a wired-based, fiber to the premises solution as the more secure, cheaper, faster technical solution without the property devaluation, insurance liability, and health risks.

The proposed 4G/5G antennas and their networks are likely to have long standing effects in many areas: climate, the ecosystem in general, privacy invasion, cyber security, reduced property values, and human health –– especially in children. The insurance industry has calculated the medical risks are too high to cover, so the proposed, and existing, wireless infrastructure of towers, antennas, poles, and supporting equipment in Montgomery would have no insurance coverage for damages from long-term exposures.

The 4G microwave radiation infrastructure and devices have more than 2,000 scientific and medical studies linking exposures to biological effects for people, wildlife, and plants. This radiation appears to be especially riskier to children and other medically vulnerable people. Other nations and cities are rejecting 5G and small antennas due to these biological effects. Montgomery County needs to rewrite wireless zoning for maximum protections of our communities and establish “safe havens” that accommodate its medically vulnerable population.

The new 5G technology includes ultra-high frequency millimeter microwave radiation, which has higher energy per square meter and greater capacity for risk to people and the environment than 4G. No safety studies have established a level at which this frequency is safe, and 5G service will include 4G, which we already know is dangerous. Warning signs, viewable to the public, Warning signs that are viewable to the public need to be mandatory for every WTF installation, and in every commercial venue with WiFi, antennas, small cells, etc.

Furthermore, Montgomery County was party to a lawsuit against the FCC for their failure to thoroughly review and update their exposure guidelines. Legal challenges continue against the FCC’s guidelines –– most notably, EHT et al vs FCC, for which many Takoma Park elected officials signed on to the Amicus Brief. Additionally, the U.S. District Court of Appeals found in United Keetoowah Band vs FCC (August 9, 2019) that the FCC was “arbitrary and capricious” in exempting 5G infrastructure from health, environmental, and historical review. As a result, the FCC is under judicial order not to proceed with enforcement of their requirement that local jurisdictions pass legislation such as ZTA 19–07.

Alternatives exist with wired networks such as fiber optic, known as “SafeG”. Fiber optic is already in place in many areas. It has no health risks, and the service is documented in locally-owned networks to be much faster, cheaper, more energy efficient, while providing more reliable data integrity and protecting privacy. Wired internet also remains subject to local regulatory control.

Protection of our safety, health, and environment is the primary purpose of our government and of your representation of us, the electorate. We ask you to table this amendment until all medical, scientific, and legal issues are resolved, and the proposed technology, infrastructure, and devices are proven safe for all Montgomery County citizens, our environment, and the core values of our society. The heavy promotion of 5G for this ZTA is new. Therefore, another public hearing on ZTA 19–07 is urged by your constituency.

Sincerely,

<organizations and individuals names, address>

Use your address to find your district at

https://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/mccouncildistrict/

Marc Elrich, County Executive ocemail@montgomerycountymd.gov

At-Large: Hans Riemer, Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7964

At-Large: Will Jawando, Councilmember.Jawando@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7811

District 1: Andrew Friedson, Councilmember.Friedson@montgomerycountymd.gov 240- 777-7828 (Bethesda, Potomac, and Poolesville)

District 2: Craig Rice, Councilmember.Rice@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777-7955 (Clarksburg, Damascus, and Germantown)

District 3: Sidney Katz, Councilmember.Katz@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7906 (Gaithersburg and Rockville)

District 4: Nancy Navarro, Councilmember.Navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov 240- 777-7968 (Colesville, Laytonsville, Olney, and Wheaton)

District 5: Tom Hucker, Councilmember.Hucker@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7960 (Burtonsville, Silver Spring, and Takoma Park)

At-Large: Evan Glass, Councilmember.Glass@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7966

At-Large: Gabe Albornoz, Councilmember.Albornoz@montgomerycountymd.gov 240- 777-7959

Flyers (downloadable PDFs to print & share)

Help spread the word. Download the Oppose ZTA 19-07 flyer PDF now.

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert

Tell Montgomery County Council: First Fix Poor Oversight, Especially For Affordable Housing Sites – Stop ZTA 19-07 Now!

Read the letter concerned residents sent to the Montgomery County Tower Committee, exposing a pattern of serious errors in 25 cell tower applications that the Committee previously recommended. Those errors indicate a pattern of rubber-stamping applications with little accountability to those who live or work under or near wireless facilities.

 

Why-Did-25-Wireless-Applications-with-Errors-Pass-MoCo-Tower-Committee-Review-Red3.pdf

See also: MoCo’s Broken Process for Review and Oversight of Cell Towers

Tell MoCo Council: Stop ZTA 19-07. Email County Council TODAY through our Online Email/Petition: actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-zta-19-07

 

 

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert

OLD Information**ZTA 19-07 is now in “Suspended Animation” while County pursues two suits against FCC

An Update from Rick Meyer for Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers

Hoping this email finds you safe.

To borrow a line from John Oliver “We are still doing this!”

And, we just posted a long overdue update on the status of ZTA 19-07 and County’s pending litigation against the FCC on the home page.

We urge you to click on the link above and read the entire update – as lots has been happening, but summarized very quickly:
  • ZTA 19-07 was “suspended” by PHED Chair Hans Riemer on February 1, 2020 when he  summarily pulled  a Committee vote on the bill.
  • Neither Councilmembers Andrew Friedson, nor Will Jawando would agree to vote the bill out of PHED Committee, while Montgomery County is engaged in two  lawsuits against the FCC.
      • We are greatly appreciative of Mr. Friedson’s and Mr. Jawando’s steadfast support for residents and their amply justified hesitancy regarding this bad bill.
      •  Both suits have been consolidated in the 9th Circuit.
  • However,  ZTA 19-07 is NOT dead!!
    • Mr. Riemer is widely expected to reintroduce his bill (as co-sponsored by Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz and Craig Rice) as early as June 2020.
  • Oral arguments for the two lawsuits were held in 9th Circuit on February 10, 2020. The two suits include:
    •  challenge to the FCC’s recent “3rd Order” that expedited 5G roll out while reducing local government control over public rights-of-way; and,
    •  a second, separate suit seeking to compel FCC to conclude a long running “Notice of Inquiry” and promulgate updated RF emissions standards.
  • In the interim, the FCC peremptorily issued Order 19-226 that abruptly ended the very Notice of Inquiry that Montgomery County was seeking to compel – WITHOUT updating RF standards.
    • In effect, the FCC used procedural “slight of hand” to cut the legs out from under County’s lawsuit.
  • On January 28, 2020 the Council met in Executive Session with legal counsel for the RF Emissions suit. But that meeting was NOT open to the public and we have NOT been briefed on the conclusions of the discussions…
    • Unfortunately, the County Council subsequently (and inexplicably)  failed to appeal Order 19-226.
    • Perhaps slamming door on back-up strategy to keep the County’s RF litigation alive – if the 9th Circuit renders adverse opinion or dismisses their suit for lack of standing.
    • (The good news is that independently the Environmental Health Trust appealed Order 19-226!  But, the EHT case surely would have been strengthened, if the County had – at the very least – filed an amicus curiae brief. It did NOT.)
  • Decisions on the pending litigation are expected from 9th Circuit within next several months.

Please be sure to email both  Mr. Friedson and Mr. Jawando – and thank them for prioritizing the interests of residents and neighborhoods above the arm-twisting by lobbyists from Big Wireless.
MC4T will continue to closely monitor these developments. Stay tuned for further updates!

(Please be sure to forward this post to your friends and neighbors and encourage them to sign up for future bulletins from MC4T. Thank you so much for your continued support.)

Best regards,

Rick Meyer
for

Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers
MC4T.ORG

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert

Opinion: Montgomery Council Must Act Now to Protect Residents From 5G Radiation (Maryland Matters)

Maryland Matters – March 6, 2020

“The next generation in wireless telecommunications is just around the corner, the experts tell us, and the telecom companies that will sell us this technology promise that 5G wireless will do amazing things.

But here’s the most amazing thing of all: The Federal Communications Commission is doing everything in its power to ensure the rapid deployment of 5G transmitters in every community across the United States — but has simply refused to update their outdated, 24-year-old cell tower radiation limits, though modern evidence raises significant concerns about them. And Montgomery County recently decided not to intervene in an appeal filed by the Environmental Health Trust before the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, in effect allowing this roll-out to proceed without demanding an honest review by the FCC of the evidence on human health.”

Read the full letter at Maryland Matters


 

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert

Sample Letter for Opposing 3rd Cell Tower Near Blair High School – There are Other Possible Sites for this Public Safety Radio Equipment

Sample Letter You Can Personalize

Send Comments to Planning Board by Noon Wednesday March 4

Send to: OCEMail@montgomerycountymd.gov, Councilmember.Katz@montgomerycountymd.gov, County.Council@montgomerycountymd.gov, MCPChair@mncppc-mc.org. Gwen.Wright@montgomeryplanning.org, Joshua.Penn@montgomeryplanning.org

Re: Mandatory Referral 2020013 PSSM at FS 16

Dear County Executive Elrich, Members of the County Council and Planning Board Commissioners:

I’m writing to request that the application for the 199’ Macro Tower adjacent to Blair High School be withdrawn.  This would be a second tower within 50 feet of the Blair campus and less than 300 feet from homes and a child care. This new tower would be on the same property as an existing tower that will remain and would be a third tower that is within 200 feet of the campus. The existing two towers that will remain have a combined 70 antennas within 200 feet of the campus. More antennas will likely be added by right to those two towers in the coming years.

The proposed third tower with at a height of 199’ can have dozens of commercial wireless antennas and other equipment added after the County constructs the tower.  The construction of the tower by the County provides a loophole and allows the wireless companies to avoid the special exception/conditional use public hearing process with an objective hearing examiner, a review process that is required for new macro telecommunications towers in Montgomery County. Even though the tower would not meet the required setback and other standards, the antennas could be added by right without notice or public hearing through the permit process once the County’s tower is constructed.

There is no other school in Montgomery County with two cell towers in such close proximity.  A third and oversized tower at this location would be an excessive over-concentration of wireless facilities in a small area where thousands of young people, including child care and elementary school students are gathered.  This is unjustified and not equitable.

As you may know, wireless carriers previously applied to locate a 170’ tower at the same location but since the tower was not in compliance with the Zoning Ordinance and was too large for the site, the application was withdrawn. If this larger proposed tower at the same location was submitted as a special exception/conditional use it would likely be denied because it doesn’t comply with the Code.

There are numerous alternatives for the County to co-locate the seven public safety radio antennas on support structures and towers that already exist in both the immediate and adjacent areas.  I urge you to co-locate the County’s antennas on one of those structures.

Thank you for your attention to this very important matter that would affect our students for many years to come.  I hope you will withdraw the application and continue to support the primary mission of MCPS to provide a safe and supportive environment for the academic success of every student.

Sincerely,

 


See also: Facts about the Blair High School Cell Tower

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert

Facts about the Blair High School Cell Tower

A new 199 foot cell tower is about to be placed right near Blair High school.

Reposted with permission from Small Cells in Montgomery County

The 12 MCPS schools with cell towers are almost all lower income schools and every high school in the Downcounty Consortium (which has higher farms, minority and esol population than the rest of the County) has a tower. There are several times where cell towers were proposed and not put up because of strong opposition by parents. For example, Whitman High School, Wootton High School and Walter Johnson High School. Parents were vocal in complete opposition and the towers were halted. (Watch video above if you want to know why.)

Read the Bethesda Beat article Parents Decry Wootton Cell Tower Proposal, Principal Decides Not to Move Forward.

This is why the MCPS schools with cell towers are more often schools with higher minorities and students receiving free lunch. This is an environmental justice issue.

What Can You Do?

  1. Immediately get the word out to other parents and the students. They need to know.
  2. Hold community meetings to discuss the issue. Have the Blair PTA discuss the issue and develop an opinion. What does the student council at Blair think?
  3. Contact your elected officials and request an immediate halt to this tower.* (Do not take no for an answer. ) See the Sample Letter to Personalize.
  4. Attend the Hearing: Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission
    Thursday March 5, 10am. You have to sign up to testify online. It says that online spots fill up quickly and you can start signing up 10 days in advance. "If you need assistance to complete this form,

    please contact staff in the Chair’s Office via email at MCP-Chair@mncppc-mc.org or call 301-495-4605."
  5. Write and post letters publicly on parent and community list serves.

Even if they say it is a "done deal" parents have halted cell towers near their children. It can be done.

More info.

The proposed 199 foot County Tower near Blair High School is proposed to be located right next to one of the existing ones near Blair. Existing towers are about 10 feet from the baseball field and the other is less than 300 feet from the track and field.

Something that is different about this new tower vs others that have tried to locate at MCPS, is that it will be a County owned tower as part of their public safety radio system. So it goes through a different process called "Mandatory Referral" hearing at the Planning Board. Mandatory Referral is a required review by the Planning Board of government projects of a certain size. The Mandatory Referral process basically means whatever the Planning Board says, the County can ignore if they want to.

After it's constructed, wireless companies could locate on the new pole without going through the special exception hearing process with a hearing examiner that is required when commercial wireless companies want to build new towers in Montgomery County. Once any tower is built, companies can add antennas to it later through what is called a modification which does not involve any input from the public or a hearing. It's mostly just a permit process.

So, by the County constructing this tower, they are creating a loophole for the wireless companies. In fact wireless companies applied to locate a monopole tower in the very spot the County is proposing theirs. But after they applied it was withdrawn because it was found it didn't comply with zoning. It was too big for the property and also less than 300 feet from homes. Now this is the same property but because it's the County building it, they get to bypass the regulations. So far the County has not committed in writing to limiting the antennas on the tower to only public safety antennas.

See the 2017 Blair High School Tower Committee Application here.
CLEARLY the companies want to put their antennas in the area.

Meanwhile in California, parents are working hard to remove cell antennas near their schools. Please se below a banner created by parents and watch their news coverage here.

Watch the cell tower meeting at Wootton here.

* Send email to all Councilmembers -- >County.Council@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov

-- or contact one by one:

Gabe Albornoz 240-777-7959
Councilmember.Albornoz@montgomerycountymd.gov
View Staff List for Gabe Albornoz

Andrew Friedson 240-777-7828
Councilmember.Friedson@montgomerycountymd.gov
View Staff List for Andrew Friedson

Evan Glass 240-777-7966
Councilmember.Glass@montgomerycountymd.gov
View Staff List for Evan Glass

Tom Hucker 240-777-7960
Councilmember.Hucker@montgomerycountymd.gov
View Staff List for Tom Hucker

Will Jawando 240-777-7811
Councilmember.Jawando@montgomerycountymd.gov
View Staff List for Will Jawando

Sidney Katz 240-777-7906
Councilmember.Katz@montgomerycountymd.gov
View Staff List for Sidney Katz

Nancy Navarro 240-777-7968
Councilmember.Navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov
View Staff List for Nancy Navarro

Craig Rice 240-777-7955
Councilmember.Rice@montgomerycountymd.gov
View Staff List for Craig Rice

Hans Riemer 240-777-7964
Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov
View Staff List for Hans Riemer

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Contact County Executive Marc Elrich: 240-777-0311

Thanks to Small Cells in Montgomery County for this blog repost.

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert

Community Vision for Takoma ZTA19-07 Testimony

YOUR CHOICE IS CLEAR:

Champion Public Interests – Or Let the Telecom Industry Rule Our Streets

Nov. 19, 2019 Statement on behalf of Community Vision for Takoma*

by Colleen Cordes

Our Health and Safety Is Not Negotiable — Letting cell towers be installed as close as 30 feet from homes is to gamble with our health and the health of our children and grandchildren. Everyone on the Council is smart enough to know that we live in a world where good people work for big corporations – but where the first priority of the corporations they work for is profits, not people. So we’re not surprised that the good people of the telecom industry have spent decades trying to prevent and suppress important emerging science about the potentially serious health risks of radio-frequency radiation on our health and wellbeing. We are not surprised that they are trying to seduce the County into surrendering our public rights of way without a peep, with promises of amazing high-tech wonders to come. What we are surprised by, Councilmembers Hans Riemer, Gabe Albornoz, and Craig Rice, is that so far you seem to be so naïvely falling for this hype.

Everyone knows the FCC is a Captured Agency – But What About the Montgomery County Council? – The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University actually published a long exposé in 2015: Captured Agency: How the Federal Communications Commission is Dominated by the Industries It Presumably Regulates. To each member of our own County Council, know that we are paying attention and we will remember when the next election rolls around: Did you vote to let the Council be captured by the telecom industry as well? This is not a threat – it’s a statement of reality.

What is the Crowd Here Tonight So Concerned About?

  • Serious Potential Public-Health Risk: Consider, for example, the science-based commentary published by Scientific American last month–We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe . Written by Joel M. Moscowitz, Ph.D., who directs the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California at Berkeley, it links to a recent call from hundreds of scientists and doctors for a 5G moratorium.
  • Corporate Welfare, Compliments of Taxpayers:  Corporations prefer to place cell towers in public rights-of-way since they can use our land at cost rather than negotiate a rate with a private property owner: It’s a much more profitable business model.
  • A Host of Other Social and Ecological Concerns About 5G Yet to be Subject to Public Debate:  The sponsors of ZTA 19-07 repeat industry’s hype about the positive potential of 5G. What about its negative potential? In addition to health concerns, critical predictions include:
    • A new world of 24/7 corporate and government surveillance and control.
    • Further diversion from face-to-face relationships with people and nature.
    • Severe pruning and reduced planting sites for shade trees, at an ecological moment in time when trees are more important than ever.
    • Increases in unemployment thanks to a huge push for autonomous trucks and cars and services of all kinds.
    • Ever more biased algorithms in AI-enabled tracking devices in all aspects of our daily lives contributing to new racial inequities.
    • And a big increase in energy use to power the multitude of new connected devices.

Remember the wonders of lead, asbestos, tobacco, CFCs, and fossil fuels? Let’s critically evaluate this new technology before we dive in — not be sorry later. Let’s get savvy. Drop the gee-whiz naivete about the next technological revolution. It’s clearly premature to line our residential streets with cell towers to speed the deployment of 5G. We need wisdom-based, not profit-based technology policies, generated only after robust public participation in decisions about the design and use of powerful technologies. The public should have access, for our deliberations, to a strong base of thoughtful, carefully researched analyses that scrutinize the full range of potential social and ecological impacts — both good and bad. ZTA 19-07 fails to meet any of these tests of wisdom.

And Councilmember Riemer, please stop distributing that canned statement from the American Cancer Society – last subject to a medical review, by the way, five years ago. We know it’s one of industry’s favorite ” don’t worry” go-to articles. Have you investigated whether the Society has connections to corporations that are invested in the speedy rollout of 5G? Did you not know that the ACS, related to other issues, has been criticized for conflicts of interest (See: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/is-the-american-cancer-society-putting-money-ahead-of-mission/) and questionable partnerships with corporations (See: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/05/health/american-cancer-society-brawley-resigns.html)?

See also: The Miseducation of America | By Dr. Devra Davis | Mar 29, 2021 An expose on the major omissions of fact from the New York Times July 16, 2019 article on 5G by William J. Broad.

Councilmember Riemer, you’ve also directed us to pro-5G stories in The New York Times. Here’s news straight from the NYT about its new partnership with Verizon involving NYT getting early access to 5G networking and equipment – talk about an incredible PR opportunity for the telecom industry! (See: https://open.nytimes.com/exploring-the-future-of-5g-and-journalism-a53f4c4b8644 ) And here’s more news about increasing links between Verizon and NYT — this one from the Wall Street Journal, which describes “a deepening advertising partnership between the two companies.” (See: https://www.wsj.com/articles/verizon-sponsors-new-york-times-subscriptions-for-high-schools-11569492001 ) Other news media have their own financial conflicts. Have you noticed the full-page ads for 5G from Verizon and T-Mobile in The Washington Post lately? We’ve noticed – we hope you will put the dollar signs here together as well.

Racial Equity and Social Justice: An especially urgent issue – the danger that the siting of cell towers in our neighborhoods will target our most affordable neighborhoods first and unfairly often. This is a pressing issue of racial equity.  Consider the County’s record to date in allowing large installations of cell antennas at affordable housing sites that are home primarily to families of color. ZTA 19-07 would do absolutely nothing to change that, or to prevent communities of color from once again being asked to shoulder far more than their share of the risks to health and safety.

Community Vision for Takoma urges the County to commission an immediate full scale, on-site audit of what actual health exposures are right now at apartments at 7600 Maple Avenue. Those 189-units provide an affordable home to many individuals and families of color. They have a right to safe shelter and to be fully informed. If our County commitment to racial equity and affordable housing means anything, we urge you to make sure a comprehensive, on-site review of what’s happening there gets started this week. That would include a detailed study of actual current conditions, including what warning signs are posted and in what languages, if protective physical barriers are in place, who has access to the two roof levels and the penthouse, and a comprehensive study of radio frequency emissions on top of, inside, around the perimeter and the grounds.

We brought this urgent issue to the Tower Committee this month – after an application to replace some of the 33 antennas there predicted that areas of the roof would register 25 times the limits for the general public’s exposure to RF radiation allowed by the FCC’s way too lenient rules. The Chair of the Committee threatened to throw us out of the meeting. But we’re not leaving the room. All applications for wireless transmission facilities should be subject to a review for their impact on racial equity and social justice.

It’s your choice, and your constituents are paying attention: Will you champion public interests or let the telecom industry rule Montgomery County’s streets? Please, prioritize the social and ecological health of our County: Community Vision for Takoma opposes ZTA 19-07, and we refuse to consent to be part of this experiment.

 


* Community Vision for Takoma (CVT) is a volunteer group working for an inclusive, just, and compassionate community and an effective, responsive local government.  We strive to apply Takoma Park’s progressive legacy to the social and ecological challenges of the 21st century. This version has been slightly revised from our submitted written testimony.

Posted by techwisemocoadmin