Though a decision that would allow the construction of a cell phone tower in Hamburg has been challenged by area residents, no formal appeals have been filed in the matter.
The Hamburg Planning Commission approved an application by AT&T to construct a new phone tower on Sept. 12 following a public hearing in Hamburg City Hall with a number of members of the public in attendance.
AT&T representative Gregg Staggs spoke on behalf of AT&T and its application to construct a 250-foot wireless communications tower at 513 Hickory St. Staggs said the tower would increase coverage for Hamburg and surrounding areas to the north and east as well and that the location of the tower was chosen by AT&T to eliminate the dead spots.
Members of the public who were present spoke both in favor and against the new tower.
Residents who live near the proposed area spoke in opposition for their fear that it could pose a danger to them and said they wanted it placed in another neighborhood.
Staggs said there would be no microwave used and the tower would utilize radiofrequency waves (RF). According to Staggs, the RF is transmitted high above ground level and the energy is relatively low. Stagg also said that he was not aware of any studies that linked cell towers to cancer and that the towers would be regulated by the Federal Communications Commission.
The application was approved by a three to one vote with commission members Tim Leonard, Audrey Works and Jacob Dorman voting to approve it and commissioner Maggie Ware voting to deny the request.
The issue has continued to be a matter of discussion in the community, however, and Hamburg Mayor Dane Weindorf said last week that he expected the approval to be appealed “before the week is out” and he expected the issue to be an agenda item on next month’s city council meeting.
The Federal Communications Commission released a statement on Monday confirming that cell phone towers are regulated and that they are not a danger to the public. Neil Grace, the senior communications advisor for the FCC, said that RF emissions from antennas used for cellular and PCS transmissions result in exposure levels on the ground that are typically thousands of times below safety limits. Grace said that the safety limits were adopted by the FCC based on recommendations of expert organizations and endorsed by agencies of the Federal government responsible for health and safety.
“There is no reason to believe that such towers could constitute a potential health hazard to nearby residents,” he said.
Hamburg City Clerk Peggy Akers said that a petition or appeal would have to be filed in the Circuit clerk’s office, but as of Friday, nothing formal had been filed.