Pretty soon, more cell towers than cornfields
Recently, Sprint PCS announced plans to erect 16 telecommunication (cellular) towers. Eight of these would be on pre-existing sites. Another eight would be on agriculturally zoned sites.
Sprint PCS said its goal is to provide seamless coverage for cellular phone users. This would require towers to be placed every five miles in Carroll County. The company also pointed out that this would not restrict other telecommunication companies from placing towers all over the county in order to provide their customers with seamless coverage.
Soon, cellular towers may be more a part of the landscape than cornfields and cattle.
My concern is that unless our public servants take a long look at this matter, Sprint PCS will be allowed to erect towers and head out of town before anyone can realize the impact.
Many issues surrounding the tower debate need to be investigated. Is Sprint PCS looking to minimize cost rather than impact for the county? Are there other types of technology which could be used with less impact? If so, are these viewed as too expensive by Sprint PCS?
The need for service exists, but are all of the sites appropriate? How much of Sprint PCS's decision to locate on agricultural land is driven by lower cost leases on farmland compared to industrial property? Is Sprint PCS's decision opportunistic at a time when farmers have been experiencing hard times? And, finally, are farmers being given all the information available about health risks due to radio frequency emissions and decreased property values for surrounding properties, or only those supplied by Sprint PCS?
When we decided to build in an agricultural zoned area, we researched potential uses for surrounding property. We did our homework and were reassured that the area where we chose to raise our family would be free of towers and thus the fear that surrounds the possibility of health risks which have been proven in the past. We looked across the landscape at a "field of dreams."
Unless everyone, including our leaders, get involved with this issue, Carroll countians could be looking at fields of broken dreams.