Getting involved in Greenwich

State and local issues affecting southwestern Greenwich

Cell Towers / Torre de Señal Celular

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I’ve been watching the cell tower debates, protests and rants closely and have to say that now I come down on the side of changing the CT law that gives full power to the siting council, but not necessarily for the usual reasons.

I happen to live next door to the ATT tower that went up in Byram a few years ago, the one that had a giant flag on it when it was first erected.  The tower is so close that my toaster gets phone calls.  I’ll post some better pictures of it later. 

Personally, the sight of it doesn’t offend me.  I don’t really notice it except when there’s a hawk perched on it and he’s squawking.  I use ATT wireless and have great cell service at home, so good I’ll probably drop my land line.  The wider part of the tower came a couple of years after they built it and with it came 3G service, which is also excellent.  So as you can see, on a daily basis the tower doesn’t affect me, in fact it’s kind of nice to have.  I’m not going to bother discussing the potential health affects caused by the transmitter.  I’m pretty sure, living next to I-95, the pollution I breath will kill me first.

Where this tower does affect me, and why I think the rules need to change, is with the value of my house.  Being next to the cell tower will lower the value of my house when I go to sell it.  If there’s any doubt that cell towers detract from home value, just look at what the property owners that have them get: $3,000/month for what is basically at 10 x 10 piece of property, usually property that’s not otherwise being used.  If they were just renting a tool shed to someone they wouldn’t get $3,000/month – probably more like $500/month.  The tower property owners are being compensated for the ugly tower on their lawn.  I and the other adjacent neighbors all suffer the same, or nearly the same, eyesore and instead of being compensated, it’s costing us money.   The example of my tower is even more obnoxious, because the property it’s on is an undeveloped lot, that he could barely put a home on, so it was better for him to rent to ATT.  He doesn’t see the tower, I do, I lose, he wins. 

This is exactly the reason we have zoning laws, so my neighbor can’t open up a auto junkyard and cover his lawn with wrecked cars and a couple of cranes.   The siting law as it is now gives an unfair windfall to property owners who accept towers, at the expense of neighbors who can’t complain, or towns that can’t use their zoning laws to stop it. 

I think cell towers should be only erected with approval from local zoning boards.  Another idea, and yes it’s self-serving, would be to compensate neighbors within some number of feet to the tower.  Maybe 500 feet?  Then at least I’d be compensated for what I’ll lose in home value and, for those that care, what I lose every day because the tower is blocking my view.  The market could take care of this problem, if everyone affected had to be compensated, companies would try harder to put these towers out of people’s view.

Torre de Señal Celular

He estado mirando los debates, protestas y conversatorios sobre la torre de señal celular y debo decir que ahora tiendo a inclinarme por cambiar las leyes de CT que da completo poder al Consejo, pero no necesariamente por las razones usuales.

Vivo al lado de la torre celular de ATT que pusieron en Byram hace unos años, la que tenía una bandera gigante cuando fue primero puesta. La torre está tan cerca que mi tostador recibe llamadas. Publicaré mejores fotos después.

Personalmente, la vista no me ofende. No la noto mucho excepto cuando hay un cuervo sobre ella y está graznando. Uso el servicio inalámbrico de ATT y tengo un servicio muy bueno en casa, tan buena que probablemente desconecte el teléfono de casa. La parte más ancha de la torre vino unos años después de ser construida, y con ella vino el servicio 3G, el cual es también excelente. Como puede ver, en el día a día la torre no me afecta, en realidad es bueno tenerla. No voy a discutir los efectos de salud que tiene ese transmisor. Estoy seguro que, viviendo al lado de la I-95, la contaminación que respiro me matará primero.

Donde esta torre me afecta, y la razón por la que pienso que las reglas deben cambiar, es con el valor de mi casa. Vivir al lado de la torre de señal celular disminuirá el valor de mi casa cuando la quiera vender. Si hay alguna duda de que las señales de torre celular reducen el valor de las casas, sólo mire lo que reciben los dueños de propiedades que las tienen: $3,000 mensual por una propiedad que mide 10 x 10, usualmente una propiedad que no está siendo usada. Si sólo estuviesen alquilando un cobertizo de herramientas a alguien no recibirían $3,000 mensual-probablemente algo como $500 mensual. Los dueños de propiedades que tienen las torres en su grama están siendo compensados. Los demás vecinos y yo sufrimos lo mismo, o casi lo mismo, y en vez de ser compensados, nos está costando dinero. El ejemplo de mi torre es aún más detestable porque la propiedad en la que está es un solar baldío en el que apenas se puede poner una casa, por lo que era mejor alquilárselo a ATT. El dueño no ve la torre, yo sí, yo pierdo, él gana.

Por esta misma razón tenemos leyes de zonificación, para que mis vecinos no puedan abrir un depósito de chatarra de carros y cubrir su grama con carros dañados y algunas grúas. La ley actual, tal como es ahora, deja una brecha injusta para los dueños de mi propiedad que aceptan torres a expensas de los demás vecinos que no se pueden quejar, o pueblos que no pueden usar sus leyes de zonificación para pararlo.

Yo pienso que las torres de señal celular sólo deben ser puestas con aprobación de las juntas de zonificación local. Otra idea, y si me conviene, sería compensar a los vecinos que estén a cierto número de pies de la torre. Tal vez 500 pies? Entonces así sería compensado por lo que perderé en valor de la casa, y para aquellos quienes les importa, lo que pierdo porque la torre bloquea mi vista. El mercado puede encargarse de este problema, si todos los afectados tuvieran que ser compensados, las compañías tratarían de poner estar torres fuera de la vista de las personas.

Categories: General
John Bowman

Leave a Reply

9 Responses

  1. celular says:

    I think There should be more planning on where the tower goes!

  2. Jake Lynch says:

    T-Mobile wins right to build 120 foot cell tower within 90 feet of residence in Sammamish, WA. “I see no evidence that cell towers will impact property values,” says hearings examiner.
    Full story at http://www.sammamish-reporter.com

  3. John Bowman says:

    Very interesting link. Thanks.

  4. After 28 hours with no power in central Greenwich, I had to update my web site from my cell phone (Thanks Verizon.)

    The static IP from Cablevision no longer works in comment 1.

    Your Byram cell tower and 24 others in Town are detailed with maps and photos at http://earthimage.net/Greenwich_Cell_Phone_Towers.htm

  5. John Bowman says:

    Thanks for your comment Hannah. Good point about bad cell service vs. ugly tower, and that’s really the crux of all the debate. The point of my post is not that the cell tower is per se bad, in fact as I stated I kind of like it. Greater minds than mine, with more at stake than me, seemed to answer the question about whether the tower is a good or bad thing: the property owner gets $3,000/month for a 10′ x 10′ piece of property that he doesn’t have to maintain. That can only be because he thinks, and ATT acknowledges, the tower is a bad thing so he needs to be compensated. I think the adjacent neighbors should also be compensated since we suffer as much as the property owner.

    The other way this is handled is through zoning regulations. No one wants a movie theater next door to their residence, but every town and city knows they need supermarkets so they work out zones where it is appropriate to put them. That system has been working fine for years. It’s the same system that prevents your neighbor from building a 10-story apartment and office complex. Cell towers are exempt from that system, and that’s why it isn’t fair.

    As for my cell tower, I-95 is 50 feed away, and there’s plenty of State land next to it. Same is true for the proposed new tower on the other side of I-95. Trust me, but for CT’s law exempting cell towers from zoning regulations, the towers would be alongside I-95 on State property.

    And you don’t get wifi from cell towers, you get fairly crappy that barely supports my iPhone. Maybe if they did wifi the neighborhood so we could get rid of the ugly phone and cable TV wires, the poles would be more attractive.

  6. Hannah says:

    I”m not sure what one “does” with a property value, since I imagine most townies plan to live in their homes many years, but having one “lowered” because of an unaesthetic cell tower creates a dilemma: does the home owner endure the hardship of crappy cell reception (might that not lower property values?) or get great reception and have an unsightly tower nearby? I see great potential success for an industry that decorates cell towers so they don’t threaten property values. The bottom line here: I have not seen one post on where to put the new cell tower, just where not to put it. As the debate continues on and on, there goes the wi fied neighborhood.

  7. Alex says:

    Hey John,

    I so feel your pain. Check out this article in today’s local paper in the community I live in Washington State and where your article was referenced

    http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/east_king/iss-s/news/87372037.html

    BTW: I’m a long time CT resident and I know the area very well, it’s a shame how quick people sell out themselves and others for a buck.

    -Alex

  8. paul says:

    At least you have 3G coverage….

  9. Researchers caution against using your phone in areas with poor coverage since phones emit more radiation when searching for a signal. Children, which have smaller and thinner skulls, should limit cell phone use, and all users, children and adults, should not sleep with an active phone next to their bedside or under their pillow.

    See http://96.56.48.67/cellphone_head.jpg for what it looks like in your kid’s head when the tower is at a greater distance and he holds his max power cell phone to his head.