To the editor:
Like so many others who have concerns about the cell tower permitting process, I called into the open comment portion of the recent Pittsfield City Council meeting.
While four people were able to comment, there were at least another 10 of us on the line, trying but unable to speak. When my number was called and I was told to unmute, I quickly tried. As soon as I unmuted, it said, "You are now muted by the host." Multiple speakers had the same experience.
It felt deliberate. It felt like we were being silenced, as we have been from the very beginning of this. We reached out to the mayor, the City Council, community development and the zoning boards as soon as we discovered it was a cell tower being constructed. We asked them to please stop this project until after the initial crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic passed so we could have discussions.
Now, even at the meeting nearly five months later, we go unheard. Our voices have fallen on deaf ears, and continue to do so. We have been ignored, disregarded and made to feel less-than.
The city is ignoring simple questions about when the tower will be turned on. It is wrong that Verizon continues work despite the permit being litigated and a pending injunction ruling in Berkshire Superior Court. It is especially wrong that the city has failed to intervene despite the united voices of our blindsided community. It is wrong for there to be a deceptive street address so far away from the actual construction site that no road existed to connect the two. On behalf of all of those who were muted last night, I am asking the mayor, the City Council, Community Development Board, the zoning board and the Community Preservation Committee to rescind the 877 South St. cell tower permit, stop the construction, ensure the tower is off and restart a fair and transparent permitting process. It is never to late to hear us and help us now.