Letter: No due diligence on cell tower plan

Posted

To the editor:

Every town across Western Massachusetts and beyond will have to deal with the issue of cell towers — if you haven't already. Unfortunately, most decisions in America are fueled by who has the most money to bribe and bully their way into getting what they want, despite the outcry of everyday citizens.

AT&T is actively pursuing the installation of a cell tower on a farm that borders South Worthington. Sadly, according to AT&T information based on an old census report, the tower will only reach 1.8 miles and will mostly only service the residents of South Worthington — not Chesterfield. This industrial structure will impose upon the historic and rural character of the area and the rural byway acclaimed for its pristine, natural beauty and connection to the Underground Railroad as well as World War II refugees.

Why place an ugly structure above the tree line, where it's visible from most of the structures in the South Worthington National Historic District such as the Sevenars Academy that draws concertgoers from all over the region, the historic church established by Temple University founder Russell Conwell, and other homes in the village, when there are better-suited locations? AT&T did not do due diligence by searching for alternative locations and seeks a waiver from the Chesterfield zoning laws.

The argument that we need first responder access for emergencies is a valid one. First responders currently use land-based radios, which rely on "repeaters." This seems like a better investment than spending millions on this particular poorly researched cell-tower installation AT&T is trying to ram through without due diligence. Radios based on repeaters work over longer distances with lower frequencies and much lower costs to the taxpayers.

This issue is compounded by a long-standing noise problem from the sawmill on the proposed site. South Worthington residents have tolerated the disturbing drone of machinery, amplified by their otherwise quiet surroundings, out of compassion for the family, who have struggled for many years to hold onto their farm and depend on the sawmill as their source of revenue. Sadly, if the AT&T cell tower is approved, trees will be cut down near the sawmill to make room for the tower and the noise will increase, forcing the village to consider pursuing action — something we would do with tremendous reticence — but the facility already exceeds the decibel level accepted by the Department of Environmental Protection and even the Chesterfield zoning law, article 6.3.4.12.4.

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To make matters worse, two reputable realtors have informed local residents that the value of our homes will drop by 20 to 30 percent while AT&T, the owners of the farm and possibly even Chesterfield will monetarily benefit from its installation.

Julie Lyonn Lieberman,

South Worthington

Kathy Ford,

South Worthington and Chesterfield

The letter was also signed by Vati Sreiberg, Peggy Klineman, Madeleine Cahill, Thibaud d'Oultremont, Evelyn Voorhees and Dean Kent, all of South Worthington, and Judith Lyons, of Chesterfield.


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