A Tree Grows in Milton
Actually three trees….and they are made of steel. Many of you may be aware of T-Mobile’s plans to locate three new cell towers in the city of Milton.
The locations and towers proposed are:
149′ Tower on 10 acres at 2880 Mountain Rd
154′ Tower on 26 acres at 14495 Hopewell Rd (Seven Gables Farm)
154′ Tower on 52 acres at 13340 New Providence Rd.
On January 13th there was an informational question and answer meeting held at Milton City Hall. There T-Mobile provided photos of the three locations with renderings of the towers in each photo. These renderings were made from balloon tests, to determine how visible each tower would be from various vantage points. Since that meeting there has been some uproar about how citizens of Milton can stop this from happening. Groups want city officials to deny T-Mobile and the property owners a permit to install the towers, pressuring them with future votes. They dispute T-Mobile’s business case that coverage is lacking or simply suggest that T-Mobile customers can just switch to a different carrier.
There are 2 main concerns that residents have with the cell towers, the first of which is that the towers will ruin the rural charm and pastoral views of our fledgling city. On a search of cell towers within a 4 mile radius of my community, a cell tower search site revealed that their are 26 tower locations. It surprised me that there are that many, I can think of 2 that I have seen. I guess they blend in or I just don’t pay attention to them. I know of one behind the Union restaurant on Providence Rd. that is made to look like a pine tree. It doesn’t look like a real tree, of course, but looks better than a silver metal pole.
The other concern some have are the unknown dangers of radiation from the antennas. A quick Google search will reveal websites that say there has not been enough research to be conclusive but we risk health effects ranging from reduced immune system competence and mood swings to brain tumors and leukemia. With over 4 billion cell phone users in the world and over 270 million cell phones in the US; dangers from an antenna a quarter of a mile away seem infinitesimal at best, especially when seemingly everyone in the world is running around with their phone pressed to the side of their heads. I don’t know of anyone planning to get rid of their cell phone, do you?
Don’t Tread on Me
The one issue that hasn’t seem to come up though is private property rights. The owners of the three sites have the right, as property owners, to: rent, sell, mortgage or develop their property - as long as it is within the constraints of zoning restrictions. Just like, thankfully, all Milton residents have the right to voice their concerns at the council meetings. We have a process and by-and-large it seems to work. My concern is that if the City Council votes to deny the permit simply because some people don’t like the towers, then the Milton City Council Members would be voting against private property rights . In my mind, that is theft. The property owner who had the rights to develop or profit from their land is now prevented from doing so, in spite of meeting the zoning laws that are in effect.
What comes next? Then any group of homeowners can get together to have that horse-farm get rid of their horses because the manure stinks. That small business owner that grows orchids on his agricultural land might have to cease and desist because his greenhouses aren’t ascetically pleasing to some. I’m sorry private property owner, but I don’t want you to sell your land to a developer to build more homes - I like the rural charm of your pastures. Oh, but don’t let your horse manure pile up or it will offend me. Never mind the fact that you were here years before my home was built and changed the rural view from your house.
Even though I think that we’ll all get used to the towers being there - just like we have with the hundreds of other towers that surround us, I agree that a cell tower is not an attractive addition to the landscape. We should be working to make the towers that do go in as unobtrusive as possible. If that means making it look like a tree, then we should be pushing T-Mobile to do that. But I hope we didn’t become the City of Milton so we can take away private property rights.
“The right of property is the guardian of every other right, and to deprive a people of this, is in fact to deprive them of their liberty.” Arthur Lee, “An Appeal to the Justice and Interests of the People of Great Britain, in the Present Dispute with America” (1775)
Many thanks to Bob for sharing his perspective with us. If you have some thoughts you would like to share on the cell tower topic, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org / Subject line: Cell towers.