Help us Stop the Tower!
Imagine a neighbor coming to your door one day with news that a 115 foot tall, 12 antenna cell phone tower was being constructed right in your neighborhood and the construction had already begun without any public say in the matter? That's what is happening here in what is historically known as the "Shacktown" neighborhood off of Holmes Road in Pittsfield, MA.
A Verizon Wireless cell phone tower (possibly a 5G) is being built right in our Pittsfield neighborhood located on a property called 877 South Street, and we have had no say in the process. We need your help to stop it! 100% of the $10,000 we are raising will go to the retaining of a law firm located in Lenox, MA to help us file an injunction on this project and prevent it from being built. This tower will potentially cause our residential land values to decrease by 20% while also putting our entire neighborhood of hard working families at high risk of health problems associated with cell phone tower 24/7 “always on” radio frequency radiation (RFR) and nonionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF). More on our health below.
Here are the details and here is why you should care to donate:
1. WE DESERVE BETTER: The neighborhood consists of families living on Plumb St., Alma St., Fairhaven St., Ora St., Elmer Ave., Atmer Ave., Stanton Ave., Oliver Ave., and Lori Court. We make up "Shacktown" where folks living in the City during the GE Pittsfield boom used to come to plant their gardens and work in their "shacks" to grow their victory gardens and their own food since the early 1900's through WWII. Now we are a quiet, blue collar, proud Pittsfield neighborhood made up of families with young children, war veterans, cancer survivors, and just hard working folk. Many of us love to walk our dogs and listen to the wildlife activity in the woods exactly where this tower is being constructed. It's a normal occurrence to see and hear wood peckers, owls, and red fox in the woods of our neighborhood. This tower will impact our residents and our natural resources.
2. THE PROJECT IS MISLEADING AND DECEPTIVE: The address of the project is 877 South St. which is zoned industrially but anyone who knows the exact location of the tower (at the top of Alma St. next to our neighborhood city water tower, knows this is only technically a South St. address. In reality the construction site is approximately 1,000' with no clear line of site from South St., the entrance to 877 South St., and the building located at 877 South St, yet it is located less than 100' with a clear line of sight from the top of Alma St. This tower is in our neighborhood and not one resident on Alma St. knew about this prior to construction. Since they were able to build an access road from South Street all of the construction trucks have been able to sneak onto the job site without ever having to drive through our community, even though its a stones throw from multiple houses. If you were to drive along South St (Rt. 7) and look up and see the ridge line you might think, "seems like a good place for a cell tower, it's just woods up there." But in fact there is a residential neighborhood on the other side of that hill accessible from Holmes Road. Just northeast of this property is the trail network of the historic Arrowhead.
3. WE HAVE BEEN BLIND-SIDED: Property owners who are 300 foot abutters were supposed to receive 2 letters: a notice of the cell tower and public hearing date AND a second notice of approval of the tower and a 30 day window of which to appeal the decision. We have obtained this list of abutters from the City and asked many of them if they were notified during the process which we are now aware of took place back in 2017. Only two neighbors (out of a list of 30 properties) who happen to live in the highest valued homes in the neighborhood claims to have received a letter in the mail! One of the neighbors attended the public hearings and expressed concerns about the lack of transparency and knowledge of the project as well as the height of the tower. Is it possible that the more than 20 other residents with homes on that list all ignored multiple letters in the mail about this and threw away their mail without reading it?
Bottom line is nobody in our community knew about the tower, almost nobody got a letter and as far as we know, nobody got a second letter to have the opportunity to contest the decision!
4. EVEN OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS CLAIM TO BE BLIND-SIDED AND NOW THEY CAN'T HELP US: When an Alma St. resident discovered the construction happening just up the street from her house, she started asking our elected officials if they knew about this project. She reached out to Ward 4A City Councilman Chris Connell, Mayor Tyer's office, and State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier (who lives in our neighborhood). Councilman Connell claimed to have NO knowledge of the project. How is this even possible when in the past week we have learned that the project received a special permit in November 2017 by the Zoning Board of Appeals and was advertised accordingly? Shouldn't our own Councilman who has been quoted in iBerkshires.com as saying his "role serves two priorities — ensuring maintenance and infrastructure things are done in the ward and making citywide decisions that ultimately impact the ward" have known about this? How is it possible that our councilman was not even aware of this construction being done in his own ward? At this stage the special permit has been recorded at the Registry of Deeds and the appeal period has long since ended, taking all authority away from our city officials. Thus, we the citizens are left no choice but to seek legal action.
5. THIS PROJECT HURTS THE ENVIRONMENT AND COULD HAVE MAJOR EFFECTS ON OUR PUBLIC HEALTH
All of us residents here are taxpayers and concerned citizens and many of us live outside of the 300 feet notification requirement but we have the right to know about this tower. We all deserve to be informed about where we live, and if our neighborhood is safe and healthy for our families. These cell towers come with generators and other equipment that cause air and noise pollution. We don’t want this in our neighborhood. The radiation from cell towers has potential major health effects on humans and other life. Click here for a Scientific American article titled “We Have no Reason to Believe 5G is Safe” which states “numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.” We want time feel safe in our neighborhood. This tower won’t have us feeling safe. We will live in fear that we are being put in harms way every day of our lives.
THESE ARE TOUGH TIMES BUT THINGS WILL GET BETTER. IF WE DON'T STOP THIS, WE WILL BE LEFT WITH THIS TOWER FOREVER. We know it's really tough right now as we live through this unprecedented time of a global health pandemic of COVID-19, but whether it be next month, 3-6 months, next year, we will hopefully come out of this a changed but better world. For us, this shelter-in-place order has been a blessing for our neighborhood. If we were all going to work everyday and distracted by the hustle and bustle of everyday life and not at home or walking around our streets saying hello (from 6 feet of course) to all our neighbors, we probably wouldn't have even noticed this tower project until it was completely built. We still have time to stop this. If we don't our neighborhood will be left with this 115 foot, 12 antenna cell phone tower peering down over our neighborhood forever (or at least for a very very long time). Please help us stop this. Any amount of donations will help. Thank you!
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- Terri Dierkes
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