Please Stop the Cell Tower at Andrew Chapel

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Andrew Chapel has signed a contract to install a 120 foot tall cell phone tower on its property. Many parents whose children attend Andrew Chapel preschool and/or Colvin Run Elementary School, as well as many residents who live in the surrounding neighborhoods, are opposed to installing a cell tower in this location.

Reasons for Opposition Based on the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will analyze the potential CWS cell tower at Andrew Chapel using principles set forth in the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan.  We have been given more details on the proposed CWS cell tower and its location.  Accordingly, we had added a summary of reasons related to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan for opposing the construction of the proposed cell tower:

1.The proposed cell tower is contrary to the spirit and language of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan.Andrew Chapel is a modest church surrounded by unassuming residences located in wooded neighborhoods.The proposed tower would have a significant negative visual impact on the surrounding area and would not blend into the otherwise serene landscape.It would not fit with the character of this community.The Andrew Chapel property is currently zoned as R-1.An R-1 designation exists for the very purpose of not allowing this type of commercial structure to infiltrate residential neighborhoods.The addition of the cell tower would negatively affect the harmony of the neighborhood and undoubtedly would impact the neighboring homes.

2.The proposed height of the tower is inappropriate for the neighborhood.The 120 foot cell tower at Andrew Chapel would literally tower over the buildings, homes and trees in the area.The mature trees surrounding the church are approximately 50-60 feet in height, half of the height of the proposed tower.There is not sufficient vegetation on the property to block the tower.The full tower would be visible from Route 7 and all angles on the Andrew Chapel property.There are NO existing structures of similar height for with the proposed tower to blend.The church building, trees and vegetation would not come close to "screening" the 120 foot cell tower, either in height or from a ground level perspective.

3.Both Andrew Chapel and Saint Athanasius Catholic Church, the church directly across the street at 1316 Trap Road, have existing bell towers.These bell towers are architecturally appropriate for, and are in consistent character with, the churches and the surrounding area.These towers are part of the existing church buildings.The Andrew Chapel bell tower is approximately 29 feet tall, and the Saint Athanasius bell tower is approximately 36 feet tall.These towers exactly represent what a bell tower should look like in this modest, wooded neighborhood setting.The proposed 120 foot faux bell tower in no way resembles the existing bell towers, in height, appearance or in character.

4.The proposed cell tower would impair the vista from the Andrew Chapel Cemetery, a designated historic site in Fairfax County.The cell tower would be in the direct line of sight of tour groups, relatives and loved ones visiting the cemetery.The tower would impair this view significantly.

5.Constructing a new cell tower should be the last resort.Other options include expanding nearby existing cell towers and/or using Distributed Antenna Systems.The proposed cell tower would likely result in redundancy in coverage, and other site locations would be better suited to address coverage needs in Tysons and north of Lewinsville Road (the applicants’ targeted service area).Public coverage maps for the two dominant local carriers in this area, Verizon and AT&T, already show strong coverage throughout this area.It is unclear if a new tower is needed at this location.

6.Safety issues arise with building a cell tower in an area full of young children.CWS proposes to place this cell tower in the field at Andrew Chapel, next to their preschool and playground.Approximately 100 babies, toddlers and preschool aged children attend the Andrew Chapel Preschool.The field and playground are open to children at all times, but are unsupervised by the church (aside from when the preschool teachers are outside).Young children cannot read danger signs and are known for their curiosity.Gates can be left unlocked, and unlike adults, children do not understand the dangers surrounding cell tower equipment.An additional 900 young children attend close by Colvin Run Elementary School.Andrew Chapel regularly hosts weekly meetings for children's organizations.Children are constantly at this location.Additional hazards include the introduction of workmen to an unlocked preschool, ice fall, fire, tower collapse and electrical issues.

7.The proposed cell tower would add to traffic issues on Trap Road, a small two lane road.To add construction and maintenance vehicles for the proposed cell tower is an unnecessary burden on this street. School buses and parents transporting children to school should take first priority.

We respectfully request that Andrew Chapel and Supervisor Foust’s office consider all of the above factors and deny the CWS-Andrew Chapel United Methodist Church residential zoning exemption request.  

Please note that Fairfax County cannot consider any potential health effects in its determination with respect to this (or any other) cell tower. 

CWS-Andrew Chapel Information Included in the Email for this Petition

The email to which the link to this petition was originally attached (and subsequent emails that contained the link) included a letter from Andrew Chapel on why they feel that cell towers are safe.  This site does not permit documents to be attached, so we are listing their links:;;;;  Because this letter was included in the emails on this petition, we added it to the petition.  However, as discussed below, certain studies have raised questions on the long-term health effects from radiofrequency radiation.        

Potential health risks to children and families - Cell phone towers emit radio frequencies (RF), a form of electromagnetic radiation (EMR), for a distance of up to 2.5 miles. Studies have shown that even at low levels of this radiation, there is evidence of damage to cell tissue and DNA, and it has been linked to brain tumors, cancer, suppressed immune function, depression, miscarriage, Alzheimer’s disease, and numerous other serious illnesses.[1]  Children are at the greatest risk, due to their thinner skulls and rapid rate of growth.[2]  In 2011, The World Health Organization / International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified EMR as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

FCC standards for exposure to RF are outdated and inadequate - The FCC governs cell towers and the RF radiation that they emit.  The FCC regulations on RF were written in 1996 (based on 1985 research) – and are among the least protective in the world. The FCC is not a health organization. Current FCC standards only ensure that RF fields are below levels that cause “thermal” effects (heating effects). They do not address long-term exposure at low levels, or "non-thermal" effects. Certain research has found biological effects from RF at much lower levels, including cancer, fertility issues, memory impairment, DNA breakdown, and neurological problems.[3] 

Researchers report headaches, concentration difficulties and behavioral problems in children and adolescents; and sleep disturbances, headaches and concentration problems in adults. Public safety standards are 1,000–10,000+ times higher than levels now commonly reported in mobile phone base station studies to cause bioeffects.[4]

Negative impact on home values and visual appeal - The proposed cell tower will be 120 feet high...approximately as tall as a 12 story building. This would be visually unappealing and would likely have a negative impact on the resale value of the homes near the church.

Maintenance of the cell tower - Cell antenna towers require maintenance that may be performed at any time of day or night. Service personnel and trucks on Trap Road will be an additional unnecessary public nuisance, potentially interfering with traffic to and from Andrew Chapel Preschool and Colvin Run Elementary School. This road is small and already busy due to school traffic. Damage to roads from utility vehicles could create additional transportation issues.

Project is inappropriate for this location – Given the possible risks associated with a cell tower, this is not the type of project that seems appropriate for a residental area adjacent to a school and church that serves as a preschool. 

The proposed location for a cell tower is too close to surrounding neighborhoods, an already busy Trap Road, and to a preschool (with very young children, ages 11 months to pre-K) and a K-6 elementary school.

[1] Health Effects from Cell Phone Tower Radiation, Karen J. Rogers, citing Microwave and Radio Frequency Radiation Exposure, San Francisco Medicine , Vol. 74, No 3, March 2001. See also IAFF Postion on Cell Towers -; list of studies on cell towers at

[2] Health Effects from Cell Phone Tower Radiation, Karen J. Rogers; see also Center for Environmental Oncology University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute - (cell phone use section); American Academy of Pediatrics, August 29, 2013 comments to the FCC -

[3] -  Listing more than 600 scientific studies published worldwide, which link low-level microwaves and radio-frequency (RF) fields to bio-effects and illnesses. BioInitiative Report 2012, A Rationale for Biologically-based Exposure Standards for Low-Intensity Electromagnetic Radiation (2800 scientific studies reviewed by 29 international scientific experts). Summary -; Full report -; See also (2013 - cell phones); see discussion on FCC regulations in Comments of Environmental Working Group -

[4] BioInitiative Report 2012; see also (wifi);;


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