Save Our Lakeland Neighborhoods!

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Save Our Lakeland Neighborhoods!

This petition made change with 311 supporters!
Jennifer Aguilar started this petition to Lakeland City Commissioners Scott Franklin, Stephanie Madden, Sara Roberts McCarley, Chad McLeod, Bill Read, Phillip Walker and

The multifamily property at 1055 Ariana St. Lakeland FL, fell into new hands, owners Sam Houghton Jr. & Stacy Houghton. Gary Brundage on their behalf has applied to downzone the multi-family residential property to install a profitable 150 ft. commercial cell tower to lease. A tower of this size is zoned for industrial property and will be powerful with 5 providers.

This petition STRONGLY opposes the installation of this industrial cell tower or any other cell towers on or near the Carolina Court / Lake Hunter / Dixieland residential properties for the following reasons:

1. There is appropriate property elsewhere, away from homes, schools, parks and lakes, already industrial zoned for this structure in Lakeland.

For example, has the applicant considered areas such as the RP Funding Lakeland Center or along the Polk Parkway? A cell tower of this aesthetic does not belong abutting residences, next to schools, next to the Dixieland Historic District and the Lake Hunter Terrace District, and on the horizon of the impaired Lake Hunter. The City Commission has determined the public has a primary interest in controlling the location, siting and design of PWS facilities to protect the attractiveness, health, safety and property values of the community, avoid the proliferation of visually obtrusive structures, and promote the development of an advanced wireless communication infrastructure consistent with the Master Plan for Personal Wireless Service Facilities and the Comprehensive Plan. Many residents wrote opposing letters to the zoning board, however these letters were not even read to the board for consideration before their vote. We all want strong technology infrastructure in Lakeland, but it needs to be planned strategically and appropriately with the public in mind to protect the health, safety, and property values of our community.

2. HEALTH RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH EXPOSURE TO WIRELESS EMISSIONS

The U.S. Department of the Interior states “the electromagnetic radiation standards used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continue to be based on thermal heating, a criterion now nearly 30 years out of date and inapplicable today.” Other countries now limit public exposure to levels far lower than the outdated standards currently set by the FCC. Peer reviewed studies have shown that even at low levels of radiation, there is evidence of biological damage, brain tumors, cancer, weakened immune function, childhood leukemia, reduced sperm count and ovarian follicles. In May 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the type of radiation that cell towers emit as a Class 2B carcinogen, meaning “possibly carcinogenic to humans”, the same category as lead and DDT. The American Association of Pediatrics raises concerns that children may be more vulnerable than adults “because of the potentially greater susceptibility of their developing nervous systems; in addition, their brain tissue is more conductive, radio frequency radiation penetration is greater relative to head size, and they will have a longer lifetime of exposure than adults.” The American Cancer Society (ACS) does not have any official position or statement on whether or not radiofrequency (RF) radiation from cell phone tower is a cause of cancer, as more research is needed.

3. NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE RESIDENTS

The close proximity to homes in neighborhoods, specifically abutting the 18 Magnolia condominiums, would be an intrusion into the privacy of the residents. Workers performing routine maintenance would have direct views into homes. Required access for maintenance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year would mean that maintenance (often done at night) brings work crews, trucks with lifts, radios, lights that will affect many neighbors. The tower will introduce additional noise disturbances impacting quality of life due to the 5 large generators needed for each provider. There are also non-radiation safety hazards posed by wireless installations near residential neighborhoods and lakes, which current City regulations do not address. These include pole overloading and resulting fire and electrocution hazards when poles topple due to environmental and/or weather conditions; and explosive and toxic chemical hazards.

4. NEGATIVE IMPACT ON PROPERTY VALUES

Downzoning for a cell tower is a downgrade to the local neighborhoods and will negatively impact nearby property value.  The tower will also visually pollute the Dixieland Historic District and the Lake Hunter Terrace Historic District aesthetics as an eyesore and will be visible from many windows, porches, and streets. Additionally, the health hazards and unsightliness of these installations will have a negative impact on property values. The perceived threat alone would lower property values. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines categorize cell towers with "hazards and nuisances," and HUD requires its certified appraisers to take the presence of nearby cell towers into consideration when determining the value of single-family residential properties.

5. NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY

The looming metal tower will incommode the peaceful use and recreational enjoyment of the Lake Hunter area forever. Lake Hunter is unfortunately designated as impaired and a priority lake for remediation.  In 2016 Waldmann-Selsam et al., wrote a research paper how cell tower radiation damage trees over time. Trees naturally treat the Lake Hunter sensitive water health and wildlife. Cell tower placement is also dangerous for birds and interferes with the routes they use for migration.

Allowing this cell tower will set a precedent allowing for downzoning of residential properties to allow additional towers in our neighborhood community and neighboring communities. If Lakeland can rezone this neighborhood for a cell tower, what is to stop others or companies from doing the same in your backyard? And once a site is established, our ability to protect ourselves from additional hazardous exposure of more installations becomes more of a challenge.  Are residential streets shaded by canopies of communication towers what we want for our Lakeland neighborhoods?

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This petition made change with 311 supporters!

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