Permanently Ban New Cell Tower Construction at Julius West Middle School (JWMS)
This petition had 659 supporters
We request that you declare a permanent ban on the use of Julius West Middle School (IWMS) property as a site for a cell phone towers.
The City of Rockville has received plans submitted by Verizon to erect such a tower, including a special height exemption clause. Yet MCPS, the City of Rockville, and neighboring groups overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to erect such a cell tower on JWMS property in 2007. That position has not changed. We are weary of having to spend our time and efforts opposing the school system for this commercial use of property.
To date, the community has received inadequate and confusing messages about the status of plans to erect a cell phone tower on JWMS property. We inadvertently learned of the Verizon application and request for extension. The City of Rockville has copies of the plans, including the height extension. The MCPS Parents Coalition contacted the MCPS Real Estate Management team to find out what process had been followed. On May 23, 2014 Peter Gelling of the MCPS Real Estate Management team replied that that Julius West Principal Staton “met with Verizon and the MCPS Real Estate Management Team late last summer to discuss the proposal and process. A meeting was held last fall with the PTA t0 gage initial support, which was generally positive. The proposed tower did not move to the next phase, as there are several planning issues, including construction of an addition, being considered which may restrict a tower at this location. However, a determination will not be made until the fall."
We are dismayed to learn that Principal Staton had given any kind of positive support without notifying the community in light of the overwhelming 2007 rejection. He clearly did not follow the Baldridge Cell Tower Process which requires the PTSA and the community to be notified before allowing the vendor to go forward and request the exception for the height extension.
On May 27 Dana Tofig tweeted "There are no plans for a tower at IWMS. The school and the district's Real Estate office were approached, but said no." We are confused about what this means since it could be a momentary position and was communicated as a Tweet. 0n the very next day, the Real Estate Management team wrote to the Parents Coalition “the MCPS Policy ECN, Telecommunications Transmission Facilities, does not specify the number of times a specific site may be considered for a cell toweri nor is a time limit pmvidedl” Neighboring jurisdictions, Prince George's and Baltimore Counties, have developed policies that do provide such limits.
A final rejection of all cell phone tower proposals on Julius West property would clarify the current confusion and allow the community to focus our efforts on the central purpose of MCPS of preparing all students to be college- and career-ready
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