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Litchfield: Planners approve 'stealth' cell tower for new park

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

A 153-foot cell tower will go up in Stables Park over objections from a handful of neighbors. The Georgetown County Planning Commission voted 6-1 to approve the request from American Towers and AT&T Mobility.

The tower is needed to expand service as more people give up land-line phones and want reliable cellphone service inside their homes, said Jonathan Yates, attorney for the applicants.

Neighbors said they are concerned about the impact of the tower on property values, and one questioned the health impacts from the radio signals. "The question about health risks associated with cellphone towers is still in debate," Anne Zavacky told the commission.

But planning staff pointed out that federal law bars local government from basing decisions on cell towers on their effects of their electronic emmissions if they comply with federal standards. Yates said the signal from the new tower will be less than 1 percent of the allowed electronic emissions.

Hartmut Fege, another nearby resident, asked the commission to consider moving the tower to a more central location in the park, where it would have less impact on neighboring homes. "It's an ethical issue," he said.

Boyd Johnson, the county planning director, said the location at the southeast corner of the 116.5-acre park is the only one park planners say won't impact recreation.

Commission Member Marvin Neal cast the only vote against the tower. "My concern is that the community has a concern," he said.

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