Cell Tower approved for Madisonville

Published 10:41 am Friday, July 17, 2020

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The Charlotte County Board of Supervisor (BOS) voted 6 to 1 to approve a conditional use permit (CUP) application by U.S. Cellular for the construction of a 5G cellphone tower in the Madisonville area during its July 13 meeting.

Phenix/Aspen Supervisor Donna Fore voted against approval of the CUP.

U.S. Cellular applied for the CUP in January, and a public hearing was originally set for April but was not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic and office closures.

At its June 8 meeting the BOS tabled the vote because one homeowner did not have her concerns expressed to the BOS or planning commission.

During the June 8 meeting, Eleanor Cox addressed the BOS in person, informing them that she left a voicemail that she thought would be read during the May 28 public hearing.

The Cox family also submitted an email to the administration office dated June 6, stating her objection to the cell tower slated to be located on property owned by Blue Rock Resource located on Mapleton Road in the Madisonville area.

“My family recently purchased property adjacent to Blue Rock LLC’s land where U.S. Cellular intends on building their tower. We moved here with the intent to start a family and farm and contribute to the community in a clean, healthy, rural environment,” the email stated. “Prior to purchasing our home, we did our due diligence, knowing Kyanite Mining, or Blue Rock LLC owned the land behind our property and contacted a representative from said company to find out if the land was slated for use. We were assured that it wasn’t. After being notified of this proposed cell tower via mail, only eight days before this council was set to hold a public hearing during the COVID-19 outbreak, where people are not allowed to gather publicly in groups of more than 10 people.”

Cox also stated concerns on cancer causing issues linked to 5G cell towers. 

“Hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies from around the world have linked non-ionizing forms of electromagnetic radiation to health risks such as cancer, DNA damage (especially in infants and fetuses), and infertility,” Cox said.

Emilee Lauer, with Old Dominion Professional Services Site Acquisition, said, “Currently there are no associated health side effects due to the construction of wireless facilities. U.S. Cellular is provided very heavy guidelines from the government and environmental agencies to ensure there are no hazards to surrounding humans, animals or land. It has been determined that the most severe radiation directly to humans comes from microwaves used in kitchens and other small electronic devices. If someone were to climb a cell tower and stand directly in front of an on-air antenna without an RF device, then yes, that could be hazardous to your health.”

Now that the CUP application has been approved the tower is expected to be fully operational within two years.