Neighbors for Safer Wireless Technology (NSWT)
Formed in the fall of 2012, Neighbors for Safer Wireless Technology (NSWT) places a high value on maintaining residential communities that are safe, peaceful, and welcoming to all. Therefore, rather than placing cellular antennas within residential neighborhoods, we advocate that antenna site locations be restricted to commercial and industrial zoned areas of the City of Tucson and Pima County.
NSWT advocates for safer site selections in commercial and industrial zones over residential neighborhoods.
NSWT educates public officials in Tucson and Pima County, neighborhood associations and, the general public on the need to exercise more precaution in the siting and management of cellular towers and antenna arrays, and other wireless infrastructure. NSWT also advocates safer use when it comes to voluntary use of wireless digital communications equipment and devices.
NSWT recommends specific changes in municipal and county planning and development codes that would improve oversight and decision-making by local government agencies during application processing, analysis and review and monitoring of cellular towers and antenna arrays, and other wireless technology applications.
NSWT sees that such improvements will serve to reduce or eliminate potential risks to the health and welfare of the people due to chronic exposure to potentially hazardous levels of electromagnetic radiation near homes, schools and other vulnerable areas can cause adverse health effects. Other risks impact on aesthetics and neighborhood character, increased noise levels, falling of towers or antenna materials, lightening strikes, electrical surges, fires, increased traffic, decline in real property values and prevention of privacy invasions.
1. A report on Tucson city task force efforts to recommend city code changes on cell antennas and towers.
2. A listing of possible cell tower applications in Tucson during 2014.
Report on Tucson city task force efforts to recommend city code changes on cell antennas and towers
NSWT is being represented at meetings that have been convened by the city of Tucson since February 2014 for the purpose of recommending changes to the city’s Unified Development Code (UDC) regarding the siting and management of cell towers and antenna arrays. The city council charged city staff to work with interested stakeholders to recommend UDC changes. This task force was formed, in part, following a request made by NSWT in October, 2013.
Michael Wynken, a senior city planner, is chairing these meetings which are always attended by representatives from the city attorney’s office. The Directors of City Parks and Recreation, and City Public Works City attended one of these sessions. A staff transcriber is making audio recordings and transcripts will be made available sometime in the future.
In addition to attendance by the chair of NSWT and its’ advisers, others attending represent neighborhood associations, persons who suffer from environmental disabilities, AT&T and Simple Bits (a wireless broadband carrier),
The next meeting of this task force will be on Thursday, April 17 from 5-7 pm and you are invited to attend. The meetings are held at City Councilman Kovachik’s Ward 6 offices located at 3202 East 1st Street in the rear conference room. This may be the final meeting.
Thus far, the group has discussed several revisions to the current UDC requirements, including
1. Expanding the property owner notification area from 300 feet to 600 feet;
2. Changing the process for locating on existing verticality on publicly–owned land and right-of-way from a permitted use to the process required for private property with the same zoning;
3. Revise UDC to require a 300-foot setback from a wireless communications facility (WCF) and any property zoned for, or used for, residential uses;
4. Revise UDC and Administrative Manual to require certified, specific, technical information as part of the application process to be reviewed by a RF Engineer acting on behalf of the City, as part of the Administrative Compliance Review for Application Completeness required for that process. The TPR will: (1) review for errors and inconsistencies in the application packet, (2) establish Proof of Need of the proposed facility, and (3) establish with certainty the relationship between the need for the facility and the proposed tower location, tower height and array configuration, (4) certify the proposed facility complies with FCC regulations. and change recommendations regarding neighborhood notification process, setbacks and height requirements, use of an independent 3rd party RF engineer to verify the RF audit and to conduct ongoing monitoring, etc. AT&T proposes to increase the height limit to 65 feet and has requested time on the agenda to introduce more proposals at the April 17 meeting.
It is very important that citizens witness and participate in these meetings and the public hearings to follow. This is the best way that the public interest is being served and local zoning is preserved and protections over aesthetics, health and safety and property values and historic preservation are not eroded to the maximum extent possible under current law.
AT&T has filed three separate lawsuits challenging the city of Tucson decisions to deny three cell tower applications during 2013. The locations of the proposed cell towers that AT&T is litigating over are: St. Francis Cabrini Church at 3200 E. Presidio Road; a Tucson water storage facility at 25th and 3rd near Casa Maria; and, south of 22nd Street near Reid Park. These three lawsuits have been consolidated by U.S. District Court in Arizona (case no. 13-00765) and will be considered by the court in the fall of 2014. Meanwhile, the telecommunications carriers will continue submitting cell tower siting applications to the city of Tucson under current UDC requirements.
Listing of proposed cell tower site locations for Tucson in 2014
We have obtained a list of possible future cell tower applications that may be filed by AT&T and Verizon in the coming months. These locations are itemized below. We recommend you discuss these sites and their potential impact on the surrounding areas to it with your neighborhood associations and your immediate neighbors. According the current city rules on neighborhood notification, the neighborhoods are notified in advance. We have heard that, as voluntary organizations, the NAs do not always keep their association members know of a cell tower proposal. We hope that this list will speed up the process a bit and give Tucson neighborhoods more lead time to study a cell tower application before it is brought before the city for formal public comment.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact 881-4582, or NSWTnow@gmail.com
L Marc Haberman
President, Neighbors for Safer Wireless Technology