Parents sound off about proposed cell phone tower near schools - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Parents sound off about proposed cell phone tower near schools in Henrico

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Parents and neighbors in Henrico's West End are fired up Thursday night about a new cell phone tower that may be built between two schools.

nTelos wants more cell phone coverage and wants to raise the 184 foot pole right in between Byrd Middle School and Pemberton Elementary School, near Quioccason and Gaskins roads.

Neighbors are worried about property values, and parents are worried about possible health risks.

nTelos promises the new cell tower will be a slick pole, with no bright lights or dishes hanging from it.

Neighbors don't care. They're worried about home resale value because it going to be an eyesore.

"From the back of my house, from any window, from my porch, from my room, there's no way I can't see the pole unless it's at night and it's dark," said neighbor Steve Saxpy.

nTelos says its listening to the community and wants to build the tower farther into the woods, away from children, and fence it in.

Patrick Swanson, who has young kids that'll end up going to both Pemberton Elementary and Byrd Middle, says that's not enough - he wants to know of possible health risks.

"What knowledge do they have of the affects on children, and why the school board decided it's ok for the children of Henrico County," said Swanson.

The FCC has their hands tightly around companies like nTelos, by regulating the amount of radio-frequency that can be put out.

"I understand radio waves are all over, I think what I really want to see are more studies before the decision is made," said Swanson.

Judging from Thursday night, it's going to take a lot to win over the community. The school board is onboard as long as the county approves - in the end, the schools get a cut: $85,000 up front and about $9,000 a year.

There will be more opportunities for the public to weigh in. Public hearings are scheduled for March 14 and April 9. Then it'll be up to the county to make the final decision.

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