Church, neighbors spar over cell tower

A Loudonville church and its neighbors clashed over the health risks of a planned cell-phone tower at a Thursday, March 11, Colonie Town Board meeting.

Neighbors say the proposed location is too close to Loudonville Elementary School, while Loudonville Presbyterian Church officials contend the tower falls well within town, FCC and health guidelines.

The completed tower will be 60 feet high and 1,200 feet from the school and will be owned by Verizon.

We're skeptical of what these government guidelines are, said Loudonville resident Gary Mittleman. "Our government does not have a great track record [of setting safety standards."

He cited past guidelines dealing with cigarettes, asbestos and PCBs among some of the failures.

Mittleman said he is worried the cell tower will pose serious health risks to the students, that could include a heightened risk of breast cancer, leukemia and sleeping disorders.

Pastor Elaine Woroby, of Loudonville Presbyterian Church, where the proposed cell tower will be built, said the decision to allow the tower was not made lightly.

"We talked about the health concern because people raised them," she said. "We truly felt like this was the perfect project for our church."

She said the income would raise money for the mission and service of the church and provide cell service for area residents.

She said after studying the risks and looking at the science, the church maintains that the health risks are nominal.

Amy Fox, who spoke against the project, said the radiation associated with cell towers is undeniable. She said parents in the district are concerned, and the Parent-Teacher Association was scheduled to discuss the issue at its Tuesday, March 16, meeting.

Part of the plan for the structure includes the addition of a bell, but Fox said that won't change the fact that she and others believe a cell tower is a liability.

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