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Church, neighbors spar over cell tower

"A cell tower is not a bell tower. It's a cell tower," she said.

Anne Marie Growney, clerk of session for the church, defended the project.

She said it provides a number of benefits for the church, including a working bell tower and revenue for mission projects.

She said the exposure levels of the tower will be well below FCC regulation, and the church welcomes neighbors to a "process that is public and open to all," she said.

"We are very open to a conversation about this project," she said.

The church will host a meeting on Tuesday, March 23, at 7 p.m. to discuss the tower.

According to information form the church Web site, "the impact of the proposed cell tower on the exposure of users of church property and residents of nearby areas to radio emissions is similar to those of commonly used household devices, such as wireless Internet routers, cordless telephones and microwave ovens, and substantially less than that of cell-phone use. We are not experts on all the studies, but we believe we are working with the best information available to us today as we make our decision about this bell/cell tower project."

The Web site directs users to a number of health organizations include the American Cancer Society, the World Health Organization, Health Canada, the FCC and the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology.

Mittleman said that fact that the tower needed a variance, paired with the location of the tower so close to the school spells trouble.

Town Supervisor Paula Mahan said variances are granted for a number of reasons but are not malicious.

"They're not meant to hurt anybody or cover anything up," Mahan said.

Mittleman and Fox said they could not recall the initial application for the tower.

"I had no idea," Mittleman said. "How could the town let this happen?"

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