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Letter: District Is Irresponsible For Considering Cell Tower

A Kings Park resident asks district not to build cell tower at the administration property on Lawrence Road.


I attended the Kings Park School District Board meeting on February 28th 2012 and I am writing to voice my concern about the district’s irresponsible plan to build a cell phone tower near the parking lot of the New Discovery Child Care Center.

The school district is building this tower because if it leases this space to Suffolk Wireless it could generate between $20,000 and $90,000 a year for the district.
Our family lives just a few houses away on Lawrence Road and I am concerned about the possible health risks the radio frequency emissions could have on the developing brains of our three small children.

It was outrageously patronizing that we were told at the Board meeting that the amount of frequency generated by the tower was less than what “four people emit together in a group hug.”

The fact is, NOBODY really knows how dangerous cell tower emissions are, particularly to more vulnerable small children. Some studies show that they can be harmful, but the science seems unsettled. Most people would agree that the facts are unclear, the technology still too new:

“Radio frequencies emitted from mobile telephone towers will have deleterious medical effects to people within the near vicinity according to a large body of scientific literature. Babies and children will be particularly sensitive to the mutagenic and carcinogenic effects of the radio frequency radiation. It is therefore criminal to place one of these aerials on or near a school.” Helen Caldicott, MD, pediatrician and co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

“The FCCs current exposure guidelines...are thermally based, and do not apply to chronic, non-thermal exposure situations.... Therefore, the generalization that the guidelines protect human beings from harm by any or all mechanisms is not justified.” Norbert Hankin, Radiation Protection Division, EPA

Palm Beach, Florida, Los Angeles, California, and New Zealand prohibit cell phone towers and antennas on school property due to safety concerns. The European Parliament recommends that cell towers should not be sited near schools. The National Academy of Science called for more research on risks on long-term exposure to children and pregnant women.

If other school districts across our country and around the world can stand up for children and prohibit cell towers on school property due to safety concerns, why can’t Kings Park School District? The answer, in my opinion, is quite obvious. The “New Discovery” building will soon be empty of children. New Discovery can no longer pay the rent on the building to the school district and they will no longer be there in the fall. Just in time for the tower to commence being built! (This would also make it unusable for other child care tenants or district use of the building in the future).

If this tower is as safe as the School Board contends, would they dare to build it on the grounds of the high school? On the grounds of Park View or RJO?    Of course not- the public outcry would be overwhelming in our town as children from all over Kings Park attend these schools. But the New Discovery building will be empty of children and the only children near to this tower will be in the homes close by. So, the Board has calculated that our protests will be minimal.

Well, my children will be too close to this tower and I am protesting loudly.  

The School Board has sold my children out for as little as $20,000 a year.
My son started Kindergarten in September. As I led him to the school bus for the first time with tags pinned on him letting everyone know if lost he should be returned to K-4 in Park View, he seemed so small. I TRUSTED the Kings Park School District to keep him safe on the bus and safe in his classroom.

The School Board has no business being in the business of constructing cell towers on their unused property to generate revenue. Cell phone tower safety is controversial at best and the school district’s primary business is educating our children, and their primary ethical responsibility is to keep all of Kings Park’s children safe- whether their buildings are currently in use or not. They are letting the neighborhood children down.

These are children that will be attending Park View, RJO and the High School. What if my 7 month old baby develops learning problems from the tower’s exposure- can anyone guarantee he won’t? What if other babies in the area do? Will the additional costs of educating them be covered by the revenue from the tower?

The Kings Park School District should be prepared for potential liability issues. Moms talk- we talk at trick-or-treating, outside the nursery classrooms, at the bus stop, and on the playgrounds. If health problems start to develop in our children that seem strange and were not there before the tower, we will look for a reason. And we will not hesitate to take legal action and demand compensation from the district.

We are respectfully asking the board to not build a cell phone tower on the property of the New Discovery site - it is a risky venture for the neighborhood’s children and for the Kings Park School District itself.


Ariella
Kings Park, resident

Editor's note- The Kings Park Board of Education stated at the Feb. 28 meeting that further talk on the matter would be discussed at an upcoming board meeting. A vote on the matter has not yet taken place. Patch will present a full story on the meeting soon.

Casey March 02, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Anonymous - spent my whole life here. You clearly don't understand that the asbestos is only dsngerous airborne, which its not. This is not polluted land. Just old building, that will eventually be taken down safely by pros. Pose no danger now or in the future.
Ann March 02, 2012 at 01:44 PM
This is not the first time that a cell tower was proposed to aid the San Remo area that is the most affected by lack of service. That same neighborhood who is "all for" putting it at New Discovery, opposed the tower being erected closer to them on Town property for the same reasons and concerns that we are voicing. It wasn't ok to put it closer to your yards, but now it's ok to put it in our yards?!!
Ann March 02, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Again, San Remo had the opportunity for a cell tower but refused. They want the service without the risks!!
KPLifer March 02, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Casey - you may want to do a little more research if you think that land is not polluted. http://www.kpna.org/RECsdrat.pdf
Casey March 02, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Ann - Thanks so much for the info. Do you know where the tower was going to be placed when it was rejected? Or approx when?
Casey March 02, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Anonymous - nothing on this list has been determined can't be corrected. They've already created the park by the water, and are taking the project piece by piece, as funding is identified. Believe what you want...
N/A March 02, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Your complaining that it is going to be an eye sore?? Are you kidding??? It's a pole..... with today's technology you should be worried about other harmful things, cell phone's save's people's life's everyday and help catch people doing wrong/bad things. Im sure everyone would have a different opinion when your walking on riviera and an accident happens between you or someone you know and you cant get a signal to call for help because there's no cell service. It's not like when they put the pole up people are going to start growing a third arm.
Kathy March 02, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Despite inept superintendents, and board members that follow them like sheep, the Kings Park School District has survived and prospered due to excellent teachers and caring parents. Now that the KP School District is branching out and way from education, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have some personal incentive to push this idea through. It wouldn’t be the first time elected officials used their position for their own agenda.
new guy March 02, 2012 at 05:16 PM
lets stay on track here. my concern is property values. good bad or indifferent you can see a small cross section of opinions pro and con torwards cell towers right here in this thread. that being said house sales within eyesight of the tower can be affected. also what did people do 20 years ago before cell phones were so readily available? i'm not against the tower, i just would hope tjhe school district would consider the surrounding area property values. on the corner of terry rd and route 25 is a doctors office, a year ago they installed a coupala(sp?) on the roof....its a cell antenna. all the "guts" of it are in that fenced in area on the front lawn. some of it underground. just saying there are other options.
new guy March 02, 2012 at 05:21 PM
this really does this thread no good.
KPLifer March 02, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I expect 50 or more complainers to run for school board this year. We happen to have an excellent super and a well rounded BOE that was voted in by the residents of the district.
John from Kings Park March 02, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I think the difference is, 20 yrs ago there was a pay phone practically on every corner. Also, I know quite a few families (mine included) that have gotten rid of their land line in favor of a cheaper "house" cell phone. People have converted to that IO phone service which is about as reliable as a tabloid news story. My 76 yr old Mother lives three houses from Riviera, & has that IO phone svce. Plenty of times I try to reach her & her phone is down. Plenty of times I've been at her home & my cell phone is useless. If (god-forbid) anything were to happen to her & her IO service is down, how would she be able to contect help? This is something I've brought up with her long before any discussion of a cell tower was brought up...
John from Kings Park March 02, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Hey, whatever happened to Dr. DeRose? I'm assuming she isn't with the school district anymore?
new guy March 02, 2012 at 06:20 PM
john pay phones are gone because of cell phones. my mother also lives in san remo...walnut, rosewood section. she has verizon and called verizon when she moved in and told them she has NO service. after about 45 minutes of back and forth they mailed her a "signal booster box" she and the people above her now have excellent cell service. another family member lives by the old st. anthonys school, same thing same outcome. verizon will try to sell you the box, insist and be a pain in the butt and then they will send you one for free.
John from Kings Park March 02, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Very good to know. Thanx for the info, I'll send it over to Mom. Lord knows, she can be quite a "persistent" when she wants something...
new guy March 02, 2012 at 06:26 PM
john both were mailed out within the last 5 months.....they work great.
Kathy March 02, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Anonymous, If believing in holding elected officials accountable for their actions makes me a "complainer," then please call me a complainer. If wanting to reduce (not increase) environmental cancer in my town makes me a "complainer," then please call me a complainer.
Bob March 02, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Good point Kathy. I thought the purpose and responsibility of a school district is to provide and improve student education and achievement. Why does the KP School Board care about cell reception in San Remo? How many board members live in San Remo?
new guy March 02, 2012 at 07:19 PM
bob i could be wrong but i hav'nt read anywhere of the school boards concern of safety for the people of san remo. i thinks its just about revenue.
KPLifer March 02, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Bob,the problem is that our neighbors dont want to pay for it. Not one new person ran for school board last spring. Everyone complains, but they have no solution. Like I said: I expect 50 or more people on the ballot this year. The people of KP love status quo!
Bob March 02, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Hometown, The revenue is negligible compared to the annual budget. They are obviously willing to increase residents exposure to electromagnetic radiation for improved cell reception. Why do San Remo residents carry so much weight with our school board?
new guy March 02, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Bob I agree. What was it 90,000 for the year? It would have no impact on the budget. I'm just worried about my mother inboard house value. She backs up the school yard and to be perfectly honest we don't want to look at a tower in our back yard. I think a flag pole type in the front off the school would be better. We all need better cell service, and I'll admit I'm not up to date on the pros and cons of living near a tower when it relates to health issues. That's why I havnt commented on that. I Would think there would be more money available from a tower install. Look at the water tower there seems to be quite a bit of antennas on it. I would imagine the county is getting paid more than just 90,000 for them.
Anthony March 03, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Does anyone realize how tall a 125 ft. monopole would be? The school building is probably only about 30 feet tall. This would definitely adversely effect the property values of nearby homes.
new guy March 03, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Good point Anthony, it's s two story building so it's probably closer to 20' than it is to 30'.
Craig March 03, 2012 at 02:01 PM
home town, my point exactly
new guy March 03, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Craig, I can't seem to reply to your comment above on my phone....but in all fairness the water tower is a structure that's already there and they bolted antennas to it. We are talking about installing a structure (125') where there never was. I think towers are needed. I just think there should be some thought on how it looks and the placement of it. Some people strongly apose cell towers(weather they opinions are right or wrong it doesn't matter) and that could and would affect home values. That's my only concern.
John from Kings Park March 03, 2012 at 05:05 PM
The one thing I do have to wonder is who thought it might be a good idea to put a tower basically at the bottom of a hill? Wouldn't it be a little more efficient at a somewhat higher location?
Joseph Belcastro March 10, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Hey LCDR people like you should not be allowed to have an opinion in a matter such as this. I am willing to bet that this proposed tower is not sitting in you back yard. There are plenty of deserted acres land in the old psych center that would be better suited to have a cell tower. Yes cell phones are convenient, but it is not convenient for those who will have a cell tower sitting in their own backyard. Your tone would be much different if you were living in a house where the first thing you see the moment you walk out the backdoor, or when your lounging in your pool is a gigantic cell tower. I purchased my home 3 years ago and paid a good dollar for it, not to mention the $100,000 plus i put into my home. The loss in property value would be tremendous and for those who force themselves to believe there are no medical risks inherent with this sort of structure are completely ignorant.
KP LIslander March 12, 2012 at 12:04 AM
It is quite interesting to note that the school district has not hesitated in the past to feel compelled to make it a point to highlight and equate the correlation between good school districts and higher property tax values in order to justify school budget increases, and yet, on this matter, the school district is choosing to move forward with the cell tower while yet being cognizant of the fact that studies have shown the adverse affect on property values of homes in close proximity to towers such that the asking price for such homes in close proximity have had to be reduced (relative to similar homes asking prices) in order to sell. Strange how there seems to be a double standard when it comes to information that the district wishes to choose to use (or not use) in order to suit their purposes - as if they somehow choose to think that there is nothing wrong with doing so, when in fact the contrary is true. The term is called lying by omission. Sadly it apparently seems like there is not a shortage of ethically challenged individuals (on the school board and school administrators) who wrongfully choose to disregard such valid and legitimate concerns and issues.
Dan March 12, 2012 at 12:39 AM
@KP LIslander, I see your point, but take a breath and look up. Here's a link showing area antenna ... http://goo.gl/QjP82

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