Plan for new cell phone tower creates controversy in Burton neig - WNEM TV 5

Plan for new cell phone tower creates controversy in Burton neighborhood

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BURTON, MI (WNEM) -

The clear, open skies in one neighborhood could soon be pierced by an enormous blinking tower.

For years, people have complained about the impact a cell phone tower near their home can have. So, one man is trying to stop the plans before they can take off.

“It would not look appealing,” Donald Embury said.

Embury doesn't want to see a cell phone tower in his neighborhood. Plans to put one up at a nearby church this November have Embury and other residents concerned.

“I think that there's other areas that it could be at. Not necessarily in our subdivision,” he said.

Embury said he is also worried about radio frequencies from the tower that he believes will cause health issues.

Fellow Burton resident Bill Haberland is worried about his property value dropping because of the tower.

“People that would want to buy would not want to buy near a tower like that,” Haberland said.

Haberland claims many residents only learned of the proposed new tower three days ago.

"Why did they have to be so hush hush about something like that?" he said.

The pastor of the church said he's surprised to hear about the blowback from residents regarding the cell phone tower, but said the tower will do great things for this religious community.

"It's going to help fund several of the missions or projects or programs that we have that we offer to our community,” Pastor Greg Rowan said.

Rowan said he's been working with Verizon for the past year and a half to bring a cell tower to the area. Rowan said he's done his own research. He said he can't find evidence of health issues, or declining property values in neighborhoods that have towers.

Rowan and Embury are good friends, though, and Rowan admitted he wants happy neighbors.

“I'd like to understand the concerns of our neighborhood,” Rowan said.

For now, the pair will agree to disagree while both of them prepare to argue their points in front of the city council meeting Tuesday night.

"I think it is a wonderful statement that our church wants to make to the community in terms of the look,” Rowan said.

“We're hoping that the city council will vote no for a cell tower in the Meadowcroft Estate Area,” Embury said.

TV5 reached out to Verizon for a statement on the controversial plan. 

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