You might have noticed balloons floating over Westport’s Green Farms Road Tuesday - a planned test for a proposed cell tower site in that location. They float at 150 and 110 feet in the air and the test gives the company behind the proposal – North Atlantic Towers - reference points when it comes to their cell tower evaluation.
"These things should not go in any residential neighborhood," said Hope Hageman
Meanwhile, back on the ground, a group of Westport residents are protesting that proposal.
"There are other places they can go, they don't have to go right outside your house," said Hope Hageman, Westport resident.
"So, we are protesting this 13 story, it looks like, tower - which may have health problems for young children and adults - and also it an eye sore," said Connie Greenfield, Westport resident.
Westport town regulations currently outlaw cell towers in residential zones. But that’s still not enough to put an end to the project. A state committee formed in 1996 called the Siting Council holds the ultimate power, deciding where cell towers are located all throughout the states with the ability to override all local zoning laws. Connecticut is the only state to have such a committee.
"The one thing that is very scary about them is that they have been empowered to override local zoning ordinancies," said Hageman.
Agencies– like – the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the National Toxicology Program (NTP), and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do not classify cell phone towers as potential health hazards.
But some studies suggest the opposite.
One study published last year in Brazil says it established a direct link between cancer deaths in Brazil’s third largest city with a cell phone network.
But while facts may differ on public health impacts, state officials still came out to support today’s rally. They reminded the group they need to present alternate locations, since cell phones are far too common of a household device.
"We need to empower our local leaders to have a template to deal with this," said State Rep. Tony Hwang.
So far, almost two hundred residents have signed a petition in opposition to this cell tower. But it is important to remember that an official proposal has yet to be submitted by North Atlantic Towers. This Westport Group is hoping their visual opposition will make the company think twice.