More Cell Phone Towers in Forsyth County’s Future

The Board of Commissioners gathered on Monday evening for their weekly meeting, and the topic of discussion was transmission towers.

American Towers LLC and New Cingular Wireless PCS LLC proposed UDO-244 in Oct 2013 in hopes of building more transmission towers in Forsyth County. The public hearing for this issue was held on Feb 24, but the commissioners weren’t ready to vote on the ordinance without more information and possible regulations. The ordinance had been revised several times by the City and Planning Board, and tonight it would finally be held to a vote.

Last time the commissioners discussed this ordinance, Commissioner Marshall voiced concerns about public safety. On Monday, Marshall’s concerns remained the same.

“I do support cell towers,” Marshall said, “But we owe it to the public to make sure that they are safe.”

In an effort to verify the public’s safety, Marshall suggested that the county purchase a device that could help monitor the RFs (radioactive frequencies) given off by the towers.

“Ronald Reagan would always say ‘test, trust but verify’,” Marshall said, “Electromagnetic radiation is harmful. Most scientists agree with that. It is not a great expense to make sure that the public is safe and in check.”

Marshall did say that, based on his research, the citizens should be safe from RFs transmitted from the towers as long as they were 400 meters away.

The commissioners discussed voting on Marshall’s idea to buy the device to monitor the RFs even though it was not part of the ordinance or the agenda. Commissioner Linville decided that Marshall’s suggestion would be voted on tonight, but it would be a separate vote than the UDO-244 ordinance.

Commissioner Plyler disagreed with Marshall’s idea that monitoring the RFs was necessary.

“I have been here for over 75 years, and no one has even gotten a headache from RFs,” Plyler said.

Despite Marshall’s public safety concern, UDO-244 was passed tonight in a 5-2 vote. Commissioner Witherspoon joined Marshall in opposition of the ordinance.

Marshall’s suggestion of RF monitoring was also brought to an impromptu vote, and that motion was defeated by a count of 2-5. Witherspoon also joined Marshall in the vote for RF monitoring.

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