LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Good fences might make good neighbors, but the same can’t be said about cellphone towers.
Some parents of students at Kendrick Lakes Elementary School worry a 60-foot-tall cellphone tower going up next door at St. Jude Catholic Church could expose their children to radiation.
“I won’t sleep well and I’ll be very concerned,” said Anita Springsteen, a parent of one of two students at the school.
“This is a trailer where the preschoolers are and they’re the smallest students in the school,” added another parent.
The science is inconclusive about the health risks that cellphone towers pose. It seems to depend on the study.
The American Cancer Society said there is no proven link between cancer and cell towers.
Parents such as Springsteen aren’t convinced.
“There may not be evidence now, but this has only been around for maybe 20 years so do these studies exist? Have they followed children from their childhood into adulthood to say that conclusively?” she said.
Mary Alice Reda also had concerns.
“We knew something was going on but didn’t know what,” she said. “I can’t even tell you the utter alarm.”
She now has a cell tower towering over her backyard. It’s on the property of Ethiopian Evangelic Church next door. The tower, which went up last month, is disguised as a bell tower.
“I just see a great big metal ghost looming over our backyard,” Reda said.
The cellphone tower at St. Jude Catholic Church will look like a tree.
“I say fight it all the way and maybe some laws can be changed,” Reda said.
However, that fight can be hard to win. That’s something Lakewood parents are learning first-hand, as churches are free to build what they like on their property, pending regulatory approval.
St. Jude Catholic Church has obtained all the necessary permits for the cellphone tower, and the city of Lakewood approved the construction.
The church plans to lease the tower to Verizon. Neither Verizon nor the diocese have disclosed how much money the parish will receive.
Regardless, parents are still hoping to convince the church to rethink its plans. Only time will tell if they’re successful.