Would a new cellphone tower at Fourth Street East and Lovall Valley Road be a beneficial use of private land, or an eyesore and public health hazard?
The Sonoma City Council addressed that question Monday night, eventually siding with neighbors who asked them to kill a proposal by AT&T to build an 80-foot cellphone tower near their homes – a tower the telecom giant says would fix a “significant service capacity gap” downtown.
But our service is fine, said several residents living nearby the proposed site, part of the Sebastiani winery complex. They also said the tower would be a blight on the landscape, even after it’s dressed up as an evergreen tree. And perhaps most controversially, some contended that electromagnetic radiation emissions from cellphone towers pose health hazards to people living nearby.
Those alleged hazards can include DNA damage, protein damage, impaired immunological function, “nerve damage to the brain” and many more terrible maladies, according to Wilking Way resident Jennifer Palladini.
A scientist and a mother of young children, Palladini said her assertions come from peer-reviewed studies indicating that cellphone towers present serious health risks. She and her husband, Mike Palladini, were among a half-dozen residents appealing a recent Planning Commission decision to allow the tower.