Monday, December 24, 2012

Cell phone companies want to put up more towers in residential areas; what do our communities want?

I remember the first time I really got to know most of my neighbors in my Broward County homeowners' association. We were in the process of being wooed by a very large telecommunications company who wanted to convince us how swell it would be to have a 75-foot cell phone tower disguised as a giant flagpole with a car dealership-type flag directly adjacent to our community's entrance.

Despite the free cookies and large Chesire cat grins maintained achingly by the cell company ambassadors, none of us were buying into this vision. Why was my community not enthralled with the pitch? For some of us, our concerns centered on the aesthetics of viewing the unsightly structure on our daily departure and re-entry to the community. For others, their opposition stemmed from perceived health risks and a general outrage that big business was too lazy to situate a commercial structure in a more appropriate commercial location. Regardless of our individual reasons, we quickly got to know each other, got organized and the association hired counsel to fight the placement of this structure in a residential neighborhood.

Naturally, the cell phone company had their legal counsel try to bully and badger us but we were successful in our fight and the cell tower was ultimately located in a commercial location. I hadn't thought about that battle for quite some time until yesterday's front page article on the cell tower debate heading to the Florida Supreme Court. Apparently all our smartphones, tablets and other gadgets require a lot of juice and the cell phone companies would have us believe that the only space left to power them up is in or near our private residential communities and parks. The outcome of that case might see a lot more giant flagpoles and fake pine trees popping up in places they are not wanted.

While I enjoy my share of electronic gadgetry, I would undertake the battle again if my private residential community was in the crosshairs of big business. It will be interesting to see if other affected associations engage on this issue and follow a similar path to the one my community took. If nothing else, a common enemy can bring a warring community closer together than anything else. We still have neighbors who remain friendly until today because they put aside petty squabbles once they found themselves on the same side of the cell tower battle lines. Tecnhology is great but to most people, their homes are sacred. To read more on the Sun Sentinel cell tower article, click here: http://www.menafn.com/menafn/41368fe5-aed9-44a6-8177-6ad41940b33c/Fights-over-cell-towers-could-affect-service?src=main

5 comments:

  1. The issue in communities is capacity and coverage. I'm not a fan of the big telecom companies but I understand the need for smaller cell sites and hence, more of them. As the traffic (# of users) increases, the cell sites must become smaller and more are needed to accommodate the number of users. In large urban areas, cell sites are not towers, but small antennas mounted on buildings or rooftops. In downtown Chicago, for example, you would never know that the cellsites are there. It is not as easy as having a larger tower in a commercial location. It also depends on what type of communications equipment is used - is it TDMA, CDMA or GSM?

    The greater danger is actually the hand held device and users who glue them to their ears.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I completely understand your point in this article, but isn't it us "the consumers" driving or pushing the need or want of these towers? In most conversations I have with people a land line in their home is non-existent due to the lowering cost of cell phone plans, but what if their carrier doesn't have a tower near their home and they can't get reception in their house? The two places we want to use our cell phones is sitting in our home or sitting at our desk at work. How many times has someone complained about their service and wished they could get full signal while using their hand held device? For instance my boss has to walk outside our office building in order to carry on a conversation on his cell phone and the same goes for his house, but since he loves having the single most poplar phone on the planet and being locked into a multi year plan he is stuck for now, Unless they install a "flagpole" or "pine tree" closer to those 2 locations and with 4G being a necessity for most now, consumers will call these big businesses demanding coverage. If we want one we'll eventually have to deal with the other. Just my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The consumers are driving this and it will be interesting to see what matters most to folks: their cell service or the residential nature of their community. In my community, we discussed that and the consensus was that we would rather put up with dropped calls than have to live with the tower directly in our sights. Jean is right that in urban settings this isn't really much of a problem but in Florida, the challenges are a little different.

    ReplyDelete
  4. If you want to make money for your community then set up a lease agreement or sell them the property for the tower. They do not have the right to eminent domain. They are not a public utility. They do let the flags become torn and tattered! The flag needs to be lite during darkness. Unfortunately today's technology requires more and more cell towers.

    ReplyDelete
  5. If you want to make money for your community then set up a lease agreement or sell them the property for the tower. They do not have the right to eminent domain. They are not a public utility. They do let the flags become torn and tattered! The flag needs to be lite during darkness. Unfortunately today's technology requires more and more cell towers.

    ReplyDelete