Meeting Wednesday for Walnut Heights parents and neighbors to air concerns about new wireless tower and possible radiation risks
Walnut Creek School District officials will hear Wednesday evening from Walnut Heights Elementary parents and neighbors about a plan to install a large wireless antenna near the school’s playing fields and private homes.
The antenna will allow an internet provider, Washington-based Clearwire Corp., to convert existing wired broadband Internet customers to its wireless system. According to neighbors, the school district hopes to earn about $40 per day from allowing the antenna on its property. The project was discussed at the district's January 4 board meeting.
Some residents opposing the project say these wireless broadcast Internet antennas are like a cell phone broadcasting towers, “but typically more powerful.” They are concerned about potential health hazards associated with allowing this kind of tower, one that would emit electromagnetic radiation 24 hours a day, to be built near a school.
They note that cell phone towers themselves, as a general rule, are not placed near schools, according to the brochure that opponents are handing out around the neighborhood. “Growing evidence shows that even small emissions from cell phone towers are dangerous to human health … and studies show that living within a quarter mile of such antennas increases cancer three to four times.”
“Studies suggest that children should be kept at least 1,300 feet from such emitters” and that “Los Angeles County is stopping all such installations near schools,” the brochure says.
One resident of Bellows Court, which runs directly east of the Walnut Heights school playing field, e-mailed the school district, expressing concerns about possible health risks. He said that the proposed tower would go up 350 feet from his bedroom window.
He also warned of a decline in real estate home values in the neighborhood, because of potential health risks and because the tower would be unattractive.
I e-mailed the Walnut Creek District’s Superintendent Patty Wool and Director of Construction and Maintenance Stuart House for more information about the project, including any reports or studies that have so far been produced. I didn’t receive anything by the weekend, other than a notice from House about the Wednesday evening meeting which will take place 6:30 p.m. in the Walnut Heights multi-purpose room.