Letter: School cell tower concern

I am very concerned about the Rappahannock County Public Schools’ plans to lease property for a communications tower and cannot find information anywhere. There is nothing on the school’s website about this and I surely do not see anything on the county’s website.

My concerns extend beyond the issue of possible radiation. Yes, I know the studies are inconclusive, but OSHA still requires tower workers to wear radiation detection devices when working on the towers, don’t they? And fixtures for antennas can fail, redirecting that radiation downwards, can’t they? My concerns extend beyond the issue of whether the tower workers on school property will have been screened for illegal drug use or the Sex Offenders Registry, or how the lessee plans to ensure no one can climb the tower who isn’t supposed to. My primary concern is that in an area like Rappahannock County where there are next to no communications towers, a new tower is likely “golden” to the school. Not “golden” in the sense of the possible $40,000-$50,000 of a standard annual tower lease, but in the sense of the potential for such a lease to fetch five times that amount due to tower scarcity.

But without any information to gauge what the school is considering, and not knowing whether they have a radio or cell communications expert advising them, or how the idea of leasing property for a new tower came about (did the school solicit proposals or were they approached by a company?), or what details they are including in their lease agreement, or whether the plans for this tower were (or should be) in any way coordinated with the ongoing fiber-optic cable project along U.S. 211-522 in the county, I worry that the potential for uninformed or poor decisions could be large.

Marian Bragg

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