Petition 2015-2016


We the undersigned concerned citizens are opposed to Verizon's plan to install a telecommunications facility on the roof of the two-story music recording studio at 960 Arlington Avenue at Lowell Street, Oakland, in a predominantly residential neighborhood.  The facility will include 8 Cell Antennas, two generators, gas lines, a cooling system, and four associated equipment cabinets located inside the building.  Our opposition is based upon the following concerns:

World Health Organization studies have shown that children exposed to cell tower radiation have experienced severe health effects including increases in rates of asthma, autism, ADHD and other ailments. Adults can and do experience EMF sensitivity, the effects of which can include dizziness, migraine headaches, heart palpitations and nosebleeds. And the International Association of Firefighters "oppose the use of fire-stations as base stations for towers and/or antennas for the conduction of cell phone transmissions until it is proven that such sitings are not hazardous the health of our members." (link)
Many in our neighborhood have pets, and several varieties of birds make their home here, including owls, hummingbirds, and the occasional Red-Tail Hawk. While it is inconclusive whether EMF directly causes the impairment of birds and animals, and more research is needed, one recent review of 113 studies from peer-reviewed publications found that two-thirds of the studies reported"ecological effects of RF-EMF at high as well as at low dosages." (See "A review of the ecological effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF)).  Given the suspected risk of harm to the public and environment due to Electro-Magnetic Frequencies (EMF), and in the absence of scientific consensus that EMF is not harmful, the best course is not to site telecommunications facilities in residential areas.

We were shocked to learn that neighbors within 300 feet of the project site did not receive an initial notice of the plan, as required by the City of Oakland Planning Department.  Verizon and the City have been in the planning process for this project since at least October 6, 2014, yet most of us were first made aware of the project when the Public Notice was posted outside the building on or around March 1st, 2015.  The Public Notice also said the plan was on the Planning Commission Consent Calendar for March 18th!  We in the neighborhood were treated as an afterthought.  We were denied the time necessary to educate ourselves and understand what a cluster of 8 cell antennas could mean for our neighborhood. Our community has the right to determine if this sizable cell antenna facility is compatible with our neighborhood.  We don't believe it is.  Not for ours or any residential neighborhood.

Decrease in home value due to perceived negative health effects. Although the telecommunications act of 1996 doesn't allow a municipality to prohibit the location of cell towers based on adverse health effects, people’s fears about the presence of electro-magnetic signals will drive down home values. Research shows home values drop between 4-20% where cell towers are installed in residential areas (see "A Pushback Against Cell Towers" by M. Fischler NY Times, 8/27/10, and "The effect of distance to cell phone towers on house prices" by Sandy Bond, Appraisal Journal, Fall 2007). If home values drop, the City loses too, as property taxes are lower.

Cell Antenna facilities require maintenance that may be performed at any time, day or night. We will see an increase in trucks and service personnel that will be an additional unnecessary public nuisance. Additionally, the operation of a generator and cooling systems is quite likely to increase noise levels especially for those living close to and in the building, and the back-up diesel generators will add to air pollution in our neighborhood. 

In light of all above factors we the undersigned request that Verizon Wireless, the City of Oakland, and the owner of the building, Mr. Thomas McElroy, immediately halt the planned installation of EMF antennas at 960 Arlington Avenue, Oakland