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T-Mobile Installation on Waterford Square Condominium Flatly Rejected Again

Reston Association’s Design Review Board unanimously shot down T-Mobile’s plans to install cell phone equipment on the roof of Waterford Square Condominiums Tuesday night — noting that the company’s tweaked plans did little to address residents’ concerns about the equipment’s incompatibility with the building.

T-Mobile proposed to install cell phone equipment on the building, igniting vehement opposition from residents’ who argued the equipment was extremely visible, damaged the building’s character and posed possible health concerns.

Richard Newlon, the DRB’s chair, said T-Mobile’s plan, which was similar to plans rejected by the board in April, did little to address the panel’s concerns about the visibility of the equipment. Panels are around 12 feet high and 10 feet wide.

“It was clear in April that this kind of design is not going to get approved by this board and it’s the same design,” Newlon said. “It’s almost embarrassing to be sitting here saying the same thing again and I don’t want to be… six months from now… saying the same thing again.”

DRB members also worried that installing cell phone equipment on a residential building could lead to similar proposals by other service providers. The redevelopment of Lake Anne Fellowship House prompted T-Mobile to remove its equipment from the rooftop and scout for other locations in Reston.

More than 25 people, including condominium residents and neighbors of the building, opposed the plan on Tuesday. Some noted that their stance was not indicative of mere opposition to change, adding that residents of the condominium were exploring the possibility of installing solar panels on the roof.

“We’re not trying to live in the past,” one resident, who lived in the building for roughly 20 years, said.

Ed Donahue, T-Mobile’s legal representative, said the company had attempted to strike a compromise by scaling back the structure from the edge of the roof and installing plastic, brick-like screening for the equipment. Donahue also noted that possible health concerns and zoning were outside of the DRB’s purview.

“We are in full compliance of the federal guidelines as we are on the thousands of sites in Virginia,” Donahue said, comparing T-Mobile’s plans to a similar installation at the Heron House.

Other DRB members said that T-Mobile failed to convince the board how the cell phone equipment and towers would be compatible with the architectural integrity of the building.

“I still see that it’s visible and it does detract from the architecture and the roofline,” said Grace Peters, a DRB member.

The equipment by other companies displaced by development at the Lake Anne Fellowship House have not yet proposed plans for reinstallation to other sites.

Photo via handout/Reston Association

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Crossfield Parents Plan Protest of Proposed Cell Phone Tower

Proposed cell tower (tree) at Crossfield ES/Courtesy Verizon

A Fairfax County Planning Commission staff report recommends approval of a proposed cell phone tower to be built on the grounds of Crossfield Elementary School off Fox Mill Road.

Milestone Communications (on behalf of Verizon Wireless) is seeking to build a 138-foot tall monopole on the grounds of the school. The pole, which would be built to look like an evergreen tree, would be able to carry signals from five mobile carriers in order to fill in gaps in coverage. The pole would be on a 2,500-square-foot area surrounded by an 8-foot fence.

Crossfield Map/Credit: Milestone CommunicationsThere will be a planning commission hearing on the application on Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center.

This is the second time in the last three years Reston-based Milestone has proposed a monopole at Crossfield. The company had a similar application in 2013, but withdrew it based on objections from residents.

Residents are perhaps even more upset at the latest proposal. They have organized a petition, put up a “Stop The Crossfield Tower” website and plan to testify at Wednesday’s hearing.

Says the petition:

The cell tower proposed for Crossfield Elementary is not needed — a ‘significant gap in coverage’ does not exist in this area, as defined by Federal requirements. Eighty-two (82) towers are active within a 4-mile radius of the site — and the poor cell reception within the school and in nearby homes can be fixed with inexpensive signal boosters.

Cell towers near elementary schools concern home shoppers enough to lower property values, and they are an eyesore even when disguised as “trees.”

In addition, there is enough scientific uncertainty about the health risk cellular radiation poses to small children that we must protect these kids rather than ignore the evidence and be sorry later. This school has 3- and 4-year-old preschoolers who could be exposed daily to this radiation for nine years. No studies to date have been done on children to measure the effect of long-term exposure to non-ionizing radiation (the type emitted by cellular towers).

The World Health Organization cautions to avoid exposure to non-ionizing radiation as a cancer prevention strategy. We must be proactive in protecting our families, financially and physically, by eliminating this unnecessary risk.

Find a different place to put this tower! We, the local residents and school parents, DO NOT want it.
The neighbors have also sent letters to school and county officials.

There was also a proposal by AT&T and Milestone for a pole at Hunters Woods Park, a Reston Association property, in June of 2014. The RA Design Review Board nixed the idea of a 115-foot pole in the woods behind a soccer field.

But many poles have been built on to public lands in recent years. South Lakes High School, Herndon Middle School, Madison High School and Carson Middle School are among the many FCPS properties that have cell phone towers on their grounds.

The cell phone companies pay the landowners to lease the pole space. FCPS, for instance, has made more than $4 million from the arrangement over the last several years, FCPS officials said.

Milestone collects rent from the wireless carriers on its towers, 40 percent of which goes to FCPS. Schools receive $25,000 each time a tower is built, and then $5,000 from each wireless carrier that leases space on the tower.

Milestone says schools and parks are ideal locations for these towers because they often have existing structures, such as field light poles, in place.

FCPS has cited studies on cell phone towers being located on school grounds and says the practice is safe.

The Crossfield parents disagree.

“Our elected Fairfax County Officials are ignoring their constituents and choosing to support a third-party vendor relationship (Verizon/Milestone) over the safety of Crossfield and Fairfax County children for less than $200 a month for the school,” Crossfield parent Lisa Namerow said in an email to concerned parents.

“And FCPS has plans to do it at many other FFX County schools — over 90 schools on the “list. … We don’t want the tower to be placed next to the playground and by the kids’ walking path to school. There are multiple risks (safety, school ratings decline, impact on property values). FCPS is the landowner and has the power to pull the application.”

Photos: Renderings of look and location of proposed cell phone monopole at Crossfield Elementary School/Milestone Communications.

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Crossfield ES Cell Tower Plan Will Have Public Hearing in September

Proposed cell tower (tree) at Crossfield ES/Courtesy Verizon

Updated: The public hearing has been moved to Sept. 28 (it was originally reported to be Sept. 15

The plan to build a cell phone tower disguised as a tree at Crossfield Elementary School in Oak Hill will go before the Fairfax County Planning Commission in September.

Verizon Wireless is seeking to build the tower at the Fairfax County Public Schools’ elementary school at 2791 Fox Mill Rd. on the Reston/Oak Hill line in order to improve cell phone coverage in the area.

Verizon is working with local firm Milestone Communications to get approval to build the 138-foot tower and improve cell phone reception in the area.

The request to build the pole comes about three years after a similar proposal fell apart in the application process. T-Mobile and Milestone filed an application in November of 2013 seeking to build at Crossfield. The request was postponed indefinitely.

There is organized opposition to the construction, just as there was in 2013. A group of residents has organized an online petition.

Says the petition:

The cell tower proposed for Crossfield Elementary is not needed — a ‘significant gap in coverage’ does not exist in this area, as defined by Federal requirements. Eighty-two (82) towers are active within a 4-mile radius of the site – and the poor cell reception within the school and in nearby homes can be fixed with inexpensive signal boosters.

Cell towers near elementary schools concern home shoppers enough to lower property values, and they are an eyesore even when disguised as “trees.”

In addition, there is enough scientific uncertainty about the health risk cellular radiation poses to small children that we must protect these kids rather than ignore the evidence and be sorry later. This school has 3- and 4-year-old preschoolers who could be exposed daily to this radiation for nine years. No studies to date have been done on children to measure the effect of long-term exposure to non-ionizing radiation (the type emitted by cellular towers).

The World Health Organization cautions to avoid exposure to non-ionizing radiation as a cancer prevention strategy. We must be proactive in protecting our families, financially and physically, by eliminating this unnecessary risk.

Find a different place to put this tower! We, the local residents and school parents, DO NOT want it.

The neighbors have also sent letters to school and county officials.

There was also a proposal by AT&T and Milestone for a pole at Hunters Woods Park, a Reston Association property, in June of 2014. The RA Design Review Board nixed the ideaof a 115-foot pole in the woods behind a soccer field.

But many poles have been built on to public lands in recent years. South Lakes High School, Herndon Middle School, Madison High School and Carson Middle School are among the many FCPS properties that have cell phone towers on their grounds.

The cell phone companies pay the landowners to lease the pole space. FCPS, for instance, has made more than $4 million from the arrangement over the last several years, FCPS officials said.

Milestone collects rent from the wireless carriers on its towers, 40 percent of which goes to FCPS. Schools receive $25,000 each time a tower is built, and then $5,000 from each wireless carrier that leases space on the tower.

Milestone says schools and parks are ideal locations for these towers because they often have existing structures, such as field light poles, in place.

FCPS says it has has done studies on cell phones being located on school grounds and has determined the practice is safe.

The planning commission meeting is Sept. 28 at 8:15 p.m. There will be a public hearing portion. To sign up in advance, visit the planning commission website.

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Verizon Considering Cell Phone Tower at Crossfield Elementary

Crossfield Map/Credit: Milestone Communications

A cell phone monopole is back in play for Crossfield Elementary School.

Verizon Wireless is seeking to build a cell phone tower at the Fairfax County Public Schools elementary school at 2791 Fox Mill Rd.

Verizon is working with local firm Milestone Communications to get approval to build the pole and improve cell phone reception in the area. The proposal is for a 138-foot tower disguised to look like a tree.

The request to build the pole comes about 2 1/2 years after a similar proposal fell apart in the application process. T-Mobile and Milestone filed an application in November of 2013 seeking to build at Crossfield. The request was postponed indefinitely.

Meanwhile, there was organized resident opposition to the 2013 proposal, including a petition signed by fewer than 200 people. Residents said there was already a cell phone tower nearby, that the tower would affect home values, and that cell phones should not be allowed on elementary school property because studies showing longterm health effects are inconclusive.

There was also a proposal by AT&T and Milestone for a pole at Hunters Woods Park, a Reston Association property, in June of 2014. The RA Design Review Board nixed the idea of a 115-foot pole in the woods behind a soccer field.

But many poles have been built on to public lands in recent years. South Lakes High School, Herndon Middle School, Madison High School and Carson Middle School are among the many FCPS properties that have cell phone towers on their grounds.

The cell phone companies pay the landowners to lease the pole space. FCPS, for instance, has made more than $4 million from the arrangement over the last several years, FCPS officials said.

Milestone collects rent from the wireless carriers on its towers, 40 percent of which goes to FCPS. Schools receive $25,000 each time a tower is built, and then $5,000 from each wireless carrier that leases space on the tower.

Milestone says schools and parks are ideal locations for these towers because they often have existing structures, such as field light poles, in place.

FCPS says it has has done studies on cell phones being located on school grounds and has determined the practice is safe.

Have some thoughts on a pole for Crossfield? A community meeting has been scheduled for May 19, 7 p.m., at the North County Government Center, Hunter Mill District Office, 1801 Cameron Glen Dr.

Map of proposed cell phone tower location/Credit Milestone Communications

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UPDATE: Reston DRB Nixes Cell Tower For Hunters Woods Park

Proposed location of cell phone pole at Hunters Woods Park/Credit: MilestoneReston Association’s Design Review Board on Tuesday unanimously denied the proposal for a 115-foot cell phone tower in Hunters Woods Park.

The tower would have been the first such structure on RA land, though there have been requests to do so before. One of those requests was dropped by the carrier; the other was also denied by the DRB.

Reston-based Milestone Communications and AT&T sought to install a monopole in the wooded area behind the soccer field at the park off of Reston Parkway. The equipment would be located in a fenced-in area of the park and would include cables and other support structures.

The DRB concurred with several community members that spoke of their concerns with the environment, property values and damage to trees, among others, at Tuesday’s meeting.

Milestone has teamed with local entities many times over the last several years. There are several hundred existing cell phone poles on Fairfax County Public Schools land, including at South Lakes High School, Herndon Middle School, Madison High School and Carson Middle School, to name a few.

The cell phone tower would have been a moneymaker for Reston Association. The cell phone companies pay the landowners to lease the pole space. FCPS, for instance, has made more than $4 million from the arrangement over the last six years, FCPS officials said.

Milestone collects rent from the wireless carriers on its towers, 40 percent of which goes to FCPS. Schools receive $25,000 each time a tower is built, and then $5,000 from each wireless carrier that leases space on the tower.

Milestone says schools and parks are ideal locations for these towers because they often have existing structures, such as field light poles, in place. Many Milestone towers are disguised as trees, so lots of times they go unnoticed.

FCPS has done studies on cell phones being located on school grounds and has determined the practice is safe.

File photo of proposed cell phone pole/Credit: Milestone

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