Cellphone tower proposal debated in Vienna

Nearly 100 people turned up for the meeting about the cellphone tower. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

VIENNA, Va. — A proposed cellphone tower is getting some push back from some neighbors in Vienna. But residents did get a chance to air their concerns at a two-hour community meeting Wednesday night at Andrew Chapel United Methodist Church.

The proposed tower would be built on church property. While it would bring in a steady stream of revenue for the church and better cell service for residents in the area, not everyone is happy with the idea.

“The objective tonight is for you to leave here with your questions answered,” David Nordean, of the church, said at the meeting.

“I doubt we’re going to change your minds, but you have the opportunity to voice your concerns,” he said.

Nearly 100 people turned out for the meeting, including RF compliance expert Tony DeMattia; Thomas Murray, of Community Wireless Structures; and Ingrid Mohn, who lives close to the church and is very concerned about health and safety issues, especially since the cell tower would be built so close to an elementary school.

Mohn said the only good that could come out of the meeting would be if they were to say that the tower would be built someplace else.

“A lot of us believe that there’s a health danger. The studies about the radio frequency emissions from cell towers are inconclusive,” said Mohn, a cancer survivor.

Mohn had her mind made up before the meeting started.

Frank Almaguer and his wife decided before the meeting to support the tower. And after the meeting, the couple came away even more comfortable about the safety issue.

“I am quite confident. I don’t have any reason to feel concerned,” Almaguer said.

The next step in the approval process for the tower comes May 22, when the Fairfax County Planning Commission holds a public hearing.

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