CITY HALL — Neighbors objected to the proposed construction of a cellphone tower on Archer Avenue Friday morning, expressing concerns about health, safety, property values and natural beauty.
About 35 to 40 Bridgeport residents showed up at City Hall to object T-Mobile's request to build a cellphone tower in a building at 2601 S. Archer Ave.
The building is zoned for manufacturing, which would allow the construction of a tower there. But T-Mobile wants to build the tower only 5 feet from the sidewalk, and zoning rules call for it to be no closer than 20 feet from the sidewalk, so the company needs permission from the city to proceed.
Linda Moy said the tower would cause congestion on Archer Avenue, reduce property values nearby and hurt the quality of life for families who enjoy nearby parks. Other residents mainly raised objections about safety, citing worries about their health due to possible radiation from the tower.
Blake Sercye, chairman of the city's Zoning Board of Appeals, said federal rules don't allow his board to consider health concerns when deciding whether to allow the tower project.
Michael Bieniek, zoning director at LCC Telecom, said T-Mobile wants to put the tower closer to the sidewalk to make it safer. Moving the tower closer to the sidewalk would avoid conflict between the foundation of the building and the foundation of the tower, he said.
Some opponents of the tower complained that they were notified of the project just two days ago — not enough time for many of them to request time off work to attend Friday morning's hearing and voice their objections.
Eleventh Ward Ald. Patrick D. Thompson held a community meeting Wednesday to discuss the proposal after neighbors raised concerns about the appearance and safety of the tower.
Opponents argued the tower would lower property values of homes in the area by affecting the look and feel of the neighborhood and intruding on the beauty of the area and nearby Palmisano and McGuane parks.
One opponent asked the board whether members would like a cellphone tower built next to their homes, drawing applause from meeting attendees.
Sercye responded that the board was not required to answer such questions.
T-Mobile said building a cellphone tower at the site would improve Wi-Fi connectivity and general calling capability for residents.
The board was expected to vote on the matter late Friday afternoon.