Babcock Ranch’s ongoing cell phone tower placement controversy

Reporter: Annalise Iraola
Published: Updated:

Babcock Ranch is a growing community, although getting good cell phone service can require a tower to be installed.

However, people living there aren’t happy with the proposed location near a school.

Towers transmit and receive cell phone signals using radiofrequency, or RF waves.

The American Cancer Society says there is no strong evidence that exposure to RF waves from cell phone towers causes any noticeable health effects.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. Many expert organizations agree that more research is needed to determine safety, especially when it comes to long-term effects.

A group of people from Babcock Ranch are petitioning to say they don’t want a 5G tower next to Babcock Neighborhood School. Instead they want the cell tower placed four to five miles outside of the town center.

“Everybody understands that we do need cell service. But we just want to oppose the placement of the towers,” Tracy Szelest, a mom and new homeowner in Babcock Ranch, said.

The petition has amassed 231 online signatures. They say the potential health effects from the cell tower’s location are their main concern.

“We feel very passionately that we want the cell tower to be moved to a safer location, the cell tower is still effective at a greater distance by three to five miles. And so we really don’t understand why the cell tower needs to be placed right here where our children play and go to school and where residents are living,” said Allison Burns a concerned mother and resident of Babcock Ranch.

“We’re building a sports field near William and Mary sports field. The Preserve is where the rent on the edge of the Preserve is where the cell towers proposal,” said Bill Pinho, the community patrol director of Babcock Ranch.

Pinho spoke with WINK News about the possibility of a cell tower.

“We just had an annual meeting that was virtual. No one brought these concerns to us. But if there are concerns out there, and it’s impacting a resident, we want to hear about it,” said Pinho.

The main reason for the tower is to improve the signal for the safety of people in Babcock Ranch during an emergency and for first responders.

“If it’s a valid concern, we will bring it to the developer, and they will evaluate the location of the tower. As of right now, we really haven’t received any resident complaints or concerns,” said Pinho.

There is a town hall meeting at Babcock Ranch on Thursday night.

WINK News will be sure to let you know of any updates from the concerned group or the developer about the cell tower’s location plan.

Babcock Ranch provided the below statement regarding the cell tower to WINK News:

“Babcock Ranch’s core initiatives include technology and safety and our commitment to providing reliable cellular communications is of paramount importance to everyone who lives, works or visits our town. This is also a resiliency initiative – everyone needs to be connected in emergency moments and natural disasters. Babcock Ranch will continue to provide a network of cell towers throughout the town to ensure that our communications network remains dependable for the safety and convenience of everyone. Cell towers are located throughout the country and have a proven track record of safety.”

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