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Parents rally against T-mobile cell tower

Burbank to hear appeals Tuesday to planned cell gear inside Little White Chapel.

May 18, 2012|By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com
  • Local residents held a press conference to protest the building of a telecommunications facility on Little White Chapel Christian Church property in the near future.
Local residents held a press conference to protest the… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

Parents of children who attend two schools located near the Little White Chapel held a news conference on Thursday calling on the Burbank City Council to block the installation of a wireless telecommunication facility inside the church because of the dangers they say radio emissions pose to the public.

The public pressure came as the Burbank City Council prepares to hear three appeals on Tuesday to a Planning Board decision to approve the T-Mobile equipment.

Julie Fisher, whose 6-year-old attends Bret Hart Elementary, said her house is only 600 feet from the planned wireless equipment and feels that allowing the installation takes away her rights as a parent.

“[My son] probably plays with my cellphone a bit too much,” Fisher said. “But it's my choice. I tell him when he's allowed to turn it on and when to turn it off…The cellphone tower will be on all the time.”

The wireless equipment would be about 530 feet from Bret Harte Elementary and about 1,055 feet from Luther Burbank Middle School, said Roy Wiegand, who lives across the street from the church.

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Wiegand, father of a seventh-grader at Luther Burbank, said the EMR Policy Institute recommends that wireless telecommunications facilities not be located within 1,500 feet of a school or child care center.

“We, as parents, are put in the especially difficult position as it seems the church, T-Mobile and the city of Burbank feel they know how to safeguard our children better than we do,” Wiegand said.

The City Council approved an ordinance in September allowing wireless communication facilities in single-family residential areas so long as they are installed on an institutional building, such as a church or school.

Federal law prohibits state and local governments from regulating the placement, construction or modification of wireless facilities on the basis of environmental effects of radio frequency emissions.

After news of the Little White Chapel controversy broke out, Burbank Unified announced plans to draftg a ban on wireless telecommunication facilities on any district-owned building.

Wiegand said the equipment's proximity to the schools is still disturbing.

“The tower will affect approximately 1,500 children for six hours a day, Monday through Friday,” Wiegand said.

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