Scottsdale residents fight ‘unsightly’ cell phone tower in their neighborhood

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – The possibility of a new cell phone tower isn’t sitting well with residents in an East Scottsdale neighborhood.

If you were in the area near 85th Street and Indian School Road Sunday, you might have noticed a couple dozen large red balloons flying overhead — 50 feet overhead to be exact.

They’re flying at that distance because that is the height of the cell phone tower T-Mobile wants to build. Residents flew the balloons to demonstrate how much they believe the tower would be an eyesore.

“When it’s the centerpiece of your backyard, it’s going to be hard not to notice,” said Don Fitzsimmons, who lives 100 feet from the church. “If I were to sell my house it would definitely be a consideration for any buyer.”

If approved, the tower would be shaped like a palm tree and located in the backyard of the Scottsdale Congregational United Church of Christ.

Some parents are concerned about the health risks.

“It’s not a good thing for our kids,” said Missy Dorer. “We truly don’t know the health impacts.”

Churches will often agree to use their properties for cell phone towers to generate revenue.

Alice Stambaugh is the Chair of Trustees for the church, and says representatives for T-Mobile approached them about a year ago.

“They simply called and asked if we might be interested, and of course we’re looking for income streams,” said Stambaugh. She would not release the amount T-Mobile offered, but said it would be a 30-year contract.

Stambaugh says the last thing the church wants to do is create a rift in the community, but on the other hand, they need to make money in a time when church donations are not as generous as they used to be.

“We’re good people, we do lots of mission work in the community, but we have an old property to maintain,” she said.

Residents near the church received a letter about the proposal back in March. The church has held two community meetings, but ultimately it will be up to the city council to make the call.

You can access the petition against the cell phone tower here

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