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Cell phone tower is planned to be constructed at Magothy & Severn River Schools

It has been brought to my attention that a cell phone tower is planned to be constructed on the grounds of the Magothy / Severn River Middle Schools. There is a community meeting on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at the Broadneck Library (1275 Green Holly Drive, Annapolis, MD) currently scheduled to provide further information and answer questions on the project. The website for the project is: www.mrsrmiddleschoolswireless.com .Please help to oppose building a 110’ Verizon cellphone tower and fenced 35’x75’ compound on the grounds of Magothy River and Severn River Middle Schools. I am requesting your help to providel information to our surrounding community associations to ensure as many people as possible attend the community meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at the Broadneck Library (1275 Green Holly Drive, Annapolis, MD) and wear red! The “fake tree” cellphone tower poses health and safety risks for children, adversely impacts the environment, changes the landscape and view-shed, and kills our property value. The communities surrounding Piney Orchard Elementary School united to prevent cell tower construction with 250 signatures on a petition and launched http://www.aacoacts.org/. If you want to email your opposition to the tower, contact information for school and legislative officials can be found at http://www.aacoacts.org/get-involved/. I have researched the process for constructing the 110’ cell tower at the middle schools and discrepancies are noted below:1. In June 2012, the county Board of Education approved a telecommunications leasing agreement with Milestone Communications (based in Reston, Virginia) which violates the spirit if not letter of county code, banning cell towers within a 200-foot perimeter of county schools. Source: http://www.severnaparkvoice.com/community/plans-cell-towers-county-schools-come-under-fire.2. The approval process on the Milestone/Verizon website http://mrsrmiddleschoolswireless.com/ requires the project is “vetted with Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) staff and school representatives.” When I talked to Kristen Stelzer, the Milestone Communications representative, she said the Principals from both middle schools had already approved the project. When I spoke to Dr. Maisha Gillins, Principal for Severn River Middle School, she said she absolutely did not give her approval. Milestone gave the impression to school officials that information was provided only “as a courtesy” and it was already a “done deal.” 3. For the Initial Principal Meeting the morning of February 18, 2014 – there was a two hour delayed opening of county schools due to snow but Milestone proceeded with the meeting without officials such as Dr. Gillins so the project was not properly vetted through school representatives.4. The community was not adequately notified. Kristen Stelzer, the Milestone representative, said postcards were sent to homes 1/3 mile from the school and Milestone mailed 545 postcards. It appears this is not true since many of our neighbors did not receive the postcard. This inaction contradicts the March 5, 2014 Information Package for Principals which requires outreach to community leaders, neighbors and community organizations. 5. Milestone also requires that “AACPS will provide outreach via the student population” and “send out a school community notification” such as their monthly newsletter but this did not occur. The timing of the May 28 community meeting appears to be good timing for Milestone since it coincides with the end of the school year and vacations. When I asked Ms. Stelzer from Milestone about the timing she responded, “We want to get the meeting done before summer” which makes sense because their initial timeline for the project has construction beginning on July 7 and ending September 3. See: http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/schools/proposed-cell-tower-at-annapolis-middle-school-concerns-neighbors-parents/article_ce39c15d-1dd8-5a5a-96e9-6e67f60a03fe.html?mode=story6. The Board, which is not a taxing authority and its members are not elected, approved this cell tower is an attempt to raise money on its own — outside the purview of the County Council. 7. A Principal’s Information Package dated March 5, 2014 states about the benefit to the school: “…the cash flow benefit for AACPS over ten years would be approximately $448,000; over 30 years the benefit would be approximately $1.7M for each proposed site.” In addition, the Milestone website at http://www.milestonecommunications.com/ states that they partner with schools to enable them to “direct millions of dollars annually to educational and extracurricular budgets.” This is misleading because the county does not have specific plans for the money it raises from cellphone towers and will be directed into a general fund. Source: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013-10-28/news/bs-md-ar-cell-tower-bill-20131017_1_cell-towers-milestone-communications-len-forkas). Thank you for your support.
Janis July 09, 2014 at 10:00 AM
70% of the community members at the meeting signed a PETITION to OPPOSE the construction of this cell tower. http://parentscoalitionmc.blogspot.com/2014/07/70-of-community-opposed-to-cell-tower.html

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