Mountain View Voice

News - August 5, 2011

First Presbyterian passes on cell tower deal

by Daniel DeBolt

After being put through the wringer in a neighborhood battle over a church-top cell antenna, Miramonte Avenue's First Presbyterian church will not allow it after all, said Pastor Tim Boyer.

A new steeple in one of the church's buildings would have housed a Clearwire 4G cell phone antenna, according to plans approved by the City Council in January. A board of church elders had also supported the plan, which would have provided monthly income for the church. But opposition came from neighbors and parents of the church-run Little Acorn pre-school on the site, with some saying the church had a "moral obligation" to consider their concerns, including effects on property values and possible human health effects from cell tower radiation.

Neighbor Jared Waxman was one of the opponents, personally filing an appeal against the zoning administrator's approval of the tower to the City Council and raising the $500 fee. Waxman wasn't ready to take any credit for the change, but said it was a relief.

Boyer wouldn't attribute the decision to neighborhood concerns, saying it was "a combination of different things" and "just not the right timing."

Not wanting to guarantee there would not be another cell tower deal on the church's property, Boyer said, "I can never say never."

"We decided that at this time the deal is dead," Boyer said. "The company we were in conversation with has moved on."

Email Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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