Yarmouth parents are concerned about an array planned for a water tank near town schools.

The Yarmouth Town Council told concerned parents it does not have the authority to overrule a Planning Board decision that will allow Verizon Wireless to install a cellular antenna array on top of the McCartney Street water tower.

More than 20 parents concerned that radio frequency electromagnetic fields emanating from the array might pose a health risk to students at the nearby high school and elementary school brought up the issue at Thursday’s council meeting. The water tower, which is owned by the Yarmouth Water District, is located a few hundred feet from Yarmouth High School and Yarmouth Elementary School.

Parents asked the council to put the Sept. 28 Planning Board approval on hold, but were told that they would have to file a court appeal.

“We were told that to appeal a Planning Board decision, we would have to go to court,” said Leora Rabin, who cited health risks as her major concerns. She also claimed that many Yarmouth residents were not notified about the Planning Board meeting and only found out that a cellphone array had been authorized after the vote had been taken.

Verizon Wireless applied to the town earlier this year for permission to install the cellular antenna array. In June, the Planning Board conducted a site walk. Members met last week and approved the installation.

Town Manager Nat Tupper said the council does not have the authority to repeal a Planning Board decision. If residents want to overturn the decision, they will need to go to court, Tupper said Thursday night.

Tupper said such arrays are not unusual in Yarmouth. He said there are cellphone antennas attached to church steeples and utility poles.

“We are concerned about the impact of twelve panel antennas being placed between two schools, near so many students and families,” Rabin, and her husband, David Inger, wrote in an email to their friends and neighbors. “There are many studies that report adverse health impacts of radio frequency electromagnetic fields.”

Rabin said she is considering filing an appeal of the Planning Board decision.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]


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