Alki cell-antenna opponents pursuing appeal, planning rally

(WSB photo)
The rooftop of the Stevens Crest Apartments on the southeast corner of 61st/Stevens in Alki is the latest battleground for concerns over the installation of cell-phone antennas in local neighborhoods. City approval for 12 new antennas on that rooftop has been appealed, with the city Hearing Examiner scheduled to consider the case in July, and before that, opponents who have formed a group called “Stop Alki Cell Towers” have announced a community rally at the beach for next Thursday (May 7th).

We mentioned the opposition to the proposed antennas back in March, when it was one of the issues that community members brought to Mayor Murray during his coffee-conversation stop after a Junction/Triangle walking tour; we also noted that an online petition had been launched. Here’s the “appeal statement” that has been filed with the city; nearby residents say they are worried about health risks, proximity to Alki Elementary (3 blocks east – here’s a map), noise, and visual effects. To the latter point, the following document from the online project file shows simulations of what Verizon and its project team say the antennas would look like if/when installed:

The installation also requires an equipment room – “supporting BTS (Base Transmission System) radio equipment” – in the building basement, according to other documents in the online file, apparently on the parking level, which is beneath three levels of apartments in the building.

Meantime, here’s what “Stop Alki Cell Towers” spokesperson Barb Morgen says about the plan for Thursday’s protest:

The group will be hosting an information rally and demonstration on the beach near the Bathhouse at Alki Beach Park on Thursday, May 7 at 7 pm, immediately following the PTA meeting at Alki Elementary School. Parents, kids, neighbors and all who use Alki Beach Park are welcome to join us. We will be making S’Mores for the kids, sharing information on the proposed towers, and how everyone can help with the group’s appeal to Seattle DPD to stop the towers from being built. The rally and demonstration will end with replicas of the 12 cell towers being burned in protest, in a fire pit at Alki Beach.

The construction-permit application for the antennas has not received final approval; the review is on hold until there’s a decision on the aforementioned appeal.

EDITOR’S NOTE, ADDED WEDNESDAY: Alki Elementary’s PTA tells us they do NOT have a meeting this Thursday – their next meeting is a week later, on May 14th, and is entirely unrelated to this topic – so we have struck that part of the group’s announcement, above.

38 Replies to "Alki cell-antenna opponents pursuing appeal, planning rally"

  • G May 3, 2015 (8:36 pm)

    S’Mores for the kids and burning cell tower replica’s? And I used to think California was kooky.

  • ChefJoe May 3, 2015 (8:49 pm)

    “We will be directly and adversely impacted by the visual, aesthetic, noise, perceived health affects (sic) and other impacts of the proposal.”

    “Studies (uncited) have estimated 10-20% reduction of property values when cell towers are placed in close proximity to a property.”

    Of course, having cell phone reception in your home probably correlates with a higher property value.

  • alki resident May 3, 2015 (9:09 pm)

    Im appalled that the smores are for the kids only.

  • KBear May 3, 2015 (9:17 pm)

    Do these people actually not have cell phones, or do they just want the towers built in the nearest low-income neighborhood?

  • dcn May 3, 2015 (9:56 pm)

    The American Cancer Society discusses the issues of RF radiation from cell phone towers here:
    Their main point is that there is no danger either on the ground or in the building where the towers are mounted. Radio frequency (RF) waves are non-ionizing, which means they are too low frequency to cause cancer.
    RF waves at high amplitude can heat up body tissues, so you might not want to hang out on the roof of that building for extended periods of time. But exposure follows the inverse square law. This means that if distance is doubled, exposure is only one quarter of what it was. The strength of the radio waves at ground level is very low. The students at Alki elementary are perfectly safe, as are residents both in and near the building.
    The link also states that you get 100 times more radiation from using a cell phone than by being near a cell phone tower. The cell phone has zero distance between you and your brain.

  • mrsB May 3, 2015 (10:20 pm)

    And these are the first people to complain about poor reception, dropped calls, etc. NIMBYs!!

  • ChefJoe May 3, 2015 (10:34 pm)

    alki resident, on FB they’re saying smores for all. You could probably get a few extra if you point out that the char on the marshmallow creates an FDA classified carcinogen more correlated to cancer than cell phone towers.
    “This event will be kid friendly with S’mores available to everyone. “

  • Dis May 3, 2015 (10:42 pm)

    C’mon, really?

  • Jack Carson May 3, 2015 (10:51 pm)

    This nimbisim has to stop. Most all of us use cell phones and will benefit by these antennas. The research is clear the only threat these pose is to some peoples believes.

  • Lez May 4, 2015 (5:20 am)

    Are these people serious? Really?

  • Rick May 4, 2015 (6:18 am)

    Crap, I’m going back to the farm in Kansas. Ya know– dirt means you eat. That means you live. Die with your device.

  • Nick May 4, 2015 (6:42 am)

    Yes for cellphone towers!!!!!

  • alki resident May 4, 2015 (6:56 am)

    ChefJoe- I was kidding but your point is even funnier, yet ironic. Thanks for the tip.

  • Cell May 4, 2015 (7:07 am)

    I love everyone’s comments here! Spot on! Cell sites are everywhere. You want coverage? Stop complaining. I also agree with K Bear….these people would be perfectly fine if this was in someone else’s neighborhood. There’s wireless on top of the apt that Celtic Swell is in as well as an apt closer to beach drive. They’ve been there for years. The smores that will be served are worse for you than an antenna.

  • Born on Alki 59 May 4, 2015 (9:03 am)

    You can’t have your S’mores and eat them too. Ironically half the kids at Alki Elementary have cell phones. Cell sites are everywhere, get over it.

  • keden May 4, 2015 (9:17 am)

    This is the definition of “first world problem”.

  • Kristy May 4, 2015 (10:03 am)

    Some people may think it is ignorant to think such RF fequency can cause harm to the human body, but the fear is real… Your body turns the RF radiation into heat which puts stress on your body that it was not designed for. There are many health issues these days, not just cancer and its ignorant to think that this is not one of the contributors. The goal is to not have our kids be the test subjects to find in 30 years that it does increase the possibility of,cancer, autoimmune disease, debilitating symptoms including excessive fatigue, headaches, weakness, memory impairment, tinnitus, dizziness, irritability, sleep disturbances, vertigo, and balance problems and who knows what else…..

  • P May 4, 2015 (10:07 am)

    The West Seattle Anti-Everythingism has reached new levels of stupidity.

    • WSB May 4, 2015 (10:15 am)

      This isn’t the first time cell installations have been challenged/appealed, and West Seattle is certainly not the only place it’s happened. Again, most neighborhoods are lacking a comprehensive news publication these days so you just hear about more of everything here. We don’t routinely cover cell-antenna applications unless there is an unusual angle such as neighborhood opposition, BTW, but they do generate land-use notifications that anyone interested can track via the usual means – yellow land-use-application sign in front of the property, watching the Land Use Information Bulletin, etc. Anyway, most recent local challenge we recall was this one that went to an appeal hearing in 2008, also in the Alki area:

  • au May 4, 2015 (10:23 am)

    i’m with rick, i’m going back to the farm, except it just won’t be kansas :)

  • dhg May 4, 2015 (10:42 am)

    “The body turns RF into heat”….. um, like the sun? or a fireplace?

    I think dcn makes a very very good point: there is a much greater chance of harm in USING a phone than in living next to the tower. And even that has not been shown to correlate to any cancers.

  • JVP May 4, 2015 (10:44 am)

    Oh this is just rich. I expect that not a single person appealing this uses a cell phone. If they do have one, then maybe this is meant to be ironic?
    I also hope they petition the school to get rid of all wifi routers in the school.
    I mean, COME ON!

  • Artie635 May 4, 2015 (11:03 am)

    Cellphones are the real problem people! Look up from your text messages for long enough to realize it and see the truth!!

    More towers means more people distracted driving. Just wait until a texting driver plows through a line of kindergarteners in the crosswalk and THEN tell me that these towers are a good idea.

    Leave them out of my neighborhood!

  • jwright May 4, 2015 (2:19 pm)

    Artie635, You’ve mastered the art of alarmist hyperbole.
    Anyone who signs onto this appeal ought to be required to renounce cell phone use by themselves and everyone else in their household.
    Just out of curiosity I followed the links to the Stop Alki Cell Tower Facebook page. The “studies” and “polls” cited have the stench of “unscientific” and “crackpot.” I can appreciate the desire to come up with something–anything–to substantiate the cause, but in the end when you resort to referencing non-credible sources of FUD you just come across like a bunch of tinfoil-hat wearing conspiracy nuts.

  • I read the links out of curiosity. May 4, 2015 (5:16 pm)

    But jwright, some of those links are actually credible. But the group has misconstrued the meaning.
    For example, the WHO link says, ” Using the phone in areas of good reception also decreases exposure as it allows the phone to transmit at reduced power. ” (1) The link is not talking about radiation from towers, but radiation from holding the phone next to your head, and (2) This implies more towers = LESS radiation exposure, as phones can transmit at lower radiation levels.

  • I read the links out of curiosity. May 4, 2015 (5:18 pm)

    I think my kids might be safer if a Beach Drive call to 911 goes to a tower in Seattle instead of a tower on Vashon.

  • Guy Olson May 4, 2015 (8:58 pm)

    We just don’t want cell towers in our neighborhood. Good grief, lots of tough talk for people using blog nicknames.

  • jwright May 4, 2015 (10:13 pm)

    Guy, speaking for myself, not “tough talk” just disdain of FUD-based NIMBYism.

  • Kristy May 5, 2015 (10:22 am)

    In regards to this comment:
    “The body turns RF into heat”….. um, like the sun? or a fireplace?

    The differeance is the RF is not organic in this case.
    Biological effects that result from heating of tissue by RF energy is known as “thermal” effects. It has been known for many years that exposure to high levels of RF radiation can be harmful due to the ability of RF energy to rapidly heat biological tissue. Tissue damage in humans could occur during exposure to RF levels because of the body’s inability to cope with or dissipate the excessive heat that is generated. Two areas of the body, the eyes and the testes, are particularly vulnerable to RF heating because of the relative lack of available blood flow to dissipate the excessive heat load. At relatively low levels of exposure to RF radiation the evidence for harmful biological effects is ambiguous and unproven. It is generally agreed that further research is needed to determine the effects and their possible relevance, to human health. We are simply not interested in having our children in the Alki community be the test subjects for further research and wonder why they cant have kids in the future :(. Understanding there is alot of “proven research” that explains how RF is not dangerous, but I think we all can agree that research can be wrong too… It did take 35 years to realize cigarettes are dangerous…….

  • Artie635 May 5, 2015 (11:09 am)

    JW, please refrain from personal attacks on my character, I in no way have “mastered the art of alarmist hyperbole”!!

    I don’t even need to read your links to know that Cell phones are a quickly becoming a menace. My grandfather grew up WITHOUT cell phones and guess what? He lived to 76 without any of the modern diseases we’re starting to hear so much about. Autism anyone??

    Give me a call when you get diagnosed with a phone shaped tumor in your head! These towers are part of the proliferation of dangerous, unnecessary technology that is quickly taking over our world. And people like you just welcome it with opened arms.

    Pretty scary if you ask me.

  • Alki PTA Member May 5, 2015 (1:05 pm)

    There is no Alki Elementary PTA meeting happening on May 7th. Not sure where that information was obtained? Our next General PTA meeting is May 14th from 6:30-7:30pm. Thanks!

    • WSB May 5, 2015 (1:30 pm)

      As attributed, to the organizers. They suggested they had been closely involved with the PTA and that it had circulated the petition, so if that’s not so, somebody with the PTA might want to make contact with this group. Note the same verbiage is on their Facebook event page:

  • dcn May 5, 2015 (10:10 pm)

    I checked out the FB page for the opposition group, and the articles referenced in the online petition with I was interested in looking at research that provides evidence regarding potential dangers of cell phone towers. What’s interesting is that both the articles concerning the health effects of RF radiation deal with the effects of using cell phones, not effects from towers. In fact, the article linked as “Health Effects of Cell Phone Towers quotes this as a way to reduce your radiation exposure:
    “Use Your Cell Phone Only Where Reception is Good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.”
    This would argue that the new cell phone towers would reduce exposure by increasing reception in that area.
    The RF radiation from the cell phone towers themselves would be negligible at the distance of the tower to the ground due to the inverse square law. The bigger danger is the very small distance of the phone to your brain.
    The only article that talked about the negative effects of cell phone towers was the one that discussed the drop in property values.

  • Ray May 6, 2015 (6:11 am)

    Cell towers emit very high levels of RF Radiofrequency radiation.

    There are many peer reviewed studies that report adverse health effects for those who live near cell towers.

    Increased cancer incidence is one issue.

    Neurological changes are another problem.

    Those who live near towers experience much higher risk of sleep issues, headaches, nausea, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, and a host of other issues.

    Mainstream sources claim that there is no evidence of harm from cell towers, but this is quickly and easily disproven simply by looking to peer reviewed science.

    If you could measure the radiation levels (which I do professionally), you would see that the levels are extremely high, and unless you were a complete fool, you wouldn’t want one of these near your home either.

  • I read the links out of curiosity May 6, 2015 (9:20 am)

    Ray – could you please provide links to abstracts of a few of those peer reviewed studies? Particular helpful would be peer-reviewed studies that have addressed the difficulty of controlling for environmental pollutants that correlate with population density or urban conditions.

  • Artie635 May 6, 2015 (1:15 pm)


    Today I did my part to put my money where my mouth is at and threw my Cell phone in the recycling bin.

    I encourage the rest of you to do the same!!

  • sarah May 6, 2015 (7:17 pm)

    Artie, the world needs more people like you… who understand that if they want to protect the health of our environment, for the health of all people, they are going to have to make choices.

    The convenience and “fun” of cell phones (and much new technology) comes at a price.
    Cell towers and their health hazards is a big one
    to pay, when most cell phone usage is not even
    necessary. Our naive society should really start waking up and realizing that Motorola ($$$), like Monsanto, truly does not have the public’s best interest at heart.
    Kudos to the group raising the awareness and discussion per the cell towers. Yep, there are ironies, but changes in the world for good, start with small steps.
    Below are excellent sources of information:

    google: The BioInitiative Report
    This is written by scientists around the world so deeply concerned about the health damages of cell phone, wifi, smartmeter technology, that they have
    put their reputations at risk to heroically speak out. Among them is our own Dr. Henry Lai, from the
    U.W. whom Motorola tried to get fired, years ago, when he was finding that cell phone usage causes DNA damage.

    google: Take Back Your Power
    its a documentary you can download, or see at viewings in the Seattle area. It is excellent to educate you on the health and privacy issues regarding the “Smart Meters” that are being put on peoples homes. (note: you should be as concerned about this as about the cell tower).
    Please also look up on internet about “Smart Meters” and why whole communities are getting them
    banned. (or trying to, as in Seattle and region)..
    something you need to know about for you and your family’s health and privacy).
    For those of you who think cell towers pose no risk, on this film, you will hear a woman speak
    whose son died of brain cancer while at San Diego
    State University. She later learned that the dorm
    he lived in, had a number of people die who lived
    there, in a short period of time, for same reason.
    Attributed to the cell tower behind his dorm.

    Here’s to awareness and education! (that is not
    funded by industry’s $$$)…

  • datamuse May 7, 2015 (2:26 pm)

    Most of the peer reviewed science I found (on PubMed if anyone cares) found that a lot of people THINK cell phone towers cause cancer…

    Also, it does appear to be true that if you’re a dude, you probably shouldn’t keep your cell phone in your pants. No research exists on the advisability of keeping a cell phone *tower* in your pants but you probably don’t want to do that anyway.

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