|A Photoshopped view showing the height of the proposed cell tower from Tonto Court in Parklawn. [Photo from Stop the Parklawn Tower website]|
A proposal from AT&T to build a cell tower in the Parklawn neighborhood is providing divisive. The Parklawn Recreation Association, which would receive a rental fee from AT&T, supports the tower, but a group of neighbors is opposing it.
Parklawn resident Becky Choi has created a web site, Facebook page, and online petition to mobilize the community to fight the tower.
There will be two community meetings on the cell tower next Monday, Oct. 29, at the Glasgow Middle School cafeteria (4101 Fairfax Parkway, Alexandria). At 6 p.m., the Stop the Parklawn Tower group will hold a meeting outlining its reasons for opposing it. At 7 p.m., AT&T representatives will discuss their proposal.
Choi says the 140-foot cell tower would be on land owned by the Parklawn Recreation Association on the highest hill in the area and thus visible from surrounding neighborhoods, including Lincolnia Heights, Heywood Glen, and Dowden Terrace, as well as Parklawn. As a result, she fears, it would depress property values.
Also, Choi notes, there are questions about the long-term health effects of living close to a cell tower; construction of the tower and related equipment would require the removal of many old trees; and the tower isn’t needed because there is good cell coverage in the area.
And there’s another reason why she’s organizing the opposition: She doesn’t think it’s fair that the Parklawn Pool should benefit financially from a cell tower that will harm the rest of the community.
“The pool has a reputation of being exclusive, as opposed to being inclusive,” Choi says, noting that the pool has not made an effort to recruit members from Parklawn or Lincolnia Terrace. In fact, she believes the pool doesn’t want a diverse membership. When Choi joined the pool in 1993, it had 400 members, but she left because she found the atmosphere “not welcoming.” Its membership is now down to just 174.
“If they engaged the community more, they would have way more money than the tower would provide,” she says.
UPDATE: The Parklawn Civic Association Board has issued the following statement regarding the proposed cell tower:
“The Parklawn Civic Association does not hold an official position FOR or AGAINST the proposed cell tower for Parklawn Recreation Association. We did appoint Ms. Choi, a Parklawn resident and PCA member to chair a committee to gauge opinions and take a survey on the matter.
“An early survey went out prematurely. After getting feedback from the community and members of the Yahoo groups and pool members, we have now decided the following:
“The survey will be sent out at a later date. We will be working with Heywood Glenn/Lincolnia Hills Civic Association and PRA and PCA to make sure all sides get input. We have a volunteer from Wilburdale Civic Association who will conduct the survey. (She has no dog in the fight.)
“This is the only involvement we will have on this issue.”