Magnolia Residents Complain About Cell Antenna Plans | KUOW News and Information

Magnolia Residents Complain About Cell Antenna Plans

Feb 12, 2016

Maybe you've seen small wireless antennas in your neighborhood. They're being installed by major phone companies, but not everyone likes them. Residents in the Magnolia neighborhood are complaining.

TRANSCRIPT

Wireless carriers have applied to install six wireless antennas in Magnolia to boost cell reception.

Seattle City Light has to grant approval since the two-foot antennas would sit on top of existing light poles.

City Light spokesperson Scott Thomsen says they already approved 50 such antennas around the city.

Thomsen: "Nearly 40 percent of households rely exclusively on wireless phones, and 70 percent of all 911 calls originate from a wireless device. So having an effective cellular network in place continues to be more and more important."

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But there's a reason Magnolia residents are speaking out.

In the 1970s residents paid to have utility lines run underground instead of overhead.

Magnolia resident Maria Facioni says she's worried her home value will go down if antennas are visible from the window.

Facioni: "I pay a lot of money to have a house that had no wires around. We chose this location because of this basically. And more than 100 neighbors wrote to the city because they're concerned."

The antennas will be eye-level from the windows in Facioni's home, setting them apart from traditional utility poles which are much taller.

Facioni is also concerned there may be health detriments to living close to wireless antennas.

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The comment period ends Monday for two of the proposed antenna sites and later this month for the others.

There are also 300 more proposals pending throughout Seattle.

The FCC mandates that cities can't deny wireless carrier applications unless it interrupts the utility's operations.