WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Winston-Salem could soon be seeing their first ever cell phone towers in residential areas.
This comes after council members approved four applications for cell phone towers throughout the city. These are the first four applicants to come forward since the city decided to allow cell towers in residential areas.
The towers are expected to be about 150 feet high, with as many as four dishes on each. Those dishes will allow individual cell service providers to access the towers.
“I do not like that. That will not be a good look for the neighborhood,” said Robin Sides, who lives near one of the proposed sites. “I would really prefer them not put the tower there. If they could find anywhere else to put it, it would be great, but not down the street from my house.”
Sides may have missed her opportunity to let her representatives hear her concerns. She, like many people living near the proposed sites, received a letter from the city about the plan. However, when meetings were held to discuss them, only a few people showed up.
The approved sites are on New Walkertown Road near Northampton Drive, on Hastings Hill Road near Business 40, on Reidsville Road near Edgewood Baptist Church and on the property of Bethel United Methodist Church off Burke Mill Road.
Bruce Williams lives on Reidsville Road, directly across from one of the proposed sites. He admits that he’s powerless when it comes to the proposals.
“[There’s] nothing I can do, I’m a poor man. These are rich guys out here,” said Williams.
He, like Sides, is worried that the towers will be unsightly, therefore diminishing his property value.
“As far as selling, I wouldn’t buy around a cell tower,” he said.
However, Williams, who says he worked with radar with the Army for ten years, is more worried about negative health effects the tower could have. Though he says he talked to officials and they told him there would not be any, he’s not convinced.
“Even the smallest minute piece of radiation coming through, it’s going to poison you. And in time, it’ll kill you over time,” said Williams.
Sides now wishes she’d paid more attention when she received the letter from the city.
“We could have been present and at least have attempted to make a difference,” she said.
City officials say they expect more applications to come in for cell towers around the city.