Proposed Clay County cell towers spark dispute among neighbors

Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 9:07 PM CDT
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CLAY COUNTY, Mo. (KCTV) - Nearly 600 people have signed a petition against the addition of a cell tower in a rural Clay County neighborhood.

Cyndi Harper, who lives across the street from where one of the proposed towers would go, built her house together with her late husband in 1979.

“I can’t bear the thought of leaving this place,” Harper said. “My grandchildren are right next door. That would kill me.”

The proposal for the cell tower near 120th and N. Stark Ave., which is 160 feet from Nickole Corey’s property, has neighbors desperate.

“I’m going to have to move,” Corey said. “I don’t want to move. Like in this market, where are we going to move?”

“I don’t want that tower to destroy what we have out here,” Harper said. “I don’t want the Coreys to move.”

Corey and Harper say they’re worried their property values will go down, their views will be obstructed, and their families will suffer negative consequences on their health.

It’s important to note, the American Cancer Society says: “There’s no strong evidence that exposure to RF waves from cell phone towers causes any noticeable health effects.”

“Our big issue is the aesthetics of our house,” Corey said. “We moved here almost 20 years ago because we want a rural setting. We don’t want these utilities around to look at.”

“People have moved out here for this particular feel,” Harper said.

Proponents say the construction of the towers – the one at 120th, another at 140th near Kearney High School – will help first responders.

“For example, we actually had a tornado move through close where that area was,” Chief Kevin Pratt of the Kearney Fire District said. “Well, had that been a more devastating event where phones would have went down, the FirstNet system can deploy a remote system that will help bring the cell services back up – and we are already presently a member of FirstNet. So for us, it expands our coverage area and gives us interoperability with the rest of the region.”

A vote is set for 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 27.