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Should I lease space for a cell tower on our homestead?

 
pollinator
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I was contacted this week by a telecommunications company that may be interested in leasing space on our land for a cell tower. This is a situation I never expected and my immediate impulse was a hard ‘no’ but after hearing them out I am tempted.

They are looking at building a tower about 150 ft tall and the footprint is around 30 x 30 ft.

We have 38 acres which we are in the process of turning into our forever farm.

What about this offer is tempting me?

1) They would pay to bring a power feed onto the property that we could tie into. This is a pretty huge deal actually. We have a few solar panels powering an RV but it’s not nearly enough and we are in the middle of figuring out how to move forward with getting power to run a house. We were quoted $57k for solar at a level that will power our planned house and the farm as a fully off grid operation or $50k to run a line from the BCHydro grid.

2) The starting lease offer from the telecommunications company would be in the ballpark of $14-18k yearly for a 20 or 30 year lease with an adjustment every 5 years for inflation. They would cover the increase in property taxes. We would have right of refusal to additional equipment.  In Canada the cell phone companies are required to allow other companies to use their tower for a standard rental rate but as landowner we would be able to refuse, or negotiate with the other company for access so there is the potential for doubling the monthly lease income.

3) Our side of the island has terrible cell phone signal. I would really like to have signal since we have no phone line and again there would be a cost to run one in. Our internet also operates off the sketchy cell signal and this is a major limitation on me moving to the property fulltime since I need internet for my day job which is what pays the bills. I tried working from home at the farm for a week last month and it was seriously challenging between the iffy internet signal and inadequate power from our tiny solar setup. Is it reasonable for me to want a signal but be a NIMBY about siting it on our property?

4) If we say no this is going to happen anyway somewhere nearby. Their second choice property is our neighbour on the 40 acres next down the hill and we could end up with the disadvantages of a cell tower nearby and none of the benefits except for better signal. We would also have less control over placement so it might be in a spot that would affect us more. Likely to be close to our property line as the rest of that property is low ground.

Reasons against are the usual ones I suppose:

1) Concerns about potential health effects
2) Aesthetics of a tower on the property
3) Not wanting to give up control of a portion of our land
4) Concern about public opinion. We don’t want our new community to hate us.

We are talking this over as a family this weekend. Interested in hearing other people’s thoughts on this. What would you do?

 
pollinator
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I used to work for a cell company placing towers. You laid it out fairly well. If they want a tower in the area, they will. Better to be on your land than the neighbors. They will choose the lowest cost option, which will include construction costs including road and power and height of tower needed (if you land is 50 foot higher, that is 50 foot shorter tower they need to build). If you want to do it, be nice and don’t argue much on price. Figure one or two things like the power or the road that they can make no cost to them changes that give you a big benefit.

The income is a HUGE benefit. It is a pretty substantial safety net to make full time homesteading a lot easier. The emf isn’t much different between being on your land or your neighbors.
 
rocket scientist
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Wow, Andrea;
Quite the quandary!
My first thought was the same as yours, NO pucking way!
But after hearing all your reasons it would tempt me as well.
I would want to know precisely where that tower was going and how much it might affect my view and access.
I also would chat with the neighbors and find out what the "locals" think.
If this is your forever home you want cordial relations with the neighbors!
A cell tower is an eyesore I hate to see them go up in pristine locations like your island.
However, having all the benefits of power, the internet, and a yearly boost to your income...  is a big deal...
I would be VERY TEMPTED to do this in your situation!
 
master gardener
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I would hold my nose and do it.  But do remember, the devil is in the details.
 
gardener
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With your job relying on the internet, maybe they can can give you and unlimited cell/hotspot account?
 
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A couple of negative aspects of cel towers I know of.

I used to work with some guys in the cel tower industry they all told me about the older guys(late 30s-40s) in the industry were getting brain cancer. Being close to the towers is not good for people. Also each time they change the technology 4G,5G,,, it is different waves with unknown hazards to the human body. In the future 10-20 years these towers will probably have satellites. Satellites can have some very intense radioactivity. When I installed small ones they always stressed -Do not stand in front or near them when they are active-, this was coming from rednecks. I have heard or people who worked around large ones that would toss eggs in front of them a laugh about them being cooked in a few seconds.

The resale value will be greatly diminished. I know you said your “forever” place but odds are and you never know. The leases are usually 99-years(or some other long-term length) non-transferable. That makes these properties very hard to sell. Not many people want a property with a chunk they cannot own that is emitting radioactive stuff.

As you mentioned earlier you will have to sign off 24/7 access to this part of your/their property.

Also you will find many negative dealings people have had with cel/tower companies. Not getting paid, difficulty getting paid, changing terms, etc. When the tower companies have mergers, sell, go bankrupt you are left with more uncertainty from who ever takes control of the contract you are trapped into.

Just a couple of thought from what I have heard about people dealing with this.
 
master steward
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This sounds like a win/win situation to me.

We made a trip to the big city, the 1st one since Covid.

Dear hubby remarked about all the new cell towers.

After losing my phone to 5G and having been given a free junk phone, I am wishing we had bought property next to a cell tower.

I doubt one would ever be on my property.
 
pollinator
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I am going to say go for it.  If it is going to happen anyway best that you profit rather than the neighbor.

3 comments though.

1.  As for the eyesore do they have a camouflage technics in that area?  For example in heavily forested areas they can make them look like giant trees.  Other areas the can paint the tower to match background colors so it doesn't show as much.  Maybe you can work this into the deal.

2.  You might want to look at how the power comes in.  Do you still have to have a bunch of line to get to you?

3.  If you are concerned about cancer scare stuff one years profit would probably pay for getting your house lined inside or out with faraday cage materials.
 
master pollinator
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C. Letellier wrote:I am going to say go for it.  If it is going to happen anyway best that you profit rather than the neighbor


I agree, it sounds like the positives outweigh the negatives in your situation.

Personally, I would get a written statement from your municipality about the taxes. Industrial infrastructure is taxed at a much higher rate than residential property. Basically it's treated as a cash cow, and you are the one on the hook. The deal might not look so sweet with that information.
 
gardener
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Another positive might be being prioritized for restoration of power after a storm.  

My grandfather was offered to host a cell tower when they first started to be put in. He declined, and always regretted it later. It would have been easy income for them, and it went up 2 farms over, anyway, so he could still see it.

The one near me, the company pays to have it plowed and the road maintained. I wonder if that's a possible benefit foe you, too, depending on the location of the tower compared to where you live.

Edit - I am not too familiar with cell towers, but EM radiation and many other things decrease with distance squared. If you haven't built yet, and can have some control over the location of both the tower and your home, that might be a benefit - even a hundred meters can reduce it a huge amount.
 
master pollinator
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If I had this opportunity, I'd jump on it. In fact, how do I let the cell companies know that a corner of my land is available for just such a purpose?
 
Andrea Locke
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Thanks, it is very helpful seeing those responses.

The guy I spoke with from the company said they prefer to situate towers where as much as possible is hidden by trees to reduce the impact on views. He would request an installation without lights since the height of the tower is lower than the maximum elevation of the hill. They would put a fence around the base of the tower which he says can be an attractive cedar fence rather than chainlink and barbed wire.

We can also write in a requirement that they give us 24 hours notice for access. He doesnt think they would come more often than twice a year.

They are proposing a 20 or 30 year lease and if they leave at the end of that time will be restoring the site back to its original condition. It is a pretty major telecommunications company so I think would follow through on all contract conditions.

I like the idea of requesting free lifetime cell and internet signal, haha. Of the two major companies that operate towers here, this is the other one that our cell phones aren’t with, but the guy seemed to think our company would want to use the tower too.
 
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I understand the temptations.

Before deciding, I would encourage you to peruse the Environmental Health Trust website. There is a substantial volume of peer-reviewed, published research demonstrating harm to wildlife, the environment, and human health: https://ehtrust.org/  

I have personally recovered from long-term radiation sickness. I did not realize for more than two decades it was playing a role in my chronic health conditions until I changed my life to distance myself from it. This was after many years and much expense in the medical system. I now sleep through the night after 20+ years of severe insomnia. My neurovascular conditions, skin rashes, cardiac arrhythmias, and GI inflammation also went into remission. My cat showed positive improvements as well.

Residents in Pittsfield, MA have been fighting a cell tower that became operational in 2020 after countless residents became sick. It is VERY difficult to remove a tower once it's been installed, as the company will likely fight back with powerful litigation teams of their own. Also, residents closest to the tower said they did not even benefit from increased coverage, as the umbrella of cell reception went over their homes. They may have been closer than what you are considering, but I wanted to share as food for thought.

More info on that case: https://ehtrust.org/cease-and-desist-order-against-verizon-cell-tower-by-board-of-health-pittsfield-ma/

From the article, "The negative health symptoms the affected residents have reported include complaints of headaches, sleep problems, heart palpitations, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), dizziness, nausea, skin rashes, and memory and cognitive problems, among other medical complaints.

“The evidence presented to the Board includes well over one thousand peer-reviewed scientific and medical studies which consistently find that pulsed and modulated RFR has bio-effects and can lead to short- and long-term adverse health effects in humans…Credible, independent peer-reviewed scientific and medical studies show profoundly deleterious effects on human health, including but not limited to: neurological and dermatological effects; increased risk of cancer and brain tumors; DNA damage; oxidative stress; immune dysfunction; cognitive processing effects; altered brain development, sleep and memory disturbances, ADHD, abnormal behavior, sperm dysfunction, and damage to the blood-brain barrier.”

Regardless of your decision, here are some helpful resources for anyone seeking to mindfully lower their exposures to Electromagnetic Radiation and Wireless Radiofrequency Radiation: https://ehtrust.org/resources-to-share/printable-resources/

Incorporating those changes has made a world of difference for my health. Best of luck to you all.

 
Andrea Locke
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The big expense with our power if we connect to the grid is getting it to our lot line. Once we have it to the property, we have our own excavator and operator so would just have to pay for electrician and materials to lay underground line to where we will build.

Improving access to the property is another possibly big ticket item they have said they would cover. Most of our land is accessed on old logging roads that are mostly dirt with wood chips and the occasional load of gravel on the worst spots.

Faraday cage built into housing sounds prudent to address any concerns. Remember we have not built yet so we can build in rather than retrofit, and can situate so as to limit exposure. I think we would be at least 500 ft from any tower site that seems feasible to me. Would steel siding on the house also work? We were already planning for a steel roof and I like the look of coloured steel siding. We were going to use a concrete fiberboard product for the siding but nothing is baked into the plan yet. That would then leave the question of windows. We intended fireproof shutters so maybe some variation on that but something that remains in place that allows light in.

I definitely would not have gone out looking for this opportunity and I still don’t know what we will decide but I am feeling better about making a decision.

 
Andrea Locke
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Isabelle Walter wrote:I understand the temptations.

Before deciding, I would encourage you to peruse the Environmental Health Trust website. There is a substantial volume of peer-reviewed, published research demonstrating harm to wildlife, the environment, and human health: https://ehtrust.org/  

I have personally recovered from long-term radiation sickness. I did not realize for more than two decades it was playing a role in my chronic health conditions until I changed my life to distance myself from it. This was after many years and much expense in the medical system. I now sleep through the night after 20+ years of severe insomnia. My neurovascular conditions, skin rashes, cardiac arrhythmias, and GI inflammation also went into remission. My cat showed positive improvements as well.

Residents in Pittsfield, MA have been fighting a cell tower that became operational in 2020 after countless residents became sick. It is VERY difficult to remove a tower once it's been installed, as the company will likely fight back with powerful litigation teams of their own. Also, residents closest to the tower said they did not even benefit from increased coverage, as the umbrella of cell reception went over their homes. They may have been closer than what you are considering, but I wanted to share as food for thought.

More info on that case: https://ehtrust.org/cease-and-desist-order-against-verizon-cell-tower-by-board-of-health-pittsfield-ma/

From the article, "The negative health symptoms the affected residents have reported include complaints of headaches, sleep problems, heart palpitations, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), dizziness, nausea, skin rashes, and memory and cognitive problems, among other medical complaints.

“The evidence presented to the Board includes well over one thousand peer-reviewed scientific and medical studies which consistently find that pulsed and modulated RFR has bio-effects and can lead to short- and long-term adverse health effects in humans…Credible, independent peer-reviewed scientific and medical studies show profoundly deleterious effects on human health, including but not limited to: neurological and dermatological effects; increased risk of cancer and brain tumors; DNA damage; oxidative stress; immune dysfunction; cognitive processing effects; altered brain development, sleep and memory disturbances, ADHD, abnormal behavior, sperm dysfunction, and damage to the blood-brain barrier.”

Regardless of your decision, here are some helpful resources for anyone seeking to mindfully lower their exposures to Electromagnetic Radiation and Wireless Radiofrequency Radiation: https://ehtrust.org/resources-to-share/printable-resources/

Incorporating those changes has made a world of difference for my health. Best of luck to you all.



Isabelle, thank you for sending that information. I will read it carefully before making any decision.
 
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When a major company puts some of their electronics on your property they get a legal right-of-way that gives them access to the property no matter what.  You might be shocked at what is included in a right-of-way.  You'd better look into it.

What kind of health issues are involved being that close to a tower like that?  

What kind of surveillance goes on from a satellite that they have the right to watch because they are keeping an eye on their tower?

A power feed might sound good, but then that power company also has a right-of-way all along the distance over even More of your property,  (assuming it's from the road to the tower,) and they are going to have a say in that zone.  If the power company has a right-of-way can they put big power towers up? Will your place be a leap-frog location onto somewhere else?  

It's not just an isolated tower, there are a lot of corporate things going on here.

I've got acreage like that, and while it sounds big, it's not when it comes to something like this.

Privacy is one of the most important things we have left in this life, and the internet and corporations are doing whatever they can do to take it away.  

They will find a good place, and you all will have good service.  It doesn't require you providing them with what they want.  I wouldn't let a big corporation onto my property for all the good things I could list.

:-)
 
Cristo Balete
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The electric line right-of-way will have its own emissions, which are EMFs, Electro and magnetic Frequencies.

What comes off of cell towers is this (from NIEHS.nih.gov - National Institutes of Health) :

Electric & Magnetic Fields

Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as Radiation, that are associated with the use of electrical power and various forms of natural and man-made lighting. EMFs are typically grouped into one of two categories by their frequency:

   Non-ionizing: low-level radiation which is generally perceived as harmless to humans
   Ionizing: high-level radiation which has the potential for cellular and DNA damage

Radiation Type Definition Forms of Radiation Source Examples
Non-Ionizing Low to mid-frequency radiation which is generally perceived as harmless due to its lack of potency.

   Extremely Low Frequency (ELF)
   Radio Frequency (RF)
   Microwaves
   Visual Light
   Microwave ovens
   Computers
   House energy smart meters
   Wireless (wifi) networks
   Cell Phones
   Bluetooth devices
   Power lines
   MRIs

Ionizing Mid to high-frequency radiation which can, under certain circumstances, lead to cellular and or DNA damage with prolonged exposure.

   Ultraviolet (UV)
   X-Rays
   Gamma
   Sunlight
   X-Rays
   Some Gamma Rays


Electromagnetic Spectrum
Can EMFs be harmful to my health?

During the 1990s, most EMF research focused on extremely low frequency exposures stemming from conventional power sources, such as power lines, electrical substations, or home appliances. While some of these studies showed a possible link between EMF field strength and an increased risk for childhood Leukemia, their findings indicated that such an association was weak. The few studies that have been conducted on adults show no evidence of a link between EMF exposure and adult cancers, such as leukemia, brain cancer, and breast cancer.

Now, in the age of cellular telephones, wireless routers, and the Internet of things, all of which use EMF, concerns persist about possible connections between EMF and adverse health effects. NIEHS acknowledges additional research is needed and recommends continued education on practical ways to reduce exposures to EMFs.
Does my cell phone emit EMF radiation?

Cell phones emit a form of radio frequency radiation at the lower end of the non-ionizing radiation spectrum. Currently, scientific evidence has not conclusively linked cell phone use with any adverse human health problems, although scientists admit that more research is needed.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP), headquartered at NIEHS, conducted toxicology studies in rats and mice to help clarify potential health hazards, including cancer risk, from exposure to radio frequency radiation like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones. Please visit the Cell Phone Radio Frequency Radiation webpage to learn more.
What if I live near a power line?

EMF: Electric and Magnetic Fields Associated with the Use of Electric Power Booklet

EMF: Electric and Magnetic Fields Associated with the Use of Electric Power

NIEHS educational booklet, "EMF: Electric and Magnetic Fields Associated with the Use of Electric Power"

It is important to remember that the strength of a magnetic field decreases dramatically with increasing distance from the source. This means that the strength of the field reaching a house or structure will be significantly weaker than it was at its point of origin.

For example, a magnetic field measuring 57.5 milligauss immediately beside a 230 kilovolt transmission line measures just 7.1 milligauss at a distance of 100 feet, and 1.8 milligauss at a distance of 200 feet, according to the World Health Organization in 2010.

For more information, see the NIEHS educational booklet, “EMF: Electric and Magnetic Fields Associated with the Use of Electric Power”.
What Is NIEHS Doing?
NIEHS Research Efforts

   NIEHS Report on Health Effects from Exposure to Power-Line Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields: Prepared in Response to the 1992 Energy Policy Act (PL 102-486, Section 2118) (751KB) - Prepared in Response to the 1992 Energy Policy Act (PL 102-486, Section 2118)

Further Reading
Additional Resources

   Electromagnetic Fields and Cancer - National Cancer Institute
   IARC Classifies Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields as Possibly Carcinogenic to Humans - The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer1, associated with wireless phone use.
   Radiofrequency Background - U.S. Food and Drug Administration
   RadTown - Learn about radiation in your town: where it is and how it's used. Explore the Burbs, Countryside, Downtown or Waterfront. Just pick and click! From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
   Workplace Safety and Health Topics: EMF (ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC FIELDS) - The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

 
Cristo Balete
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The worst of the worst may not happen from this, but a friend of mine gets awful headaches from EMFs, and there's lots online about that.  

You would be signing a 20-year agreement, and who knows what will be the status of any of these things in five, ten years out, let alone 20?
 
pollinator
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$14K-$18k a year is pretty good "mailbox money" on top of getting electric power brought to your land.  No light on top is a bonus.  I'd do it in a heartbeat (but that doesn't mean it's a great idea)!  It might be farther from where you want to build your house than it would be if placed on a neighbor's land.  Lot's to think about but at least it's your decision and not someone else getting to decide.
 
R Scott
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Bryan Elliott wrote:$14K-$18k a year is pretty good "mailbox money" on top of getting electric power brought to your land.  No light on top is a bonus.  I'd do it in a heartbeat (but that doesn't mean it's a great idea)!  It might be farther from where you want to build your house than it would be if placed on a neighbor's land.  Lot's to think about but at least it's your decision and not someone else getting to decide.



Actually there is probably less high frequency emf under the tower than if you are a half mile away from it. The antennas are focused to throw the signal towards the horizon just like a lighthouse.

If you do it, you can bring out an emf meter to help locate where to place your house. You can still get metal window screens that will make very effective faraday cages. There are a lot of little details to get right, but a lot easier from the ground up than retrofit and not a big price increase in the scheme of things.
 
Anne Miller
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Cristo said, "When a major company puts some of their electronics on your property they get a legal right-of-way that gives them access to the property no matter what.  You might be shocked at what is included in a right-of-way.  You'd better look into it.



This too was my concern.

Please read their contract carefully as the ones I have seen give the company the right to let others use the right-of-way. Even after this company is gone.

Does the contract (right-of-way) end if the company pulls out?

If you have access to a lawyer it would be prudent to have the lawyer look over the contact.

 
Cristo Balete
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One other thing to consider, we got our property because the highest spot on it has a wonderful view.  It's about the farthest away from where we spend most of our time.  We put a picnic shed there to hold most of the picnic supplies that makes it a destination, makes it easier to go there more often, which turns out to be a really high point in a day.  Even if I'm mowing up there, to stop and look at the beautiful view, even if a storm is brewing, it's always a connection with Nature that is one of the reasons we are out in a remote location.  It is one of the biggest privileges of being here, despite all the work it takes.

If that spot were dominated by two corporations and a tower, with no turning back for 20 years, it would be ruined.  Not to mention then we'd be exposed to more of the health issues involved.



 
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I'd check up on the right of way and make sure it's reasonable. My understanding is that they do not expire or anything like that once the infrastructure is gone, but that's one of the things you  should understand for sure. Our whole property is an old ROW from when there were power lines here. What rights the company (which doesn't exist anymore, but their rights  still do somehow) has are very clearly laid out.

With all the infrastructure you're going to get out of this, I think it's a good deal. I don't know if fires are an issue where you live (yet), but your property would be high priority with a tower on it. The power lines are still near our property, and they're a major line. If there's the tiniest fire near us, no matter how busy the season is, BC Wildfire is on it immediately.

Like other people have said, with the extra money you get you can install whatever safeguards against electrosmog you want in your new house. And if you save all the extra income, you'd fairly quickly have enough for a downpayment on another property, if worse came to worst.
 
master pollinator
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I walked a friend's acrerage recently. They have high powered lines across the back. I didn't really notice them as I was looking for edibles. I became aware of growing anxiety, thoughts bouncing around. Total loss of concentration. I began to look around... then up. Hmmm.... The anxiety dissipated 100 feet away. Now I know I would not buy a property with high power lines.

I suggest that you find a cell tower and stand real close to it to find out if you react to it.
 
pollinator
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Personally I would LEAP at this opportunity. A financial safety net, power and utilities laid in, and better local signal.  And it sounds like your site is large enough that you can "lose" the tower with some careful choice of plantings. I presume they will want the ground around it maintained obstruction free - could that be a space for a grazing paddock, for example?
 
Michael Cox
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:I walked a friend's average recently. They have high powered lines across the back. I didn't really notice them as I was looking for edibles. I became aware of growing anxiety, thoughts bouncing around. Total loss of concentration. I began to look around... then up. Hmmm.... The anxiety dissipated 100 feet away. Now I know I would not buy a property with high power lines.

I suggest that you find a cell tower and stand real close to it to find out if you react to it.



I've experienced similarly unsettled feelings in the immediate vicinity of power lines. I put it down to the slight hum of voltage discharge/static in the humid air around the lines.
 
pollinator
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Howdy,

I am off grid, with home power system, since 1979. New neighbors in 1990's brought power into their property. Line poles are 10 feet off my property boundary line.  Easement is 10'(ft) from power poles/center of power line.  Now they want 20'(ft) , I'm told it's "required".

What changes to easement and/or right of way access, will happen in the future? Not end of story...

If it was me, I would not be allowing any of this if I still wanted MY serenity/sanity of a naturai peaceful environment.  But also I am on the edge of National  Forest land, and BLM, it IS a wild forest environment.
 
pollinator
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As I see it, the issue here is that Andrea isn't going to be able to avoid any EMG or other health issues that may come with a cell tower on her land, as if she refuses, it will be sited on a neighbor's land right beside her property. She'd get all the disadvantages and very few of the advantages.

For that reason, I would have to say go for it.

I was a little concerned to see that the property I intend to purchase has a phone tower in reasonably close proximity. But I use a cellphone, and I need mobile internet to be able to do my online work, so I would be hypocritical to get all NIMBY about it. Plus I found that after a week there, I felt far better mentally and physically than I do at our current property!

High power lines are a separate issue and one of the reasons I have health issues where we live now. But will they be installed as part of the phone tower, or just regular power lines?

Making the house a Faraday cage - how will she access cell internet to do her work if she does? Maybe make "safe" rooms, especially the bedrooms. But doing the entire house will remove a benefit of having better cell signal available.
 
Andrea Locke
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Jane, yes, exactly - whether we say yes to this or not, the cell tower will be situated somewhere nearby on our side of the hill since this is where cell signal fades out. So one way or another we will have the radiation. If we say yes we will have more control, save a bundle on accessing power, possible driveway improvements, and the passive income from the lease.

They are talking about a power feed underground branching off from the regular residential line out at the road. So it’s not a high transmission line.
We had looked at and rejected a property under high transmission power lines when we were searching for land. It is apparently very difficult to block that kind of long wavelength emf.

The shorter wavelengths of cell towers are apparently easier to block. It seems that even window glass can block 5g signal. I think if we decided on a faraday cage just protecting sleeping areas would be the way to go. But we can most likely use selective placement and topography on the lot and if necessary supplement that with earthworks and plantings to block radiation especially if it is on our property where we would have a say in positioning. We are looking at single storey housing anyway and can even tuck that into the side of the hill to lower it. It would be easy to add some good sized hugelkulturs since we have so much woody debris from the previous owner’s logging. Anyway there are options.

I’ve learned so much about all of this in the last couple of days. I still wish this hadn't come up at all, but since that ship has sailed at least we are getting better prepared with knowledge. I think we are going to allow a site visit and see if we can identify some spots that are mutually acceptable. (We have a preferred spot in mind close to our entrance that we don’t have plans for, it would minimize their need to come further in, and be pretty easy to shelter our zone 1 areas.) If it goes forward from there, we will retain a lawyer experienced in representing landowners in cell tower negotiations.

 
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Steve Fammerton wrote:A couple of negative aspects of cel towers I know of.

I used to work with some guys in the cel tower industry they all told me about the older guys(late 30s-40s) in the industry were getting brain cancer. Being close to the towers is not good for people. Also each time they change the technology 4G,5G,,, it is different waves with unknown hazards to the human body. In the future 10-20 years these towers will probably have satellites. Satellites can have some very intense radioactivity. When I installed small ones they always stressed -Do not stand in front or near them when they are active-, this was coming from rednecks. I have heard or people who worked around large ones that would toss eggs in front of them a laugh about them being cooked in a few seconds.

The resale value will be greatly diminished. I know you said your “forever” place but odds are and you never know. The leases are usually 99-years(or some other long-term length) non-transferable. That makes these properties very hard to sell. Not many people want a property with a chunk they cannot own that is emitting radioactive stuff.

As you mentioned earlier you will have to sign off 24/7 access to this part of your/their property.

Also you will find many negative dealings people have had with cel/tower companies. Not getting paid, difficulty getting paid, changing terms, etc. When the tower companies have mergers, sell, go bankrupt you are left with more uncertainty from who ever takes control of the contract you are trapped into.

Just a couple of thought from what I have heard about people dealing with this.



Wow. Late 30s isn't very old. Hope the telco company is at least offering enough money to pay for the brain cancer treatments.

If the telco is deadset on placing a tower nearby, I'd voice my concerns to the neighbors, and get a feel for what they think. Best case scenario would be to get the neighbors together and have a lawyer draw up a contract where both neighbors split the telco payment 50/50, and then play some hardball bargaining with them. Agree to a price with the neighbor and don't accept less. Drive the price to the moon that way, and at least be able to pad enough $ to get out of the situation should you start suffering health consequences.

If it were me, I'd probably move unfortunately. I can see how these scenarios would bring out the worst in people. For example, the neighborhood bands together to say "no", but then one backstabber among them signs on the dotted line and walks all over the valid health concerns of all the other people. The fact that this issue is not decided at the community level speaks volumes about our societies.
 
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Speaking from experience they are going to put up a tower somewhere in your area so you might as well be the one to benefit from it.
 
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My old house was 400 feet from a cell tower. It didn't bother me at all aside from being a bit ugly. Since my house had aluminum siding, and a metal roof, I actually had to go outside to get decent cell reception.
 
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Its nice you have the option. Wed do it. we found out last month we are getting electrical towers on our property whether we like it or not. Its usually whether we like it or not.
 
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One more thought, if you do decide to do it, it's only fair that the amount they pay for leasing that spot increases over the years the same way rent would increase.  You can negotiate that contract, you shouldn't have to take it exactly the way they give it to you.  So ask for an increase every few years....run it by an attorney for a couple hundred dollars and see what their legal eyes notice.

If you have a primo location in their eyes, then you've got them over a barrel.  If they won't negotiate, if they don't have terms that are good for you in the long run, better to find out about it now.
 
Andrea Locke
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Cristo Balete wrote:One more thought, if you do decide to do it, it's only fair that the amount they pay for leasing that spot increases over the years the same way rent would increase.  You can negotiate that contract, you shouldn't have to take it exactly the way they give it to you.  So ask for an increase every few years....run it by an attorney for a couple hundred dollars and see what their legal eyes notice.

If you have a primo location in their eyes, then you've got them over a barrel.  If they won't negotiate, if they don't have terms that are good for you in the long run, better to find out about it now.



Thanks. Apparently they build an increase into the contract. They say the standard is to increase by a percentage every five years, or it can be tied to inflation.

We have scheduled them to come for a site visit without making a commitment on either side to go forward. If we decide after that to continue, we will definitely have a lawyer before going further.
 
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If I were approached this way, the first thing I would do would be to contact any and all neighbors likely to be affected by or approached about the install themselves. At the least you could expect to get a feel for who you are living around, which might help with any number of other environmental issues that might affect your area in the future.

Perhaps you will even find a group of people who will, as alluded to in a previous post, as a group demand compensation commensurate with the risks which are precisely unknown but show much evidence of existing at emergent levels.

You might also consider that given the societal importance of cellular communications, it might draw undue attention in times of unusual instability.

The topic makes me want to do further research on post civil war railroad expansion here in the US. I've heard numerous stories of how individuals were 'railroaded' by the robber barons when they tried to resist land sales and other negative experiences out of those dealings. I have yet to hear stories about how grandpa was proud of taking the peanuts offered to him for his land or any other long term positive reflections. I guess cell towers differ in that they offer greater geographical flexibility so those profiting heavily from them don't need to be as dire in their acquisition efforts, but that also means those wishing to avoid possible negative consequences from them have comparatively no options...
 
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If you aren’t experienced with contracts, its probably worth hiring a contract lawyer ($1500?) to review and possibly negotiate on your behalf, should you choose to move forward.
 
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The starting lease offer from the telecommunications company would be in the ballpark of $14-18k yearly for a 20 or 30 year lease with an adjustment every 5 years for inflation. They would cover the increase in property taxes.



$14,000 * 20 years = $280,000
$18,000 * 20 years = $360,000

Thinking about mitigation...for that value, you could at least move to a brand new property to address your concerns.

If you do it and stay, consider asking for the expected power and polar & elevation diagrams of the cell antenna.  

As you might know by now, even though radiation follows the inverse square law, every antenna has its own main lobe and side lobes, which can change depending on beamforming / steering.  All this is to say that the actual expected beam shapes and radiation pattern of the antenna can affect where and how close you wish to place your zone 0 and zone 1 & 2.  (300m away at one spot could have drastically more or less power than 300m away at another bearing from the tower.)  

I would expect the corporate folks to want the tower in the highest parts of the land, with line of site to the most customers.  While tops of hills are good for towers and water storage, from a permaculture perspective, mid-slopes are usually better for housing.  So if you have the beam pattern info, and site elevation information from a topo map, you could calculate how big of a berm or how deep of a cut into the hill you will actually need to get effective line of sight protection from the tower's radiation lobes.  After doing permaculture sector mitigation for zone 0, continue on with the earthworks and berms using your handy-dandy excavator in other parts of your property as desired.  And don't forget Weird Al's low cost Personal Protective Equipment for radiation!
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