A proposal to end spotty cell service in Germantown neighborhood moves forward

Germantown cell tower controversy

GERMANTOWN, Tenn. (WMC) - Monday night Germantown’s Board of Education unanimously approved a contract for a cell tower to be placed on Dogwood Elementary School property.

For more than a year the cell phone tower issue has polarized the Germantown community. Supporters want better cell service, but others worry about the potential cost to children’s health.

The spotty service has Jean Carroll and her husband not cutting the cord anytime soon.

“I get one bar and if I want to hear really well I have to come out on the front porch,” said Carroll.

Spotty cell service in her neighborhood near Dogwood Elementary is a constant source of frustration for Carroll and her neighbors.

“We all have different phones, but we all have the same issue and complain about it.,” she said. “I have to tell my friends to call me back on my landline.”

A fix for dropped calls and undelivered text messages has been in the works since the fall of 2018, a cell tower to be placed on the elementary school grounds.

But the suggestion was met with heated debate.

“I don’t want her exposed to that level of radio frequency radiation for five days a week, nine months a year. That’s lot of radiation," Jennifer Bell, mother of a Dogwood Elementary School student, told us in March 2019.

She and many others fear the tower might make the children sick and also oppose it being on school grounds seeing it as an eyesore. The American Cancer Society says there is very little evidence to support the idea that exposure to cell phone towers can cause cancer.

For Adam Buffolino, a father of two little ones, without more research to back those concerns. He’s in favor of the improved service.

“We’ve been using cell phones in our lives now for 20 years, we’ve heard that before, the cancer concerns,” he said. “Cellphone towers, you see them all the time in neighborhoods. I don’t think we are that concerned at this point.”

The tower is planned to be about 180 feet from the school building. City boards and commissions must still review the proposal before construction can begin.

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