Residents protest church allowing cell antenna inside steeple - CBS46 News

Candler Park residents protest church allowing cell antenna inside steeple

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Dozens of residents in the Candler Park neighborhood are trying to rally support against a proposed plan by AT&T to build a cell phone antenna inside the steeple of Epworth United Methodist Church. The plan would call for the antenna to be operational by sometime in 2015.

"We're not real happy about it," said Tanya Wolf, who added she is pulling her twin boys out of the Epworth preschool next year because of the antenna.

"I'm afraid it [the antenna] is going to hurt the preschool," she said.

"My concern is that the church, as a good neighbor, isn't listening to the majority of the residents within close proximity of that church," said Steve Sevener, who also has a child at the Epworth preschool. Sevener said the church leaders did not keep residents in the loop on the project.

Leaders with Epworth United Methodist said the health risks of having a cell antenna atop the building are virtually non-existent and the lease money they'll receive from AT&T is needed to help sustain the church and preschool.

"Beginning next spring, AT&T will install an antenna within our steeple, 76 feet above ground and out of sight," said the Rev. Lisa Dempsey in a statement. "The antenna will give the Candler Park area improved cellular service and give our church the needed funds to serve our school and our community as it has done for 126 years. This is an unobtrusive, approved, intelligent and - most of all - safe application of technology that is in use across metro Atlanta."

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