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Cell Phone Tower Sparks Couple's Activism

Laurie and James Frankito are fighting the proposed cell phone tower at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.

Not the holidays, not the flu, could stop James and Laurie Frankito from fighting the proposed cell phone tower at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.

The couple came away with a temporary reprieve Thursday, as City Council tabled the vote on the tower until alternative sites were explored.

"I've got mixed feelings," Laurie Frankito said outside Council chambers after the vote was delayed. "I was hoping it would be voted down, but it wasn't approved."

Both Laurie and James spoke at the public hearing on the tower plans before the City Council meeting.

Their concerns included negative impact on their ability to sell their home and other homes in the neighborhood. The tower would be built 300 feet away from their property line, Laurie said. 

"I talked with an agent who said seven of 10 people who went to a home for sale and saw a cell phone tower next door would walk out," she said.

They are also concerned that, if this tower is allowed, other cell phone service providers will be building towers in other residential neighborhoods in Westlake.

When they attended a public meeting on the tower a few months ago, the Frankito's were surprised to find themselves the only residents there.

That spurred them into activism. The couple took time away from holiday plans and prep to go door-to-door in their neoghborhood.

"I'd never done that before in my life," Laurie said. But they got all but one neighbor to sign a petition. 

Meanwhile, they were also researching city law and possible alternatives to the Prince of Peace site. After the holidays, as both Laurie and James were battling the flu, James was able to connect with a representative of the U.S. Postal Service to discuss a tower there, an idea Verizon gave up on years ago.

The couple also started an online petition at Change.org.

"Even with the holidays, we were able to get more than 50 signatures," Laurie


  said.

And when Council takes up the matter again at the Jan. 17 meeting, the Frankitos will be there.

Laurie said, "This will not go unresisted."

For more stories about this proposed cell tower, check out this link. 

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