FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. (WHNT) – Irate homeowners in Fayetteville, Tennessee say a new cell phone tower is making life miserable.
Plummeting property values and fears over safety are just some of the residents’ concerns, which they claim are being ignored by city leaders. The Fayetteville City Planning Commission approved the cell tower project last year, but the Washington Street homeowners who live right next to it say they were never notified, and only learned of it when construction crews showed up for work.
“I think we’ve been done dirty, I think we’ve been given a bad deal,” said homeowner Martha Brown, who claims her most recent property appraisal took a hit of several thousand dollars. “I’m stuck here now, I can’t sell this house.”
The homeowners have so far fought a fruitless battle to have the 250 foot tower removed, which sits just over a hundred feet away from the affected homes. Several residents said they were exasperated over the fact that the city’s mayor and board of aldermen never intervened in the project, with some pondering a lawsuit against the city.
“According to government guidelines, we are within the fall zone of this tower,” said Olen Mitchell, whose home lies directly behind the tower. “Quite frankly I feel like there was poor planning…I think all of the neighbors through here feel ambushed…we’re hoping the city will step up and do the right thing so it will save the city money and not be involved in any type of legal action.”
Fayetteville Mayor John Underwood told WHNT News 19 that the homeowners are out of luck due to the fact that the zone where they live was reclassified to commercial years ago. Mayor Underwood said the city was within the bounds of the law.
“We could put an oil refinery out there, and we wouldn’t have to worry about what they think,” said Underwood, who also stated that the city could revisit the issue if they wanted to. When asked why city leaders did not intervene, the mayor cited finances.
“Well, the company would want us to pay for it, and we’re not gonna do that.”
The new cell tower is owned by an Illinois-based operator. Officials with the company were not available for comment.