Waterbury Residents Petition Against Verizon Tower Proposal at Masonic Temple

Masonic Temple's plan to lease space in its Waterbury tower to a cell phone company has drawn some opposition from residents.

Ed Senk, who lives in a house across Highland Avenue from the tower, is one of the people contesting the proposal. He helped collect more than 350 signatures on a petition against the plan, which needs approval from the zoning commission.

"Putting a wireless facility in the middle of a neighborhood," Senk said, "It's not the right thing to do."

In a statement, Michael Murphy, a spokesman for Verizon, said "Until someone invents invisible paint...this is a great option for increasing the coverage."

But Senk objects to potential damage to his property value and his health.

"That's the primary reason because this is only going to be about 35 feet off the ground," said Art Denze, of the Town Plot Neighborhood Association. "I think, if I'm not mistaken, if you go to touch one of these things while they're in operation, you can get burned."

There was a public hearing on the tower scheduled at City Hall Wednesday, but the item has been tabled to a June 25 zoning meeting .

Waterbury's seen a different kind of problem from cell phone equipment in a tower before. The former priest at Sacred Heart Church, Kevin Gray, went to prison in 2010 after he pocketed the money from the lease instead of giving it to the prison.

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