Home News Heated Debate with Misinformation Surrounds Circleville Cell Tower Argument

Heated Debate with Misinformation Surrounds Circleville Cell Tower Argument

current tower on East Franklin street

Circleville – On Tuesday, April 9, 2024, the Judicial Committee will discuss again a land lease surrounding a cell tower that has been proposed to replace the current tower that stands at the police department, this discussion since February has gone off the rails with some dipping into misinformation.

Since 2016 several cell phone companies have offered to make a deal with the City of Circleville to replace an already existing tower on the property located at 151 East Franklin Street. In the agreement, the company would replace the existing tower with a wider but shorter tower replace the Circleville Police Department equipment that is currently on the old tower, and enter into a lease where the company would pay the city for the property usage. According to the documents acquired by Sciotopost that would be around 25,000 dollars per year for the small footprint on city property.

In 2017 Verizon spoke to the council about the needs of users of both their company and AT&T, but pushback against the company because of the location and because it is close to a historical district even though there is currently a tower there the company decided to mothball the idea and instead installed multiple mini towers downtown now to deal with the overwhelming capacity.

Since then more users have put more strain on the network, forcing most people to use lower bandwidths like At&T light or Verizon 3 and 4G networks instead of the promised 5G.

At the beginning of 2024, AT&T approached the city again for reconsideration of the cell tower on East Franklin. The measure would authorize negotiations with a private AT&T service provider for leasing the green space for the tower. While some council members saw improved coverage and safety benefits, others voiced concerns about potential health risks, long-term lease implications, and the tower’s visual impact. Again some council persons were ok with moving forward others dipped into misinformation.

Concerns Over Health and Aesthetics:

  • Councilwoman Theis presented studies suggesting increased cancer rates near cell towers, raising concerns about residents’ health.
  • She criticized the potential doubling of antennas with future expansion, leading to increased radiation.
  • Council member Duvall echoed concerns about potential health risks and the “ugly” tower’s impact on the downtown aesthetic.


In a less than 5-mile radius from the middle of Circleville, there are 21 towers and 116 antennas. several of those towers are cell phone towers already. In the downtown area since 2017 several mini towers have been erected that would be removed if a larger tower was installed. The devices that Councilmembers are concerned with would be on a 150-foot tower vs a mini tower that is 15 feet off the ground.

Currently, there is a tower at 151 East Franklin Street, one that is older and less desirable looking than the one that is proposed, it is also shorter. Arguments of “ugly” and towers’ impact on the downtown aesthetic seem mute since there’s currently a tower in the same place.

Arguments for Coverage and Revenue:

  • Councilwoman Hedges highlighted the potential benefits for 14,000 residents and emergency services.
  • She argued against fear-mongering without presenting the other side, suggesting inviting a cell tower representative.
  • Mayor Blanton suggested hiring legal expertise to ensure fair negotiations and consider both sides before a decision.

During the February meeting, several people from AT&T spoke to the council about their concerns about safety and told the council that they operate within the parameters of the Federal guidelines and that the equipment mentioned is placed around 150 feet in the air and to have any reactions to it, it would have to be within feet of someone. Duvall argued at the representatives asking why the tower is needed that, “his cell phone works fine.” after the meeting I asked the councilperson what he did on his phone his reply was a call and some text, some photos.

Both Mayor Blanton and Councilwoman Theis argued that the contract needed to be looked at for fair negotiations, the contract is from 2017.

While the jury is still out on the definitive link between cell towers and cancer, understanding the current state of research and ongoing efforts is crucial. Responsible use of mobile phones and mindfulness of overall exposure are wise precautions, but undue alarm based on unconfirmed claims is not advised. 

Online statements that Circleville has already given the company a permit and that this is a done deal are untrue. Pickaway County issues those permits without the city of Circleville, and without a lease that is still being argued in Council, without a vote from Council on moving forward no ground will be broken. Currently, several council persons are arguing against the tower and several are arguing for the tower, where do you stand?