Flagpole update: New pole to be built, antennae moving to Pilgrim Church steeple

Above: An update on the odd looking flagpoles and plans for the AT&T antennae.  (photo by Beth Melo*)

One of the issues in Town I fell behind in covering this fall is what’s happening with the Town’s flagpole(s) on Common Street.

As I covered this summer, Southborough selectmen (and vocal veterans and residents) were upset by unauthorized changes made to the flagpole last summer. The company responsible was ordered to restore the flagpole to original condition. 

The issue has continued to drag on much longer than Town officials had hoped. The the eyesore of a flagless, partially deconstructed flagpole still stands in front of the Town Hall. Yet, there has been progress and plans are in motion.

A replacement flagpole will be built and AT&T customers will continue to have cell coverage in Town. It appears the antennae will be housed in Pilgrim Church’s steeple.

The flagpole situation was a result of Crown Castle seeking to increase the size of its antennae for AT&T wireless.

Altered flagpole July 10 202

The company had proposed differing versions of a larger or differently shaped flagpole. All had been rejected by the Board. Finally, instead of seeking new design approval, the company pulled a permit to do work on the pole, purportedly with paperwork indicating there would be no significant change to the design. When a large cylinder was added (see image right), Town officials notified the crew to stop the work.

Initially, Crown Castle continued to seek approval for alternative designs, stating that otherwise they would not renew the lease this fall. They also told officials that without an antennae, cell service in town for AT&T customers would suffer.

In July, Selectmen unanimously ruled that respect for the symbol was more important than lease payments. In September they discussed getting Town Counsel involved. In October, they held a closed Executive Session on the matter.

Old and temporary flagpoles on January 12, 2021This fall, a much shorter flagpole was installed in time for Veterans Day. (See image right.) According to Town Administrator Mark Purple’s report to selectmen, it was a temporary measure. Once the new pole is installed, the short structure will be removed, allowing a tree to be planted there as originally intended.

In November meetings, Purple informed selectmen that AT&T will be installing a new antennae in the Pilgrim Church steeple.

At the December 15th Board of Selectmen Meeting, Purple updated that Crown Castle’s plan for the new flagpole is 15 feet from the original one. The company explained that under new regulations, footings in the original spot were insufficient to support a new 110 foot pole. The lighting and all landscaping around the original pole will be moved or recreated.

I reached out to Crown Castle to see if there was an update on the timing of when the flagpole would be fixed. I’m still waiting for that answer. If I do hear back, I’ll add an update.

*The flag was at half staff on Tuesday in honor of Capital Police Officer killed as a result of the insurrectionists at the Capital.

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inside, not on opt of?
3 years ago

I sincerely hope AT&T installs their antennae inside the steeple and not outside.

The flagpole that’s there today 1/14/21 is still an eyesore!

Steve Whynot
3 years ago

Wow – That’s nice to know.

3 years ago

Fellow residents,
That’s not a flagpole. Its a EMF radiation emitter. Please read

On this forum, I’ve tried to raise awareness of the health and safety concerns surrounding 5G (5th generation) wireless electromagnetic wavelengths for several years. Of course, while I know I’m just screaming into the void (can anyone hear me? ECHO, Echo, echo, oo…), I feel its at least worthwhile to let folks know the very real risks due to millimeter wavelength EMFs.

Crown Castle, the lessee of the flagpole in town (BTW, who leases a flag pole? If that hasn’t crossed your mind, your not really thinking) is a transnational Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) in the business of leasing it 5G towers to big Telecoms. (https://investableuniverse.com/2020/10/22/crown-castle-5g-small-cells-fiber-earnings/)
So CC made unauthorized changes to the flagpole (outfitted it with 5G transmitter) and we’re upset it makes the flag look permanently at half-staff (so “who died?” your family’s mental and physical health).

Here are a couple of numerous physician-led organizations that warn us of the health risks of 5G. https://mdsafetech.org/links/ and https://www.saferemr.com/ and https://archive.org/details/5G-health-risks-BBC-Radio-5

Please pay attention and get involved in the discusssion.

BOS Please Care and Protect Our Town
3 years ago

Thank you Concerned Resident. Your comment above is probably one of the most important thoughtful messages on this blog in years. Yes! That 5G transmitter is not an “upgrade.” This transmitter disguised as a “flagpole” matter has been misunderstood and mismanaged from the moment it mysteriously appeared in front of town hall. The potential health threat to this town is a necessary and worthwhile topic for discussion! Please, we need responsible leadership on this matter!

It was sickening to see the disrespect shown to our American Flag by mounting it on a 5G tower. It was wonderful to learn that steps were taken to remedy the mistakes. However, that is only half the story and situation. The other half of the larger narrative is a conversation about what is right for the health and safety of our town’s residents, including children. Please BOS, stop, listen carefully to Concerned Resident and do not proceed any further without educating yourselves and holding public discussions on important public health considerations. No one should be sticking their head in the sand. There are top experts at M.I.T. and elsewhere who can assist BOS with presentations and vitally necessary information for consideration. Thank you Beth Thank you BOS.

3 years ago

Thanks for your kind words, “Please Care and Protect Our Town”,

Fixing a ‘Patriotic faux paus’ is not the solution to the matter. It’s like complaining about the location where a polluter will dump toxic waste into a waterway. 1 mile from the reservoir or 2 miles upstream?

We don’t blame Pilgrim Church for accepting leasing fee; they undoubtedly need every $$ they can muster to cover expenses. Plus the Pastor’s expertise is in protecting the flock’s souls, not their brains or bodies.

No, protecting public health is the responsibility of Southborough Board of Health (https://www.southboroughtown.com/board-health). And they are failing to fulfill their mandate. For example, here are Southborough’s Guidelines for Permitting 5G Transmitters in town.

Southborough’s Health Dept’s criteria are ALL AESTHETICS, not health. (Time to change the name of the Dept, I guess.)

So, the issue is not ‘where’ to put the 5G tower that is beaming unsafe radiation at our kids, but ‘what are the risks vs benefits’? I say Risks >>>> benefits.

And its not just my opinion: See https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/we-have-no-reason-to-believe-5g-is-safe/ AND https://www.5gappeal.eu/

Last fun facts: Wuhan is the first location of widespread CV-19 deaths. CV inflammation of lung tissue impairs respiration, breathing. Know what else also impair breathing? Millimeter wavelength radiation impairs O2 binding in red blood cells? 5G can literally suffocate you by blocking O2 absorption. naturalnews.com/2020-04-06-5g-alter-hemoglobin-coronavirus-patients-oxygen-deprivation.html

But did you also know that Wuhan is the FIRST all 5G-equipped city in China? http://en.hubei.gov.cn/news/newslist/201909/t20190905_1410979.shtml

Let’s have a discussion …. for our kids sake

3 years ago

Hi residents,

One more informative post and then I’ll pipe down. This is more constructive than alarming. Well worth reading for ideas about what we citizens (who are being irradiated) can do to accurately assess risks.


The ‘key’ issue that regulates use of 5G noted in the Federal Communication Commission definition of radio frequency emission and exposure. However FCC hasn’t updated its definition in over 25 years.

Any radiation therapist, physicists or oncologists in our community who can join the conversation. Please don’t post ‘Telecom-sponsored’ MSM articles, especially if the word “DEBUNKED” is in the title. Only technical or medical-based articles that cite credible dat/info , thanks.

Q: What are the current FCC standards and are they adequate?

A: The FCC has set limits for radio frequency emissions, with specific limits for occupational exposure and general population exposure. These limits are found in the FCC’s regulations at 47 C.F.R. § 1.1301.

Unfortunately, the FCC has not updated its guidelines since 1996. Based on 30-year-old studies, today’s FCC limits are still primarily designed to protect against high intensity, acute short-term exposures that could result in gross tissue heating effects. Since then, extensive research has raised concerns about other serious health effects below the thresholds set by the FCC.

3 years ago

This belongs in the same folder as vaccines are dangerous, the election was stolen, and windmills cause cancer.
Here, do check with MIT and be sure to clink on the link towards the bottom “has been debunked”.


3 years ago

I think it’s more like an unknown than definitively “safe” or “unsafe”. When cell phones were coming out everyone was saying this same theory, that they will cause cancer. There were plenty of lawsuits over WiFi causing cancer. All of these are on the same spectrum as radio waves, tv waves, microwaves, etc. Unfortunately there is no black and white line of what is safe and what is no longer safe.

The American Cancer Society says “in theory they might be less likely to have any potential health effects”, and “At this time, there has been very little research showing that the RF waves used in 5G networks are any more (or less) of a concern than the other RF wavelengths used in cellular communication.” Not a glowing endorsement nor a striking rebuttal of the technology as it relates to causation of cancer.


3 years ago


Thanks for weighing in, but this isn’t a social media board for offering conclusions or biased opinions.

Your link is from a business school and sounds like a puff piece for engineering entrepreneurs and TelCom marketers. In fact, when I searched the promotional article for the terms “safe” or “safety”, this is what I found:

” … 5G will also allow what’s called ultra reliable and low latency connectivity, which is required for critical applications like traffic SAFETY, remote surgery, or precise positioning for industrial uses. …”.

You opinion matters and of course welcomed, but let’s keep the discussion focused narrowly on health risks supported by unbiased medical sources.

This link provides a nice list of scientific and medical peer-reviewed articles to start your research. https://ehtrust.org/scientific-evidence-that-5g-and-4g-densification-is-not-safe/

Your, my and our kids health are at stake.

Respectfully yours, CR

3 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

Hi Beth,

I understand. Not my intent to ‘bully’ or restrict discussion. Just trying to encourage ‘self-regulation’ so we stay on topic to focus on health issues based on credible info (like links you’ve cited).


3 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

As Beth points out, Dr. Curry’s contention that higher frequencies are more dangerous is flawed. The HIGHER the frequency the LOWER the penetration. I worked with high power industrial microwave equipment at the birth of the industry and it took years to overcome bunk and conspiracy theories that needlessly set back projects affecting yield, productivity and food quality. And that was in the 60s long before the internet with rampant social media. A point about standards — where there was and maybe still is confusion. EMISSION standards are far different than EXPOSURE standards, which is to say the power emitting from a source is lessened by distance. Time and area of exposure to a human is a factor. It is the job of professional health experts to determine practical exposure standards for human safety in the real world and it is the job of manufacturers to engineer equipment that complies.

3 years ago
Reply to  915

“absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”

It will be many, many years before we can demonstrate no harmful impact.

Yet, today we can state with certainty that there is no evidence that there will be a harmful impact.

Individually we can act in a way consistent with our own tolerances for uncertainty.

When the collective makes that decision for us I understand the angst.

For those referencing higher authorities, please remember that all they can opine to is that we have an absence of evidence of harm; none opine to any evidence that there is no long-term harm.

3 years ago

what happened to my fact-based post about physicians warning of dangers of 5G radiation and flag pole licensee company who outfitted the flag pole with 5G transmitter?


3 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

Thanks Beth!

3 years ago

For the record, MIT is NO objective authority ( research MIT partnership with T Mobil for profit https://mitcre.mit.edu/uncategorized/mit-cre-welcomes-marcus-partners-and-t-mobile-as-new-industry-partners ) and those who make covid-19 correlations with 5G undermine this serious public health matter.

To see how the public has been grossly misled see today’s Law Review Article :

“DC Circuit Court picks Apart FCC over 5G Wireless Safety Review” – Law360


and if you want to see the evidence in detail read the docket and the 11,000 pages of evidence that was submitted in this case against the FCC:


Technology is enormously beneficial when applied safely. The good news is there are safer, faster, and more secure means of technology use that don’t saturate the environment and its inhabitants with dangerous man-made non-ionizing radiation. The public needs to know the truth to move towards safer fiber based solutions.

3 years ago
Reply to  denise


Thanks for the links and research articles. Great sources of info.

I agree with your opinion. The public does needs to know the truth to move towards safer fiber based solutions.

I fear that while we raise awareness, the ‘die is already cast’ and we’ll all be bathing in 5G EMF radiation very soon.


BOS Please Care and Protect Our Town
3 years ago

Google “Switzerland Halts Rollout of 5G Over Health Concerns.” Other areas of the world are examining both sides of the discussion. How does it become a conclusive certainty about the impacts on nervous systems and potential for cancers? Unless the bombardment already is in place? How can there be a conclusion on safety without further studies? But the lemming like rollouts, the “upgrades,” come without discussion, examining, or warnings? Let the naysayers sign up for bombardment testing and let the rest of us know how that went.

3 years ago

I’m very appreciative of the coverage of the flagpole debacle and of the efforts of town officials to hold Crown Castle to account. As to the company’s explanation that “under new regulations, footings in the original spot were insufficient to support a new 110 foot pole,” might someone point out that a new pole wouldn’t be required had Crown Castle not in effect vandalized the old one? If the old footings are now insufficient, Crown Castle ought to replace them, in the original spot. Once again, it appears they’re seeking the cheap and easy way out. Folks might take a look at the transponders Crown Castle/AT&T has installed–to hideous effect–on the OUTSIDE of the pillars of the lantern of the Pilgrim Church steeple and consider whether they can trust what the company is now asserting about the flagpole.

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