USA: Paradise lost in Naples, Florida? Gevluchte Penthousebewoners klagen provider aan.
vrijdag, 30 september 2011 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal
De familie Coen ontvluchtte in 2007 het chique penthouse in de Vanderbilt Yacht and Racquet Club in het Noorden van Naples (Florida) nadat een toenemend aantal zenders op hun dak het leven daar ondraaglijk maakte. Nu klagen zij de provider aan in een interessante rechtszaak:
Bron: Naples Daily News 30 sept.2011
Paradise lost? Condo penthouse owner sues association, alleging privacy and health issues
Auteur: AISLING SWIFT
Dr. Sophia Coen and her son, Jerry Coen, sit for a portrait in their penthouse condominium atop Vanderbilt Yacht and Racquet Club in North Naples on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011. Without proper permits, the head of the building's home owners' association installed clusters of cell phone towers on the roof, directly overhead of Coen's penthouse, leading to buzzing and loud vibrations that kept the family up at night causing the family to fear the unknown health effects of the towers. Additionally, the Coen family is accusing the HOA of hosting parties in the family's private lanai without their consent and carpeting their tiled screened in porch without their permission. Tristan Spinski/Staff
The Christmas tree sits in the living room, while clothing, cushions and other items sit in piles in bedrooms gathering dust.
Scant light comes through the windows as the air conditioner hums, keeping the vacant penthouse overlooking the Gulf just cool enough to prevent mold.
''I can’t stay here. It affects the memory. It’s like putting your brain inside a microwave'', Jerry Coen Jr.
That’s how Jerry Coen Jr., his wife, Trish, and then-10-year-old daughter, Lexie, left their 12th-floor home atop Vanderbilt Beach Yacht and Racquet Club in 2007, with its beautiful, panoramic Gulf views and first-floor cabana just a stone’s throw from the beach.
Over the years, they’d awakened to find residents walking by their windows, dining in their lanai, holding meetings and drinking at parties — despite their private elevator and locked entrance.
“They were peeking in our windows,” Jerry Coen said recently, as he stood on the roof.
Worst of all, rooftop cell phone towers were installed above their home without permits. Over the years, more were added.
They were awakened by buzzing, usually between 2 and 4 a.m. Vibrations shook their ceilings.
They feared the unknown, the possible health effects of electromagnetic fields, microwave radiation and radio frequency transmitters.
“They couldn’t reassure me about the EMFs,” Coen said of studies. “The standard is meant for you walking by it, not living under it.
“I can’t stay here,” he said. “It affects the memory. It’s like putting your brain inside a microwave.”
The Coens complained to no avail, so they fled the posh penthouse Jerry Sr. and Dr. Sophia Coen bought in 1982, when Jerry Coen helped finance the building’s construction.
Now, Dr. Sophia Coen, 85, a retired OB/GYN has sued the condominium association, alleging the privacy deeded to her has been taken away, while the original elevator machinery and smattering of air conditioners that quietly hummed above are now surrounded by cellphone towers and antennas.
The complaint, filed in August in Collier Circuit Court, says research shows handheld cellphones cause brain cancer. It questions what cellphone equipment and antennas can do.
Attached are dozens of letters to condo association officials, their attorneys, the county’s code enforcement department and the state Division of Condominiums detailing “no less than 150” complaints to the association.
The lawsuit comes as the debate over microwave frequencies, radiation and EMF health concerns grow, pitting scientists who say they’re no more harmful than a microwave oven, against those who accuse the industry of covering up dangers that include cancer, DNA damage, Alzheimer’s disease and reduced sperm count.
The Federal Communications Commission implemented regulations in 2000, limiting human exposure to electromagnetic radiation from cellphone, broadcast and other radio communication systems and establishing MPEs — maximum permissible exposures — for the full range of frequencies near equipment, towers and antennas.
But many contend health effects are being covered up.
The controversy began in 1992, when a Pinellas County businessman filed a federal lawsuit against NEC Corp. and GTE Mobilnet, alleging his wife’s brain cancer and death were caused by cellphone use.
It was the first lawsuit in the nation to claim cellphones posed health risks.
An affidavit by Naples neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter said her cellphone use aggravated her preexisting cancer. But the lawsuit was tossed out in 1995 because of a lack of scientific evidence. Since then, others have been dismissed while the controversy — and cellphone towers — have increased.
“There’s always some ambiguity in these studies,” said Kenneth R. Foster, a University of Pennsylvania bioengineering professor and past president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, who studies the effects. “Back in the early 20th century, people were afraid of light bulbs.
“It’s clear that sticking a cellphone against your head does cause some exposure, but that’s with handsets,” he said in a telephone interview, noting there are 200,000 regulated cellphone antennas nationwide. “The direction of all their forward energy is out, sort of like a flashlight beam.”
And, he said, it lessens the farther away it goes. However, he agreed that the vibration from fans cooling off cellphone antennas could cause noise above the penthouse, adding, “If that’s his concern, that’s something the condo association can fix.”
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Attached to the Coens’ thick legal file are GPS aerial maps showing the roof air conditioners and elevator equipment box in 2002, then the addition of cellphone antennas and equipment beginning in 2004 to now.
“This noise became increasingly intolerable,” says the lawsuit, filed by Naples attorney Douglas Rankin.
“Currently, the noise from this equipment and other machinery, which comes on and off mostly at night, has made the penthouse uninhabitable,” the lawsuit says, contending nothing absorbs the noise or vibrations.
The lawsuit cites Perlmutter’s research, noting he’d warned for years that handheld cellphones were capable of causing brain cancer. It notes the World Health Organization recently agreed they pose a possible health risk.
The lawsuit alleges the Coens unsuccessfully demanded engineering data to prove the roof can safely withstand the weight. It also suggests their problems are due to jealousy over their penthouse amenities — and spitefulness.
Among other allegations are that furniture, irreplaceable records, photos and a Mercedes convertible top were removed from one of the Coens’ cabanas, and that someone is making money from the lucrative cellphone contracts, which should benefit all residents by reducing fees.
The lawsuit contends they’ve been deprived of future use and prevented from renting or selling due to disclosure laws that require them to tell others about the problems.
It also seeks an injunction to prevent further intrusions, noise, radiation, emissions, fire, building and code violations — and to grant access to condo records.
West Palm Beach attorney Justin Sorel, who represents the association with Jessica Anderson, said they don’t comment on pending litigation.
However, in an answer and affirmative defenses filed Sept. 1, they deny most allegations, including that the Coens’ balconies are for their “exclusive use.”
They contend the Coens failed to mitigate alleged damages and disruptions and didn’t take steps to reduce “purported noise.”
They allege the Coens can’t sue because their problems are due to a “reasonable difference in interpretation” of deed and condo documents and because they “abandoned” the penthouse, waiving claims. Citing the “Doctrine of Unclean Hands,” they also allege the Coens violated deed and condo documents.
Rankin’s Sept. 16 reply alleges the Coens did “everything” they could, including verbal and written complaints and reporting the lack of permits to the county, which granted a permit. He contended several owners and board members tried to take advantage of the Coens’ plight by making “lowball offers” for the penthouse.
“The more things that defendants did to plaintiffs, the happier their manager appeared to be,” the reply says.
The case is before Circuit Judge Cynthia Pivacek.
Voor het originele artikel met foto van Mevr. Coen en haar zoon zie:
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