Kevin Peck's cell phone rings in his home in the Mount Vernon district of Fairfax County. He picks it up, and begins what has now become an all-too-familiar ritual.
"Hello this is Kevin. Can you hear me?" he says, repeating the phrase several times, before hanging up and waiting for the person to call back. Peck lives in Waynewood, south of Alexandria. Like many of his neighbors in the suburban Mount Vernon district, he has to live with spotty cell phone coverage. This is in part due to previous opposition to cell phone towers.
"I work partly at home, so it's an issue if I can't get back to people quickly. It's a problem," Peck says.
He's not alone. Across the Waynewood community, residents are working together to pass a resolution in the Mount Vernon Council of Citizens Associations to ask Fairfax County to approve a cell phone tower in their neighborhood.
"The committee that's been formed of interested parties to try to get cell phone coverage is certainly a grassroots-level approach to try to get public support for doing something," says Waynewood resident Brem Morrison.
Neighbors want something to be done, because many feel it's a safety hazard not having cell phone coverage for 911 calls. Resident Shannon Dubke says the lack of coverage worries her.
"It does concern me that my kids might be out and unable to get in touch with me if they were driving along the parkway and had an accident or broke down and didn't have cell coverage," she says.
Waynewood resident Brendwn Harris says having the towers is a necessary evil. "It's like telephone poles or light poles. You need them," he says. "They're not pretty. I say go for it." If the council adopts the resolution, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors could consider allowing a new cell phone tower as early as next year.