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Cell tower causing controversy in Blawnox

| Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Two towers that sit along borough property on Carla Drive in Blawnox.

Some residents want answers about a monopole with a cable antenna that went up on Carla Drive in Blawnox on Sept. 17.

The 150-foot tower is from SBA Communications on land owned by Blawnox. It was approved by officials in February.

A temporary pole also is on the site and will eventually be removed.

However, residents on nearby Summit Drive want to know why they weren't notified by the borough that the tower was being installed.

“That thing is an eyesore,” said Ron Walkowski, a Summit Drive resident.

Walkowski said he was disappointed in the lack of communication from the borough about the tower.

“Somebody should have went around and notified us,” Walkowski said.

Councilman Randall Stoddard said even though the equipment installed is new, it is similar to the antenna that was on top of the water tower before it came down.

The water tower was no longer in use and was removed earlier this year through a Community Development Block Grant.

“The antennas were on the water tower for 20 years before,” Stoddard said.

John Maletta of Summit Drive said his primary concern is safety and the amount of radiation from the tower.

“The issue with the height and look of the tower is secondary to me,” Maletta said.

Sara Wolk, a resident on Carla Drive, said not everyone in the area is upset about the tower. She said a fence will be placed around it and it is more pleasing than the water tower.

“We are thrilled that that water tower is down,” Wolk said.

Council President Deborah Laskey said the borough would provide answers to the residents's questions about the tower. That information could be available by the next regular council meeting on Oct. 24 at the latest.

“We will address those and have answers,” Laskey said. “Definitely.”

A copy of the building permit for the tower is available at the borough office on Freeport Road.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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