Hempfield cell tower plan pits brother against brother
A proposed cellphone tower that Verizon wants to erect in Hempfield has pitted brother against brother.
Dennis Henry signed a lease with the phone company to allow construction of a tower on his property. His brother, John, opposes the project because the tower will be directly in front of his house along Middletown Road.
The township zoning hearing board will have to decide whether the tower can be built. Verizon is seeking a variance that will allow erection even though the design falls short of the two-mile separation required between cell phone towers. Three other towers fall below the two-mile distance.
“I'll be looking right at the tower,” said John Henry.
The board heard testimony Tuesday from officials representing Verizon and two township residents who will be affected by the tower. Signs protesting the structure's construction began appearing throughout the Fort Allen area.
John Henry also noted that the tower will be within 300 feet of the Fort Allen Elementary School. He said residents are concerned the tower will decrease the value of their homes.
“I don't think it's going to be a hardship on Verizon ... the property owners will suffer a larger percentage of hardship if we try to sell our property.”
Verizon said it needs the tower to meet FCC requirements to close any gaps in cellular telephone coverage. Officials said they tried to locate the tower on property at Hempfield Area High School, but the school board rejected their proposal. Several other sites were technically unsuitable, said Bert Stern, director of site development for Centerline Communications of Philadelphia.
“The determination was that the Hempfield property was the most suitable to provide coverage.”
Attorney Mark Aletto said the 193-foot-high tower will meet Verizon's demands as cellphone usage increases. The existing towers in the area can't handle the demand, and Verizon is mandated by the FCC to close those gaps.
“It puts a lot of constraint on the carrier,” he said. “We cannot provide the coverage we are required to.”
Aletto said Verizon customers are experiencing anything from no phone coverage to spotty coverage to dropped calls.
“If an area has poor or intermittent coverage, that needs to be addressed,” he said.
Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Charges advance for men accused in police scuffle at Fort Ligonier Days
- Hempfield man receives long-overdue Bronze Star for World War II service
- Suspect in West Newton burglary sought; alleged accomplice arrested
- Hempfield votes to fill public works job with interim director Cisco
- Westmoreland County settles with fired public defender
- Arnold man’s molestation conviction upheld
- Walker: Still time to recycle live Christmas trees in Scottdale
- Ligonier planners recommend approval of restaurant proposal
- New Year’s Eve sales set LCB record
- Former Steelers LB Haggans to do time in Westmoreland jail
- Rostraver Democrat aims for 1 of 3 open spots on Westmoreland County bench