Unity zoning board OKs cellphone tower project
Unity's zoning hearing board on Tuesday approved a special exception to allow the construction and installation of a cellphone antenna on a 185-foot tower off Lewis Road.
The antenna and an equipment building would sit inside a 98-foot by 98-foot fenced-off area on the 18-acre property of Vince and Patricia Quatrini.
The tower meets all Federal Communications Commission and Federal Aviation Administration requirements, said attorney Jim Roberts, representing telephone company Cingular and the Quatrinis.
The tower, sitting at a 1,374-foot elevation, could improve cellphone reception on areas of Lewis Road, Route 30 and parts of Twin Lakes Park in Hempfield, said Joseph Spiecha, a radio frequency engineer with AT&T, which owns Cingular.
“That area was identified as an area of substandard service,” he said. “I wouldn't want to pay for our service right there. It's poor.”
The pole, similar to a galvanized steel telephone pole, will house 12 directional antennas that are 4 feet high on the top of the tower, plus a 5-foot-tall lightning rod, Spiecha said.
It is designed to bend in extremely high winds or weather, rather than topple over, and no guidelines are necessary, Roberts said.
“These towers are not designed to fall like trees … they bend; they're designed to bend,” he said.
An access road would be cut through the wooded property, zoned R1 rural residential, to accommodate the site, with the removal of a few trees, Roberts said.
Because the height is less than 200 feet, no lights are required, but a 135-foot setback from any property lines is required in case of any damage.
Spiecha said the height is necessary to provide the best coverage while not interfering with other nearby, higher towers.
An application form is recommended through the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport with the Federal Aviation Administration, but not required, said Harry Hosack, township zoning officer, who said the tower met all requirements.
The electromagnetic radiation is 0.02 percent of the permissible limit by the Federal Communications Commission, Roberts said.
Space at the top of the tower will be available if other cellphone companies wish to enter leases to improve their service, Spiecha said.
Board member Dorothy Zello asked how the company determines when there is enough cellphone coverage, referring to a map presented by Spiecha.
“Eventually, you'll keep coming back to us and these red marks (of poor coverage) will be gone, but we'll have an antenna every two miles down the road,” she said.
Antennas on the roof of the Latimer Family Library at St. Vincent College were approved in May, and only one other site is being considered — near Route 130 and Marguerite Lake Road, Spiecha said.
John Gatto of 1249 Maywood Lane said he was concerned about the amount of radiation, living near the tower.
“I urge the board to look at the health concerns.There are numerous studies,” he said.
Board member Jackie Nindel said the elevation difference and distance from the antenna should be far enough that he should not be concerned.
“You're going to be about as far as you can get away from it,” she said.
Spiecha said the American Cancer Society has reported no correlation between cellphone radiation and cancer.
The board approved the tower subject to compliance with township requirements for storm-water management.
In other business, Hosack said 10 residents submitted an application opposing the June decision of the zoning hearing board to allow an independent living group home at 431 Saxman Road operated by Adelphoi Village.
The residents have the option to appeal the decision to the Court of Common Pleas, he said.
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or 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.
- Westmoreland County on pace to surpass record for drug-related fatalities
- Westmoreland Cultural Trust moves to next phase of Palace capital campaign
- More than 120,000 attend Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival
- Greensburg woman has a lifetime of hosting foreign exchange students
- Westmoreland judicial candidates spent more than $1.2 million for primary election
- New Derry to celebrate its 200th birthday
- Unity to decide July 9 on disputed gas station
- Hempfield woman seriously injured in crash
- Youthful actors bring Disney classic ‘Tarzan’ to life at Geyer in Scottdale
- Former Jeannette coach held for trial on charges of assault on teen girls
- Initials carved into pig in Georges Township