Cell tower proposed for Manor-North Huntingdon border | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Cell tower proposed for Manor-North Huntingdon border

Joe Napsha
974663_web1_gtr-NHcelltower-040619
Jor Napsha | Tribune-Review
Telecommunications tower along Brush Creek Road, Hempfield Township. Verizon Wireless is proposing to build a tower in North Huntingdon, off Sandy Hill Road.

Verizon Wireless customers in eastern North Huntingdon, Manor and the Adamsburg areas should get better coverage for phone and data if the company builds a cellphone tower on property Manor owns in North Huntingdon, a Verizon attorney said.

The township zoning hearing board this week granted TowerCo 2013 LLC and Verizon Wireless variances from requirements that telecommunications towers be built 195 feet from a property line. The board also granted Verizon and Cary, N.C.-based TowerCo a variance from the requirement towers cannot be within two miles of another one.

Verizon and TowerCo had appealed zoning officer Thomas McGuire’s decision to deny a permit to build a 190-foot tower within a 75-foot-by-75-foot fenced-in area on an Oakside Drive parcel, said Joseph Cortese, a Pittsburgh attorney representing Verizon. The company wants to build the tower as soon as possible.

The tower is to be built fewer than 195 feet from the property line because that was the best spot on the 3.3-acre parcel to get the most coverage, Cortese said.

The new tower would be within two miles of other towers, including ones near Adamsburg, North Irwin and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, because of the need to close coverage gaps, Cortese said. More towers are necessary because customers increasingly use phones and other electronics for data and video, Cortese said.

“It is increasingly more difficult to site the communications towers,” Cortese said. Western Pennsylvania’s hilly topography also creates more challenges for providing coverage, Cortese said.

Two nearby residents, Sherry and Edward Pecora of Sandy Hill Road, expressed concerns about safety issues with the tower, with radio frequency signals within a quarter-mile of their home.

The federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 prohibits the zoning board from considering evidence of potential health effects from the radio frequency signals used in wireless communication, Cortese said.

The tower would be on land Manor Borough acquired for a sewage treatment facility for a housing plan, said Joseph Lapia, Manor Borough manager.

Manor signed an agreement with TowerCo last year to rent the space for the cell tower, Lapia said. The agreement is contingent upon Verizon obtaining all necessary state and local approvals, Lapia said. Township planning commission members and commissioners must approve the site plan for the tower.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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.