North Huntingdon to appeal zoning board OK of cell phone tower
North Huntingdon is taking its township zoning board to court over its decision to allow a cell phone tower to be built on property bordering Manor borough.
Township commissioners this week authorized an appeal to Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court. The zoning board on April 2 granted TowerCo 2013 of Cary. N.C., and Pittsburgh SMSA Limited Partnership a variance of an ordinance requiring a telecommunications tower be built at least the same distance from a property line as the tower’s height. TowerCo proposed building the 195-foot-monopole about 105 feet from the parcel’s border. Manor Borough owns the site along Oakside Drive, which is off Sandy Hill Road.
Pittsburgh attorney Joseph Cortese, who represented Pittsburgh SMSA and TowerCo at the zoning board’s April 2 hearing, could not be reached for comment. Verizon Wireless was a partner in the venture through Pittsburgh SMSA.
Zoning board solicitor George Butler said he could not comment on the issue. No township officials appeared at the zoning hearing board to express opposition to granting Verizon the variance, Butler said.
The zoning board ruled in the case because Verizon and TowerCo. had appealed zoning officer Thomas McGuire’s decision to deny a permit to build the tower at the site because of its proximity to the property line.
While the zoning ordinance was written to ensure a cell phone tower would not fall onto a neighbor’s property, a TowerCo official testified the monopoles are built to break in half at about the mid-point of the structure, not at the base. Monopoles in Florida withstood hurricane-strength winds, David Hockey, TowerCo’s zoning director, told the planning commission this month.
The planning commission in May recommended approval of TowerCo’s site plan, despite opposition from commissioner Virginia Stump.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .