- Published on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 13:20
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Verizon Wireless will be back on the land use action agenda when the Westmoreland County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors convene the next set of meetings in November.
The cellphone and internet service provider received approval in September to construct a communications tower 300 feet in height at a Stratford Hall Road location. The initiative will improve reception in the Stratford Harbour community and surrounding areas.
At issue this Monday when Westmoreland County Planning Commissioners gathered to prepare for the advertised session of Nov. 5 was a slightly shorter communications tower that Verizon Wireless would install to enhance its signal in the Westmoreland Shores and Colonial Forest residential communities.
During the commission’s Oct. 22 deliberations, County Planner Beth McDowell related that Verizon Wireless is requesting a special exception that would allow the service provider “to construct a 195-foot monopole communications structure and associated equipment on a property on Monroe Bay Circle.
“The monopole would be located approximately 175 feet off of the road,” the planner stated, adding that “the nearly 70-acre parcel is mostly open fields. There are currently no improvements on the lot.”
According to Westmoreland County zoning regulations, telecommunication structures placed on A-1, Agricultural properties such as the Monroe Bay Circle site require Board of Supervisors approval of a special exception. The Planning Commissioners will conduct a public hearing on the proposed communications enhancement following a public hearing advertised for 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5. After the hearing, the Commissioners will deliver a vote that recommends Board of Supervisors approval or denial of the request.
The Supervisors will conduct a separate public hearing at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Both meetings will be held in A.T. Johnson auditorium.
During the initial discussion of Oct. 22, McDowell acknowledged the merit of the proposed enhancement, advising that the impacted area of coverage has current service described as marginal by the cellular and internet provider. “There is an existing cell tower located roughly 1.8 miles away on Stoney Knoll,” she said of the communications device approved by local government several years ago.
“Verizon Wireless indicated that collocating [on that tower] would result in signal interference and less than optimal regional coverage due to the Stoney Knoll tower’s proximity to a tower located at Nashtown on Route 3.”
Approval of the special exception request will be subjected to a standard condition the county routinely attaches to its tower permits.
Verizon Wireless will reserve a space on the communications device for the county to install equipment of its own in order to optimize Emergency 911 communications.
Other measures that include screening will be listed as conditions for approval of the application. The set of conditions will be fine tuned as County Land Use officials and Verizon Wireless representatives prepare the request for the November public hearings.