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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Cell tower OK granted

  • In a move to help increase the amount of broadband in rural areas, Cellco Partnership, a subsidiary of Verizon Wireless, wants to build a cellphone tower in Shohola. The township Board of Supervisors gave conditional use approval at its monthly meeting on Dec. 12.
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  • In a move to help increase the amount of broadband in rural areas, Cellco Partnership, a subsidiary of Verizon Wireless, wants to build a cellphone tower in Shohola. The township Board of Supervisors gave conditional use approval at its monthly meeting on Dec. 12.
    Lars H. Anderson, commercial and corporate lawyer with firm Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn based in Kingston, Pa. Who represents Cellco Partnership, said he has submitted an application for comment to the Pike County Planning Commission.
    According to Anderson, Cellco is proposing to build a grey 190-foot lattice tower on a 100- by 100-square-foot piece of property that sits on a 175-acre parcel that would be leased by Verizon from the Hinkel family off of Hinkel Road in the township. A 5-foot lightning rod would sit on the top of the tower, an equipment shelter built, as well as a generator pad. In addition, a 50- by 50-foot area will be surrounded by an 8-foot-high chain-linked barbed wire fence.
    Engineer Eric Brinser, of Rettew Associates in Mechanicsburg, Pa., explained that the property is located off of Hinkel Road and Parkers Glen Road to the east of Walker Lake, and it is mostly wooded with an open area in the center of it. He said that all proposed structures are within the required 30-foot setback criteria, with the exception of the chain-link fence. One parking space would be created, and the proposal would allow for Cellco to lease space on the tower to four other carriers.
    The facility would be un-manned, with a technician visiting the property every month or every other month, according to Brinser.
    Supervisor Keith Raser asked Brinser if Cellco would accommodate antennas for local emergency services providers.
    "Yes, they typically allow that … We would have to verify that structurally it could handle it, but yes, we do allow that," he said.
    Supervisors Chairman George Fluhr Jr. asked if any power surges could be expected after the tower is up and running. He said no.
    Andrew Petersohn, a radio frequency design engineer at dBm Engineering based in Collegeville, Pa., explained that the purpose of the facility is to satisfy state Chapter 30 legislation, which calls for more broadband access in rural areas of the state.
    He said that it's unclear whether when the tower is completed whether voice service will be available immediately. The tower is being built as a 4G LTE tower-only facility.
    "The publicly announced timeline for voiceover LTE that Verizon has committed to is by the end of 2014. This facility at this stage of the game, where we are with the approval process, by the time it were to be constructed, and some of the things I'm hearing and reading in the industry, is that voiceover LTE will be available more like the second quarter of 2014," Petersohn explained. He said that Verizon is also planning facilities in Greeley and Mill Rift.
    Page 2 of 2 - He showed a map of what the coverage area would look like once the new tower is operating, pointing out the fact that the map refers to coverage while inside buildings.
    Anderson asked Petersohn if there are existing tall structures in the area that were considered. He said there were several options; however, they were not available for lease.
    Fluhr expressed concern over remaining gaps in the proposed coverage area.
    "There are some portions of the township that are left uncovered when we're viewing this through an in-building coverage perspective. So, when we're talking about the overall customer experience, it's a mix of in-building, on street and in car. Depending where you are and what time of day, the coverage area will get significantly greater," he said.
    The supervisors gave conditional use approval, providing the following conditions: voice service is provided by Dec. 31, 2015; vehicle access is maintained by Verizon; and liability insurance continues during the remainder of the lease.
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