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Decision Delayed on GV Cell Tower

Verizon Seeks More Time

By Colleen Mahoney

The Great Valley Planning Board tabled its vote on a proposed cell tower at its May 27 meeting. According to Chris Schena, planning board chair, the vote was tabled until June 10 due to a request from Verizon Wireless.

Schena explained that Verizon, which would be providing service to the proposed tower, asked for time to present the planning board with more information.

Schena reopened a public hearing on the matter to allow both Verizon and Horvath Communications, which will be providing the tower, to respond to comments made at a prior public hearing on May 13.

Whether you “agree or disagree, they deserve that,” he said.

The proposed tower would be at 5556 Martin Road and would provide cell and internet service to areas that don’t currently have service in the surrounding valley. The proposed tower would be 200 feet high and have a base of 70 by 70 feet. If approved, the tower would be erected on Tim and Debbie Halloran’s property, who have led the effort to get service.

“We need cell service, internet service, our kids need to do their homework,” Tim Halloran said.

He also said that there are safety concerns with school buses that travel through the area, as well as visitors to Pumpkinville. Most people use their cell phones as a GPS or to get driving directions, Halloran said, but without service they can easily become lost.

A petition that was presented to the town included 250 signatures in favor of the tower, all of whom Halloran said are within the “deadzone.”

Currently, those in the area without service have landlines, though Halloran said they’re not the best. A rain or wind storm can easily knock them out, he said, and there is no push to get them fixed.

“Landlines are a thing of the past,” he said. “No one is going to spend money to fix them.”

Halloran also argues that the value of homes within the affected area will increase, if they have cell service.

“It’s hard to sell a home that doesn’t get cell service,” he said. “This would be a huge boost to our economy.”

Some residents who would be in direct view of the tower, however, don’t feel the same way. Residents on Martin Road feel the tower would be an eyesore and the proposed area hasn’t been proven as the “most appropriate site,” a requirement for special use permits.

Ryan McCann, of Attea & Attea, P.C. Attorneys at Law, who is representing resident Ricky Howard, said the information provided by Verizon and Horvath is not enough, nor does it satisfy the requirements outlined in the town’s zoning codes.

In a packet sent to the Planning Board, McCann highlights that Horvath and Verizon have not provided adequate or concrete reasoning for choosing the Martin Road property when there are 10 other possible sites.

McCann said he and Howard, who owns two properties on Martin Road, feel that both companies are trying to minimize their expenses by utilizing the existing access road. The existing road is a private road, however those who own property have access to it.

“Verizon is trying to minimize the dollar amount by using this existing road. We don’t think they want to put [the tower] on another property because they would have to build [a road],” McCann said. “They haven’t approached us about maintaining this road, either.”

Schena said the board would listen to the additional information at its meeting on June 10, but depending on what is presented, may not vote at that time. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Great Valley Town Hall.

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