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Pa. cell tower hearing ends before residents have a say

April 22, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - After two hours of testimony by a developer Monday, township supervisors continued the hearing on a cell tower proposed along Jacobs Church Road and Pa. 16 in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., before any residents were given a chance to comment.

Residents' names and addresses were taken by the stenographer to accommodate those present who wanted to testify to the board on record.

About 12 residents were sworn in at the start of the hearing, and by 10:30 p.m., only eight remained at the meeting.

The hearing Monday was the second on the request by Liberty Towers of Rockville, Md., to erect a 190-foot monopole that would provide wireless coverage to an area that includes currently unserviced Blue Ridge Summit.

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Solicitor John Lisko said the board has 45 days from the first hearing to decide on the request.

The board heard only two testimonies from Liberty Towers. Attorney Jeffrey Ernico said he still had about 30 minutes more to testify to the board on its presentation.

While most residents were grateful to leave and be given a chance to speak on the matter, at least one resident objected to what forced the board to continue the hearing until May 7.

Marianne Cantwell of Blue Ridge Summit said it was unfair for the board to allow the applicant to speak for two hours and then ask residents to wait and come back at a later date to comment.

"I understand that you want to give residents a chance to speak, but to allow them to speak and then ask us to wait is disappointing," she said.

Supervisor Stephen Kulla said the board decided to continue the hearing to give residents the floor to comment.

The few residents who stayed for the duration of the applicant's testimony called out comments as the board debated a date on which to continue the hearing.

"I am just mad," Mary Rae Cantwell of Blue Ridge Summit said of the proposal.

"Oh, I want to be heard on this," one gentleman called out.

The board will reopen the hearing May 7 at 7 p.m.

Township Manager Mike Christopher said the date of the hearing had to be in May to allow for time to advertise it in local papers.

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