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New cell phone tower plan creates buzz for Washington Township officials

June 10, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- In presenting his own plan for a new cell phone tower, a Sprint affiliate created static Monday concerning another company's proposal in Washington Township, Pa.

Shenandoah Personal Communications Co./Shentel wants to enter into a lease agreement with the local water authority, then put antennas 115 feet up an existing water tower between Pa. 16 and Old Route 16 east of Capital Camps in Rouzerville, Pa.

That, coupled with a tower under construction in Adams County, Pa., should give Sprint customers full coverage while traveling on Pa. 16 from Rouzerville through Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., according to Tucker Lahr, representing Shentel.

Township officials made several comments regarding that promise, since Liberty Towers of Rockville, Md., has said it needs to build a 190-foot tower on Jacobs Church Road to do the same thing for cellular providers. Liberty Towers plans to lease space on its Blue Ridge Summit monopole to providers.

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The Liberty Towers proposal has created public outcry concerning the planned tower's proximity to heavily traveled Pa. 16, the Appalachian Trail and sites that some residents consider to be of historic importance. Township officials expect less disagreement with the Shentel proposal.

"I think we all appreciate the difference between co-locating on an existing structure versus building a 190-foot tower on our main street," said Elena Kehoe, a member of the Washington Township Planning Commission.

Public comment on the Shentel proposal will be accepted on the evenings of July 14 and 21.

The lease agreement would include a section that allows for additional carriers' antennas, Lahr said.

"There's no exclusivity, and they'd mount their towers below ours," he said.

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