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Red balloon sends up red flag for Pa. cell phone tower

June 13, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, PA. -- For all the money invested, for all the engineering, for all the documents prepared, it could end up being a single red balloon that lets the air out of a proposal for a cell phone tower in Blue Ridge Summit.

Liberty Towers of Rockville, Md., recently sent a balloon up from the Jacobs Church Road site planned for its cell phone tower.

This time, in what was the second such test performed, the balloon sent up a red flag for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, which reportedly has concerns that the balloon, and hence the cell tower, could be seen from the protected Monterey Historic District.

Liberty Towers this week asked the Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors for a three-month extension on their application for the 190-foot tower just a few hundred feet from Pa. 16 (Buchanan Trail East).

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"Basically, they wanted to look at other sites," said Carroll Sturm, chairman of the township supervisors.

The "Monterey Historic District" was listed with the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, according to a searchable database on the National Register's Web site. A copy of the nomination form touts the district as "a fine example of a 19th century summer resort area."

The nomination form states that the district has about 60 structures of historic significance, including two inns, a church, a library, a club and a golf course. The form lists Charmian Lane as the eastern boundary of the district.

The proposed cell phone tower would be a conditional use on the commercially zoned property at 15387 Jacobs Church Road. The search for a new location could prompt changes to the original application.

"If the supervisors think it's OK with them, the supervisors will work with (Liberty Towers) to amend the application," Sturm said.

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