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New site plan offered for Blue Ridge Summit cell phone tower

September 09, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- The latest proposal for a new cell phone tower in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., shows a 190-foot structure off left field of the ballfield used by the Pen Mar Youth League.

The tower developer, Liberty Towers, has provided computer-generated maps that show signals from that tower reaching Cascade and Fort Ritchie south of the Mason-Dixon line and into Michaux State Forest to the north.

"As a tower developer, we're trying to find a location that's attractive to all carriers," said Mike Hofe, president and chief executive officer of Liberty Towers.

The Rockville, Md., company had proposed a tower on Jacobs Church Road, but that plan met community criticism in local months due to its proximity to heavily traveled Pa. 16. Now, Liberty Towers has established a lease agreement with the youth league for two acres of land, although it plans to only use an 80-foot-by-80-foot parcel on the ground.

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Several representatives of Liberty Towers participated in a public hearing Monday before the Washington Township Planning Commission. The planning commission unanimously OK'd the plan, which will next go before the Washington Township Supervisors.

Randall Holmes, who works with site acquisition, said the tower has been designed to support six carriers with 12 antennae each on low-profile platforms.

"This is designed for the most loading I see," he said.

The company representatives told the planning commission members that they do not yet have contracts in place with carriers.

"From our standpoint, why should we approve a tower that's going to be built if we don't know it's going to be used?" planner Elena Kehoe asked.

"Let me flip that," Hofe said. "Why would a company spend six figures on a tower that would not be used?"

He said that without township approvals and with the changed location, the carriers are hesitant to commit at this time.

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