MAHONING TOWNSHIP Supervisors expedite emergency cell tower
The approval carries astipulation.
BY MARY GRZEBIENIAK
HILLSVILLE, Pa. -- Action taken by Mahoning Township supervisors in a special meeting Friday is expected to improve communications for the township fire department as well as other municipalities.
Supervisors unanimously waived the normal zoning approval procedure to expedite location of a state telecommunications cell tower on PennDOT land at Five Points and Pa. Route 551.
The land is zoned as a mixed-use highway district. Normally, construction of a cell tower would require a conditional use permit. This involves a review before the township planning commission, which would then submit a recommendation to supervisors for final approval.
The tower conforms to the township zoning ordinance and would have gained approval anyway, only later, officials said.
Approval was needed quickly because, as state lawyer Brian Simmons explained at a meeting Tuesday, 250 such tower sites must be approved in Pennsylvania by the end of the year or the state will lose its FCC frequency for the project.
Stipulation: Planning Commission Chairman Don Dougherty attended Friday's meeting and said he had no objection.
But he added that the planning commission wants assurance that the property would not someday be leased to a cell phone company if the state no longer needed it.
Supervisors agreed and approved a resolution making the zoning waiver good only for the original use. It would be revoked if the property is sublet.
Supervisor Poncho Exposito, a member of the township fire department, said the tower will eventually make it possible for local fire and emergency medical personnel to use a new Internet service for emergency communication.