DALLAS TWP. – Dallas Borough Council on Wednesday heard more testimony on a cellphone tower that Verizon Wireless is proposing to construct behind the Twin Stacks Center.
Project engineer Andy Petersohn testified that a new tower is needed because cellphone and wireless device traffic – primarily from students at Misericordia University – is expected to soon overwhelm existing cellphone towers and could slow service for all area subscribers or even prevent calls from connecting.
Petersohn said existing structures, such as water towers, were considered but were unsuitable.
Resident Martin Straigis asked if there were any studies showing cellphone towers will not harm his pregnant wife or the baby. Petersohn said countless studies have been done and there is no credible study showing that a cellphone tower has had adverse health effects on anyone.
Resident Lynn Jumper asked how property values would be affected. Verizon Wireless attorney Rich Williams said it was not Verizon Wireless' burden to prove the tower would not have an adverse effect on property values.
Dallas solicitor Jeffrey Malak said that burden of proof lies on objectors to the tower, who could testify or call expert witnesses.
Project manager and consultant Jim Rodgers testified the site was chosen because it's in an industrial zone. Towers are not permitted in residential zones without a use variance granted.
Councilman Brian Stevens asked if Verizon Wireless would consider camouflaging the tower. A lot of these people have property value concerns. … I don't want a big, steel tower … near my property. But if it looks like that, Stevens said, holding up a photo of a tower camouflaged to look like a tree, I'm less concerned.
Petersohn had no objection if the antenna wasn't covered.
Resident Mike Bahara asked what safety measures there were to prevent a fire from spreading to nearby woods if a diesel engine on the site caught fire.
It's a double-walled generator electronically monitored 24 hours a day and contained in an equipment shelter, Rodgers said.
We've never had any kind of issue with that.
Dallas Borough Council will hear testimony on the proposed cellphone tower from residents, objectors and their witnesses at a public hearing at 6 p.m. March 12 in the third floor McGowan Room at the Bevevino Library at Misericordia University. Find related documents at timesleader.com.