On Tuesday, a variance was unanimously approved by Upper Yoder’s zoning and hearing board, permitting a 195-foot tall tower to be built in a residential zone behind Westmont Hilltop High School, despite objections from neighbors, reported the Tribune-Democrat.
Upper Yoder Township police Chief Don Hess, fire Chief Tim Reitz, and county emergency management officials all urged the board to approve the move for safety reasons, saying cell phone coverage was non-existent in the neighborhood and that 911 radio communications were spotty at best. A day earlier, Hess said he responded to a call but because neither form of communications was reliable, he had to run to the nearest landline phone to call for another officer, reported the Democrat.
“This problem becomes worse during times of inclement weather,” Hess added.
A group of 27 residents argued the matter didn’t meet the township’s land variance requirements, presenting 30 pages of reasons against the idea, suggesting the tower would “dominate” the landscape and affect property values.
“This is not just a telephone pole. It’s not in the middle of the woods,” said property owner Jean Brinker. “It’s going to be a monstrosity.”
Tuesday’s vote clears the way for the project developers to seek township planning commission approval to develop the site, reported the Democrat.
March 7, 2019