Last updated: March 17. 2013 2:57AM - 406 Views
SUSAN DENNEY, Times Leader correspondent

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DALLAS -- Residents of the borough heard testimony from Verizon representatives at a hearing Wednesday night about a cellphone tower the company wants to build on a part of the Twin Stacks center property at 1100 Memorial Highway.

The area is presently zoned for industrial use.

Verizon is seeking permission to construct a 125-foot tower with a 5-foot lightning rod on top. The installation also would include a service shed and a couple of parking spaces. No one would work at the tower, but maintenance personnel would visit to make sure the equipment was functioning properly.

Max Shradley, a professional engineer and representative of Rettew Associates Inc., answered questions about the plans for the site. Residents whose properties would lie close to the tower questioned Shradley about its appearance, the potential noise and possible safety issues.

Andrew Petersohn, a professional engineer from dBm Engineering began a presentation by explaining the need for an additional cellphone tower in the area. The presence of Misericordia University represented heavy data usage, he said. Students often use data-hungry devices that depend on cellular service.

One resident asked why the tower could not be placed on the campus, since the university was creating a large demand for services.

Misericordia President Michael MacDowell responded the university lies in both Dallas Borough and Dallas Township and is not zoned as an industrial area in either political entity, he said. He said that it would require variances to allow construction of a tower on campus.

The hearing will continue on Feb. 20 with additional testimony from Verizon. After Verizon has completed its presentation, residents can present objections to the project.

In other matters:

• The council voted to approve its first ordinance of 2013, which will ban smoking in the borough building and on borough property.

• The borough will seek applications for a part-time police officer.

What's next

Council meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 18. The conclusion of the hearing will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 20 at a location on the Misericordia University campus that will be advertised. The hearing will be followed by another council meeting at 7:30 p.m.

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