Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Cell tower approved near Whispering Sands on US 6

Back To Front Page

 

By JEFF SCHULTZ

Verizon Wireless and Parallel won permission from the Porter County Board of Zoning Appeals on Wednesday to erect a 150-foot telecommunications tower by unanimous vote at 19 West U.S. 6 in Liberty Twp.

The property is located on the same parcel as the Pet Haven Pet Shop, zoned as a high intensity commercial district, which sits south of the Whispering Sands Manufactured Home Community.

Representing Verizon, Bryan Donley said the area has had interruptions with service at “peak times” of the day due to a high volume of cellular phone users and surrounding cell tower sites in a few miles’ radius are becoming overloaded with data. Residents have asked for “better signal levels and quality” of reception, Donley said.

Donley said the high cell phone usage around Porter Regional Hospital has contributed to the problems caused by saturation. Coverage also experiences difficulties other times such as when large events are held at Sunset Hill Farm County Park on the corner of Meridian Rd., Donley said. The difference of elevation along Meriden Rd. has provided challenges as well, he added.

BZA member Marvin Brickner said he lives in the area and has had problems with cell phone coverage in the way that the petitioner described. He said he understands the problems with saturation due to the relocation of the hospital.

“It’s gotta be about ten times as much as a few years ago,” he said.

Brickner said he had no problem with the location, agreeing it is “needed” because of the hospital, but said he’s puzzled why the technology hasn’t gone further in improving coverage. If it doesn’t improve, there will be cell towers just about everywhere, he said.

“What are we going to do when all these towers get saturated? I think there are about nine cell towers in this area. And it’s not coverage; they’re all saturated,” said Brickner.

Donley said the technology is mandated by the Federal Communications Commission and this is what wireless carriers are allowed to provide the coverage,” said Donley. He said he is not sure if there is technology yet that can increase the capacity.

BZA member Mitch Peters asked Donley if other locations were researched. Donley said other parcels were researched, specifically the parcels zoned “appropriately” for cell tower usage, mainly commercial properties. He said that Verizon reached out to all the parcels in the area and the pet shop property was the only one that showed interest.

Donley provided the board with statistics indicating the growing use of cell phones. About 97 percent of all adults in America have a cell phone, many of them keep it for emergencies. The FCC reports that 47 percent of Americans only use cell phones and no landlines. Approximately 70 percent of 911 calls come from cell phones.

Voting in favor of the petition were Peters, Brickner, Luther Williams, Michael Young and Board President Debbie Cook-Kerr.

 

 

Posted 12/22/2016

 
 
 
 

 

 

Search This Site:

Custom Search