Cell phone tower dispute

June 1, 2009 3:23:41 PM PDT
A Bucks County cemetery could soon hold more than the dearly departed. A proposal would add a cell phone tower to the landscape. Opponents of the tower are giving supporters an earful.The proposal calls for a cell tower to be placed next to an historic cemetery, owned by an historic church, in an historic town. And neighbors say there's nothing historic about a 130 foot tower.

"It's one of the few villages in Bucks County that hasn't really been destroyed and a cell tower would pretty much destroy the historic look," said Debbie Czarnuszewicz of Churchville.

Many neighbors say they're also concerned about the radiation the tower would emit since it would quite literally be in many of their backyards.

They also wonder about the effect this would have on their property values.

But many cell phone customers in and around Churchville have long complained about "dead zones" as Debora Keiser learned this weekend.

"We were protesting in front of the church on Sunday we had people yelling out their car windows they're complaining that they can't get signals but nobody else wants to have it in their backyards either."

T-Mobile's plan puts the tower a few hundred feet away from the nearest home on property owned by the adjacent North and Southampton Reformed Church.

And it would be one of those towers that they try to masquerade as a tree. But as local officials are learning masquerades can only help you so much when you're caught in the middle of a real Catch-22.

"We do get a lot of phone calls from residents asking for better cell phone service in our community we're trying to balance the needs of two different groups," said Joe Golden, the Upper Southampton Twp. Manager.

Our phone call to T-Mobile were not immediately returned and church officials were not available today but the first public hearing involving this issue is scheduled for June 8th and that's a meeting that promises to be quite lively.

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