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Reading residents upset over plan for cell phone tower

By Adam Klein, 69 News Photojournalist
Published On: Oct 09 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 10 2012 06:35:26 PM CDT

A Reading neighborhood is rallying against a proposed cell phone tower near homes, schools and businesses.

READING, Pa. -

A Reading neighborhood is rallying against a proposed cell phone tower near homes, schools and businesses.

Last Thursday, people who live in the area of North 6th and Spring streets said they noticed a zoning hearing sign posted alongside a nearby stretch of commercial property.

"With further research, it has come to the conclusion that there's a proposal to place a cell phone tower," said Frank Denbowski, a concerned neighbor and member of the Reading School Board.

Having a 95-foot Verizon Wireless cell phone tower only 500 feet from residential-zoned property, Denbowski said, raises a red flag.

For one, Denbowski said, having a tower so close to homes puts a damper on the overall visual appeal of the neighborhood.

Beside the line of sight issues, neighbors have other concerns, which they voiced at a zoning hearing in city council chambers.

"This is one of the few roads/streets, to connect to the other side of town. There's a lot of young kids passing through here. You don't want to encourage people to get near it."

"I think they should move it to another location where their isn't so many kids around because the kids come down here from high school and we got grade school right up here on Spring Street," said Nelson Schwartz, owner of Washington Novelty at North 6th and Spring streets.

A gas station located at the intersection 50 years ago, said neighbors, fearing that there are gas tanks still underground. Denbowski said that is one of the major concerns neighbors would address.

Representatives from Verizon Wireless said the proposed tower location is to better provide services to their customers.

During Wednesday evening's zoning hearing, Verizon officials said they look forward to addressing the neighbors concerns.

"We're not necessarily opposed to cell phone towers. The question is exactly where do you place it. We know the practicality of needing it," said Denbowski.

City council members will not make a decision to allow plans for the tower to move forward until next month, said Denbowski.