Cell Phone Towers in Abington
At the 9-11-08 Board Meeting - a company called Next G was
awarded the right ( for $250 annually paid to the
township? ) to use of the Verizon & Peco poles to erect
"microcell" sites. These sites are smaller than the
macrosite towers and have a shorter range & lower output than
the large towers. The y are not meant to replace them, only to
fill in areas that have problems . We entered into a
10 year agreement with three 5 year extensions
The units consist of a cylinder, made to look a bit like
the pole itself that could extend up to four feet above
the pole - then they might have an addition antennae which could
extend and additional 6 feet - so they might extend up to ten
feet above the pole. ( Poles, I am told could run as
much as 120ft to 200 feet high ) They also would
have an equipment box that would be located possibly 14 feet or
so above ground. Noise from the box, is not a factor, I am
While the company would need to return to the Commissioners to
request usage on additional poles, they apparently can add users
without as formal a process . Two or 3 additional users
are the max that would be anticipated . Questions
about the output remain unanswered, except to the extent that
the output will be below what the FCC allows . We
have not yet learned the locations of the poles .
Two years ago, unbeknownst to many who were interested in the
issue , an ordinance passed regulating some of these issues .
That ordinance can be found on
www.abingtonpa.gov by choosing departments then code
enforcment and searching the codebook in Abington for
Telecommunications - it passed 10-06.
would not grant the right of way - the issue is dead. T-Mobile
drops their plans. See the Times Chronicle / Montgomery News
5-1-07 We understand from some who have been in touch with
SEPTA asking about the restoration of the Septa R8 Line
that Septa may have long range plans to restore that
line when their financial condition improves. It was questioned
whether the Lorimor Tower would impede or affect this.......
Preliminiary inquiries seem to indicate that not only might
SEPTA might have some future plans but that possibly Bucks
County Transportation Management Association may also
interested in restoring transit operations, and that the
Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission may also have
endorsed its restoration. All of the townships in Bucks County
are also in favor of restored train service, we are told. Should
the line be restored, it will most likely be done in its
entirety, some think, to help alleviate parking problems at Fox
Chase. SEPTA has denied the townships in Bucks County permission
to convert the line into a hiking trail in 2003. Can we assume
the same would apply in Montco ?
Apparently the Lorimor tower passed despite the dozens of esidents
who came out to protest the tower at Lorimor - they were
granted the right to contruct the 150 foot monopole in the Septa
right of way.It was passed
3-1 with several conditions regarding lighting and
regarding input by the Shade tree Commission
3-28-07 T-Mobile appealing VFW decision as pending park case decided
By: Mischa Aaron Arnosky, Staff Writer
Reprinted with permission from Montgomery Newspapers
It took 21 days for the Abington Zoning Hearing Board to shoot
down a proposed T-Mobile (then Omnipoint) cell phone tower at
the North Penn VFW last year on Jenkintown Road. Residents near
another proposed cell tower adjacent to Lorimer Park are hoping
for similar results.
Testimony ended March 20 regarding the proposed monopole to be
placed in a SEPTA right-of-way near the park on the southern
side of Moredon Road. T-Mobile Northeast, LLC is seeking
variances with regard to height and frontage in the area, which
is zoned R-1, for the 150-foot steel pole.
For reasons similar to the application at the VFW, T-Mobile said
it needs a monopole there to fill the gap in coverage, which it
said is not up to 98 percent. Though representatives from
T-Mobile would not say what the cell phone provider's current
coverage rate is, it suggested the tower is needed for those
making calls from their vehicles, citing that 4,000 vehicles use
that area per day.
As expected, the hearing was standing room only - filled with
residents who vehemently opposed the pole ranging in reasons
from a claimed reduction in property value to poor aesthetics.
No resident spoke in favor of the proposed structure.
According to last year's application for the proposed 120-foot
pole at the VFW site, more than 20 residents spoke in opposition
of the structure and it was largely denied because of
"The board finds that granting the variances ... in this
application would adversely affect the health, safety and
welfare and would be out of character with the residential
character of the community," read the "Opinion and Order of the
Board" dated May 19, 2006.
The board also cited in the conclusion that T-Mobile didn't
prove there was a gap in coverage in the Glenside/Ardsley area -
failing to establish the hardship necessary for the variances in
According to the zoning hearing board's decision, T-Mobile
initially attempted to place a structure in the Rosemore Gardens
apartment complex in the 200 block of Easton Road in Glenside.
When that site was "not well received," T-Mobile ultimately
withdrew its application and attempted to place its structure at
the VFW site.
According to Abington Planning and Code Enforcement Director
Lawrence Matteo, the zoning board's decision regarding the VFW
site has been appealed by T-Mobile and is in the process of
finding a court date.
There are no updates regarding the application on Moredon Road.
©Montgomery Newspapers 2007
March 07 Reprinted with permission from Montgomery
As seen in the
Residents oppose T-Mobile pole in park
By: Mischa Aaron Arnosky, Staff Writer
Testimony closed Tuesday, but upset residents still had a lot
to say regarding a decidedly unnatural structure proposed near
Dozens of residents vented their opposition to a proposed
150-foot-tall steel monopole proposed by T-Mobile Northeast,
LLC, to be placed in a right-of-way used by SEPTA, which is
adjacent to the park, at the Abington Zoning Hearing Board's
"The purpose here is to fill the gap," T-Mobile attorney George
"The gap" is along the creek and refers to coverage reliability
on the streets near the area, specifically Moredon Road, and in
the park, Asimos said. He emphasized that 4,000 cars travel
Moredon Road daily and that users have compromised service
because of the gap. In a presentation, radio frequency engineer
for T-Mobile Bryan Grebis said the company was looking to obtain
98 percent reliability, though residents pressed him as to the
current reliability rate.
T-Mobile isn't the only provider that has coverage gaps in that
area, Asimos said.
He said T-Mobile's case is bolstered in that every cell phone
provider has weak service near Moredon Road and in the park and
that reliability of customers' cell phones and their safety
supercedes aesthetic complaints of Abington residents who live
near the park.
Residents orchestrated a presentation that touched on everything
from aesthetics, property value and even the history of the park
(which was deeded to the county by George Horace Lorimer in
1938). Pictures of other companies' monopoles were shown, a
petition opposing the structure containing 91 signatures
representing 82 percent of the households was submitted and
hours of anecdotal evidence was given.
Resident Larry Schwalb said he has always wanted to live near
the park and now he does. He said he takes his twin grandsons to
the park and he doesn't want to see it tarnished by a monopole.
"We don't want to sell out," Schwalb said. "It's an area of
recreation and we have a major investment in living there. It's
for residents and our families to grow up in a beautiful park
Schwalb, referring to property values said, "No one ever sees
real estate advertisements that say 'beautiful pole frontage,'"
He tried to submit a letter written by a real estate
professional regarding decreased property value because of the
proposed pole, but was denied because the author, who was not in
attendance, could not be questioned.
Abington Commissioner Robert Wachter, speaking as a resident,
said when Lorimer deeded the park to the county, it was to be
kept in a near natural state, free from commercial use. He said
the zoning and setbacks for the proposed pole were not
Later, Asimos said municipalities cannot make decisions
regarding private restrictions, as in the park's case. He also
said the tower is tantamount to a utility, not a commercial use,
adding that if the park was to be kept natural, residents' homes
should not have been constructed so close to it.
Asimos said while he applauds the democratic process, this issue
is not about public opinion but more of a legal matter. He said
the Telecommunications Act of 1996 states municipalities may not
interfere with communications.
"This is a minimal intrusion for a significant benefit," Asimos
Residents vehemently wanted to rebut Asimos' closing statements
but were told by the board to do so via written statements.
T-Mobile has 14 days to submit final documents to the zoning
hearing board. The hearing board then has 45 days to make a
decision upon receiving T-Mobile's documents.
T-Mobile was denied permission to construct a 120-foot-tall on
the property of North Penn VFW Post 676 in Glenside in April
©Montgomery Newspapers 2007
Jan 20, 2007 -
Re: the T-Mobile cell tower application for placement near Lorimer Park on Moredon Rd, I am not sure but I think Jan 19th
there was a meeting scheduled. The lease amount discussed
was , I think, $12,000 in November but I don't have a - haven't
been able to keep up with the details . Check the township site
or call the township 267-536-1000 to learn more.
Notice is hereby
given that the Zoning Hearing Board of the Township of Abington
will hold a meeting as required by the Township of Abington’s
Zoning Ordinance at the Abington Township Administration
Building, located at 1176 Old York Road, Abington, Pennsylvania,
on: Tuesday, December 19, 2006, at 7:00 p.m., at which
time a public hearing will commence on the following
The application of T-Mobile Northeast, LLC, applicants
for the property located
on the southern
side of Moredon Road, adjacent to Lorimer Park and referred to
as the SEPTA Right-of-Way. The applicant seeks variances from
Ordinance #1793 for use. In addition, the applicant has
requested an interpretation from the Zoning Hearing Board on the
term monopole and building. The applicants have requested
approval to install a 150 foot high monopole on the site. In
the event that the use variance is approved by the Zoning
Hearing Board, the applicant is still required to obtain
Conditional Use approval by the Board of Commissioners of the
Township of Abington.
The property is zoned within both the Recreational Conservation
District and the R-1 Residential District. It is located within
Ward #2 of the Township of Abington. A copy of the application
and site plan is on file with the Zoning Officer of the Township
of Abington and is available for review during normal business
This notice is sent by Order of the Zoning Hearing Board.
Mark A. Penecale Planning & Zoning Officer
Note: There is a 30 day period after the date of decision
is rendered for any and all aggrieved persons to file an appeal
in the appropriate court to contest the actions of the Zoning
Hearing Board. Applicants that take action on a Zoning Hearing
Board approval during the 30 day appeal period, do so at their
own risk. If there are any questions that you may have, please
feel free to contact me at 267-536-1017. If you are unable to
attend the hearing, written comment may be entered into the
record by submitting them advance of the hearing to the Planning
& Zoning Officer.
11-06 Look where it is now ....
Zoning Hearing Notice
Notice is hereby given that the Zoning
Hearing Board of the Township of Abington will hold a meeting as
required by the Township of Abington’s Zoning Ordinance at the
Abington Township Administration Building, located at 1176 Old
York Road, Abington, Pennsylvania, on:
Tuesday, November 28, 2006, at 7:00 p.m.,
at which time a public hearing will commence on the following
06-35: The application of T-Mobile
Northeast, LLC, applicants for the property located
on the southern side of Moredon Road,
adjacent to Lorimer Park and referred to as the SEPTA
Right-of-Way. The applicant seeks variances from Ordinance #1793
for use. In addition, the applicant has requested an
interpretation from the Zoning Hearing Board on the term
monopole and building. The applicants have requested approval to
install a 150 foot high monopole on the site. In the event that
the use variance is approved by the Zoning Hearing Board, the
applicant is still required to obtain Conditional Use approval
by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Abington.
The property is zoned within both the
Recreational Conservation District and the R-1 Residential
District. It is also split between both Ward #2 and Ward #3 of
the Township of Abington. A copy of the application and site
plan is on file with the Zoning Officer of the Township of
Abington and is available for review during normal business
This notice is sent by Order of the Zoning
Mark A. Penecale
Planning & Zoning Officer
Note: There is a 30 day period after the date
of decision is rendered for any and all aggrieved persons to
file an appeal in the appropriate court to contest the actions
of the Zoning Hearing Board. Applicants that take action on a
Zoning Hearing Board approval during the 30 day appeal period,
do so at their own risk. If there are any questions that you may
have, please feel free to contact me at 267-536-1017. If you are
unable to attend the hearing, written comment may be entered
into the record by submitting them advance of the hearing to the
Planning & Zoning Officer.
7-10-06 We have heard tell that Omnipoint
is appealing the decision of the township. We await verification
of this and news about the grounds upon which any appeal
is being based.
5-10-06 Reprinted from the Times Chronicle
Zoners say no to cell tower at VFW by Lisa
Beisel Staff Writer
The Abington Zoning Hearing Board denied the request by
Omnipoint Communications to build a 120-foot cell phone tower on
the North Penn VFW property at 2519 Jenkintown Road in a 3-1
vote Tuesday night.
The decision followed several crowded hearings that were filled
to the brim with concerned residents and neighbors.
During hearings, Omnipoint Communications, also known as
T-Mobile, claimed that the cell phone tower was necessary to
close gaps in coverage that exist in the area. Two residents
came forward to attest they had T-Mobile service and did not
have a problem in the area.
At the closing of the hearing April 18, board Chairwoman Barbara
Wertheimer allowed every resident that wanted to speak for or
against the cell tower to come forward. Of the almost 30
residents signed up to speak, only two were in favor, one being
the president of the board of directors at the VFW.
Among other issues, residents voiced concerns about the
visibility of the flag that would be placed on top of the flag
pole and would have flown year-round, with ground lighting
shining on it.
There was no discussion about the decision Tuesday night. Board
member John DiPrimio cast the dissenting vote.
The tower would have been located in an R-4 residential zone
located in Ward 9 of the township.
About a dozen residents, including Commissioner Dennis Zappone,
in whose ward the VFW is located, were in attendance to hear the
"I think this is a great day for Ardsley," Zappone said
following the decision.
He said he agreed with the decision and credited the residents
for what he called a "long, hard fight."
Zappone also said the decision properly enforced township codes.
"That's the law of the township," he said.
Resident Bill Cunnane, who attended all the meetings regarding
the proposed cell phone tower, was also pleased.
"We saw the system worked very well," Cunnane said, calling the
board's decision a "good happy ending."
No representatives from the VFW or Omnipoint Communications were
5-8-06 Email received from a resident from the
cell tower neighborhood :
"On May 9, 2006, the zoning hearing board is expected to render
a decision on the variance request by the Glenside VFW for the
erection of a cell tower on their zoned residential property."
Please confirm with the township if you would like to be certain
this is the case- 267-536-1000
04/19/2006 Reprinted with permission from Times
Chronicle/ Glenside News
VFW cell tower zoning hearing wraps up
By: Lisa Beisel , Staff Writer
Residents of Abington Township made what could only be called
a public outcry against a cell phone tower being built at the
Jenkintown Road VFW at a continued zoning hearing meeting
Omnipoint Communications, also known as the cell phone company
T-Mobile, requested a variance to put a 120-foot-tall cell phone
tower on the North Penn VFW property at 2519 Jenkintown Road,
located in Ward 9 of Abington Township.
Elizabeth Witmer, attorney for Omnipoint, began the continuance
by providing a lease agreement between her client and the VFW,
which she was unable to produce at the prior hearing.
Witmer also called Roger Johnson from the Damiano Long
engineering firm to testify about more pictures that were
requested. At the prior hearing, residents claimed the pictures
with the flag or cell tower simulation were not taken from
enough angles. Johnson showed 41 pictures from a variety of
angles, 14 of which had a flag, shown to scale, on them.
"This is the most extensive balloon study I've ever been
involved with and that my firm has ever been involved with,"
When asked by a resident why all the photos did not have flag
simulations, he said it was a logistical reason.
"It's just not practical to do 41 photo simulations, especially
since the balloon is barely visible in many cases," he said.
As promised, zoning hearing board chairwoman Barbara Wertheimer
allowed every resident that wanted to speak for or against the
cell tower to come forward. Wertheimer warned people would be
"cut off" after "a reasonable amount of time," but no specific
time limit was given.
Almost 30 residents signed up on a list to speak, but some had
left before their turn because of the late hour. Only two
residents spoke in favor of the cell tower, one being the
president of the board of directors at the VFW.
Resident Ray Kline Jr., who said he was a former township
commissioner, said everyone wants to have certain services, but
no one wants them in their area.
"Let's get on with it. Zoning hearing board, go for it," Kline
Several residents said they resented that the cell tower was
being referred to as a "flagpole."
"I resent calling this communication tower a flagpole ... This
is a commercial venture," said resident Bill Cunnane, who
further noted in the February hearing, the structure was
referred to as a flagpole 57 times.
His thoughts were echoed by several other residents.
Many of the other comments focused on the fact that the proposed
cell tower falls in an area zoned R4 residential, in which cell
phone towers are not permitted.
"Please protect us from this," pleaded resident Jack Carnell.
Carnell also speculated about the noise the flag may make.
"It's going to be really loud, especially on windy days," he
said. He also noted there was no way to simulate how the flag
would look at night.
If approved, the flag would fly 24 hours a day and would have a
light shining on it. In a previous hearing, Johnson said the
light will be ground lighting, and the surrounding fence would
block neighbors from seeing the lighting structure. He could not
answer questions regarding spill of light onto neighboring
properties because his firm is not typically involved with
lighting, he said at the prior meeting.
Over the course of the hearing, two residents who live in the
neighborhood said they had T-Mobile service and had no problems
with reception. Another resident pointed out Tuesday that
according to the T-Mobile Web site, reception at the VFW address
is listed as "fair."
Resident Renee Nichols said the proposed 120-foot structure
would be comparable to the height of 12-story building.
"They've never once shown any of the residents a picture of what
the actual cell tower would look like, what the compound would
look like," Nichols said.
She also said she heard rumors the VFW would make $2,400 a month
if the cell tower was installed. Neither representatives from
Omnipoint nor the VFW would comment on that figure after the
John Sweeney, a representative of the VFW, said every rumor
about the figure has been erroneous, but the board of directors
for the VFW asked him not to disclose the correct number.
The hearing is now closed, and the zoning hearing board will
have 45 days to render its decision on the matter.
Abington Citizens Network :
Hope everyone will note the meeting date originally scheduled
for the 21st now has changed to the 18th
Posted 4-13-06 :
From a resident in the cell tower area:
I would like
to alert the citizens of Abington to an issue that I believe is
an important one, albeit one that seems only to directly
affect the residents adjacent to the North Penn VFW on
Jenkintown Road. There presently is an application pending
before the zoning board of Abington on a zoning change to allow
a 120 foot cell phone tower to be constructed on the property of
the VFW (2519 Jenkintown Rd) The VFW, I believe, is zoned R-4
residential and always has been since the 1930's or so. There
have been two zoning board hearings so far that I know of
on this matter. There is what looks to be a final hearing
scheduled for April 21st. ( NOTE - That has just been
changed to the 18th )
community in this part of the township is outraged. If built -
this tower will be situated less than 50 yards from several
residences and will be located in an otherwise entirely
residential neighborhood. Both T-mobile and the VFW are
completely unsympathetic to the community objections, as they
both stand to make money from this deal. The same company
pursued a variance to build its tower at Rosemore Garden
Apartments on Easton Rd. But that application failed
because, we understand, the management of the apartments
under the pressure from the residents had canceled T-mobile
why I believe all the residents of Abington should care: If
passed this zoning change will set a dangerous precedent. That
will mean that our zoning officials put the commercial interests
of multi national corporations before the interests of
their residents. We wanted to start petitions to
both the zoning board and the VFW to let them know that it is
plain wrong to build the tower here.
A few of us have canvassed the
immediate neighborhood, distributed flyers urging people to come
out and speak at the zoning board meetings.
Posted 4-11-06 a flyer sent
by a resident in the cell tower area:
Attention taxpayers of Abington Township. Please be aware there
is a CELL TOWER planned for the North Penn VFW Post located at
2519 Jenkintown Road.
Mark your calendar and come out to Zoning Board Hearing. The
applicant, Omnipoint Communication Enterprises, L.P. is
requesting a variance from Section 304.2A of the Zoning
Ordinance of Abington Township, which does not allow for a CELL
TOWER to be erected on a residential zoned property. The VFW
property is zoned Residential.
WHEN …………. April 18th, 2006 7:00 PM
WHERE ………... Abington Township Administration Bldg
1176 Old York Road, Abington
Here’s what we learned at the February 21, 2006 Zoning Hearing
The TOWER will be 120
feet tall, starting at 3½ft.wide at the base and ending at 2 ft
wide at the top, along with a 40ft x 30ft equipment storage
compound. On the top of the TOWER will be a 15ft x 25ft flag.
Is this larger than your living room?
The storage compound
will start out with 2-6 boxes, each the size of a refrigerator,
housing a fan with noise similar to a home air conditioner.
OMNIPOINT WILL HAVE THE
CAPABILITY OF RENTING OUT THE TOWER AND STORAGE COMPOUND TO 2
MORE CELL PHONE COMPANIES! Not only does this increase the
electromagnetic waves, each company can place 6 more boxes in
the compound. THIS MAKES A POSSIBLE TOTAL OF 18 BOXES WITH
FANS IN THE FUTURE!
We believe this will not only affect the VALUE of your home, but
that there is concern over whether electromagnetic waves
may prove to be a health risk for you and your family in the
future. It will also be likely to produce a constant noise of a
flapping flag with rope attachments and fan noise.
The residents around the Rosemore Garden Apts spoke out
against this CELL TOWER in their community very clearly at a
Board of Commissioners Meeting. Omnipoint stated that the
resident’s opposition is the reason they are looking at the VFW
site. But have they exhausted all other acceptable township
sites before trying to erect the TOWER in a zoned residential
Call your Commissioner and let your voices be heard
Ward #9 – Dennis Zappone 215-887-0224
( We believe Mr. Zappone has already committed to fighting this
Ward #13 – Mike Gillespie 215-884-3597
Say NO to the CELL TOWER
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