KINGSTON TWP. — Trucksville resident Jennifer Hawk refers to some areas of Kingston Township as “the dead zone.”
Hawk, who also works in Trucksville, said spotty coverage makes it necessary for her to sometimes use her cell phone near a window and even then, she only has “one bar.”
She said the appearance of a proposed Verizon Wireless cell phone tower near the intersection of Dug and Carverton roads would be worth improvements in cell phone coverage.
The proposed galvanized steel structure is projected to be five feet in circumference at the base and 120 feet in height.
The property slated for the project has been owned by the Trucksville Volunteer Fire Department for several years and was originally hoped to house a newly constructed fire house. Unfortunately, grant monies and other funding for the project did not come through.
Several residents have expressed concern to township supervisors that the structure would detract from the rural landscape of the residential area, in close proximity to two well maintained churches and less than two miles away from lands of Frances Slocum state park lands.
“Residents did have some specific questions, which I believe were adequately by the Verizon representatives during January’s meeting to the satisfaction of the residents,” said Kim Rose, fire department president.
During that meeting, Verizon officials said the project, offset from the main intersection, is necessary to resolve a “capacity issue,” resulting in some coverage areas having unreliable service.
The board unanimously approved the company’s application for conditional use during that vote.
The project developers then requested and received a variance before the zoning board necessary because the tower will exceed the maximum 100-foot height allowed by township ordinance.
The department’s fire house is now located on land leased at a nominal fee from Kingston Township at the intersection of Route 309 and Carverton Road in a building which previously housed the township municipal headquarters.
Jim Reino, chairman of the Kingston Township Board of Supervisors, said when the municipal building moved to its current location on Center Street in Shavertown, offering use of the building to the fire department seemed like a perfect fit.
Now the department hopes to utilize monies from the leasing of the property that it owns at Carverton and Dug roads to Verizon to fund general expenses and future projects.
A structure on the property is already leased to several businesses including Photography by Andy, Take the Stage dance studios and Happily Ever After preschool.
Headed to planners
The cell tower project is now headed to the planning commission for approval for land development.
“A few things within the plan need to corrected,” Zoning Officer Bill Eck, “but, we believe it will be approved by planning.”
If successful before that commission, Verizon will then submit a land development application to the township, which, if approved, will mean the construction of the tower can begin.
Eck, who is also a lifetime member of the fire department, said the fire company has not yet earmarked the funds for any specific use, despite rumors that they may be used to construct a new fire department facility.