The Lower Gwynedd Township Board of Supervisors held a special meeting on July 11th with only one topic on the agenda, problems with cell phone service in the township and a proposal to construct two 150′ towers in the township to fill the gaps in service.
The company proposing to construct the two towers is Rise Up Towers. Its’ business model is to work with municipalities to construct towers on public property. The municipality becomes the landlord and collects rent and helps solve the issue of gaps in mobile phone service.
The room was almost completely filled and there were about a dozen additional people attending via Zoom. Anticipating numerous stories about how bad service is in the town, Township Supervisor Michael Twersky stated that he believed that everyone in attendance acknowledged the problem and asked those in attendance to focus comments on the proposal to construct the two towers. The chair of the board, Danielle Duckett, stressed that the July 11th meeting was the start of the process and that nothing had been decided.
During the presentation, the representative of Rise Up Towers, attorney Michael Malloy, shared that T-Mobile has committed to utilizing the tower if and when it is constructed. Malloy, and other representatives of Rise Up Towers, stated that there are three other likely tenants of the towers, Verizon, AT&T, and Dish Network. With the addition of each service on the tower, the township would make increased rent.
The two proposed locations are Pennlyn Woods Park (shown in the image at the top of the article on the right) and the township building property next to the firehouse (shown left). Malloy provided maps showing T-Mobile’s current level of service in the township and how the two towers would improve the coverage.
In the two maps, the dark green area shows where service is strong enough to enter commercial buildings. The slightly lighter green is where service is good inside residences. The very light green is where service is good inside a vehicle. The grey area is where service is fine outside. The white areas are dead zones.
Malloy also provided photos showing how the towers would appear visually from different locations within the township. You can view the images for the tower at the township building here and the park location here.
The vast majority of those in attendance were in favor of moving forward with the towers due to their experience with a lack of quality service and the inability to contact 911.
There were also several questions and statements.
One person asked about services other than T-Mobile. Malloy responded that all of the data that they had presented was from T-Mobile due to their existing agreement to utilize the towers. However, that Rise Up Towers had contacted the other providers and they asked to be contacted again when the towers were approved. Based on Rise-Up Towers’ experience, they believe that the other providers have similar gaps in service in the township.
Two people asked about any negative health impacts from the proximity of the towers. Representatives of Rise Up Towers shared that the height of the towers is 150′ and that the radiation does not reach the ground in an impactful way. The distance from homes was also discussed. In the park, the closest home was approximately 1,000 feet.
The township’s former zoning officer, Ken Amey, who lives near the township building, expressed concerns about the view of the tower from his home, Supervisor Twersky expressed that no matter where the towers are placed, they will unfortunately be in someone’s view.
Amey also expressed concerns about Rise Up Tower’s suggestion that the board of supervisors waive the township’s zoning process for the two towers, which the township could do as it owns the land. Amey stated that while he trusts the current supervisors with that responsibility, no one knows how a future council would utilize the same authority.
Look for more information on this issue in the coming weeks.
Disclosure – The president of Burb Media, the parent company of AroundAmbler.com, was the college roommate of Rise Up Towers’ attorney
Images – Rise Up Towers