Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Library to Hear Tower Concerns Ecision Rests with Mccandless Officials

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Library to Hear Tower Concerns Ecision Rests with Mccandless Officials

Article excerpt

Northland Public Library would collect $2,000 a month in rent if Sprint is able to build and operate what has become a controversial cellular phone tower on its property.

Before the library can start receiving lease payments, however, Sprint must get approval for the tower from the McCandless Zoning Hearing Board and town council.

The zoning board is scheduled to announce its decision on Sprint's request at its meeting Thursday. McCandless allows communications towers in Institutional Districts with the approval of the zoning board.

That session will come two days after Tuesday's regular meeting of the library board where residents have been invited to ask questions about the project. That session will start at 7:30 p.m. in the McCandless municipal building on Grubbs Road. The meeting was moved to the municipal building in anticipation of a large crowd.

The library is on Cumberland Road, near three North Allegheny public schools. Neighbors, parents and some North Allegheny officials have questioned the wisdom of erecting a cell tower in that neighborhood.

Opponents say they fear that the unknown long-term effects of steady exposure to cellular phone signals could hurt pupils and school employees.

They point to a decision last summer by the International Association of Firefighters to call for a new study of the health effects on people who work in the buildings where antennas have been installed. Cellular antennas have been on firehouses for many years. The association also wants a moratorium on tower installation until the study is completed.

Sprint representatives say their tower would meet all federal safety standards for radio frequency emissions. They note that cellular antennas already have been installed in firehouses, hospitals, office buildings, churches and schools, including Upper St. Clair, Brashear and Blackhawk high schools.

"There is no proof that they are dangerous," said library board member Dan DeMarco who helped negotiate the deal between Sprint and the library. …

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