South Park zoning board to meet on cell tower

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The developer of a proposed cellular tower will bring plans to the South Park Township Zoning Hearing Board at its Aug. 20 meeting.

LJS Development Corp. Inc. of Peters seeks zoning variances to construct a 190-foot tower on land in South Park that it has leased land from Allegheny County.

The proposal has drawn opposition from residents who live near the site on which the structure would be built. Bill Collins of Ridge Road has spearheaded efforts against the tower, which include circulating petitions to present to the township.

“We basically are standing up for our rights,” said Mr. Collins, who moved into the neighborhood two years ago, attracted by its rural character. “It has that country feeling. That’s why we liked it.”

He and his neighbors became aware of the plans when the township mailed notices about a July 16 zoning hearing board meeting, during which the issue was to be addressed.

Instead, LJS asked for a continuance until Aug. 20. That came at the request of township officials, according to Louis Siyufy, LJS president.

He said that LJS officials visited homes to inform residents of the company’s plans.

“I wanted to reach out to the community,” explained Mr. Siyufy, a Bethel Park native who owns a home in South Park. “I didn't want them to just get a mailing.”

About 50 residents attended the July 16 zoning hearing board meeting, and Mr. Collins said he expects a larger contingent next week.

“We want to keep our parks as parks,” he said about opposition to the tower’s placement. “If you want to industrialize other areas, go right ahead.”

LJS has leased 24 tracts of land from Allegheny County, and the South Park location is the first on which the company is seeking municipal approvals for construction.

Mr. Siyufy said that, with only an estimated half of U.S. homes still maintaining landlines, demand for better cellular service continues to grow.

“Our industry’s goal is to provide increased wireless coverage residentially,” he said.

Harry Funk, freelance writer:

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