TEMPERANCE — The Bedford Township Board has approved a new telecommunications tower that significantly should improve cell-phone service in the area of Secor and Samaria roads.
The board signed off last week on a request by AT&T Mobility to locate the 180-foot wireless tower at 10483 Secor. The new tower, when operational, will fill a three-mile hole in cell-phone coverage, Steve Wells, speaking on behalf of the telecom company, told the board. The tower will be located on 11 acres zoned for agriculture.
Phil Goldsmith, the township’s attorney, said the request satisfied all legal conditions, and the board had little choice but to accept the application and let the project go forward.
“It leaves little discretion to the township board because you must follow state and federal law,” he told board members.
The Monroe County Drain Commission and the township’s planning commission already had given their approval, and the Federal Aviation Administration determined the tower would pose no hazard to aircraft. The tower will be designed so it will collapse upon itself, rather than tip over, in a worst-case situation.
Several nearby residents on Samaria and Secor were not reassured. They complained that the tower would lower property values and expose them to electromagnetic radiation.
Mr. Wells said other sites had been studied but either were unavailable or unsuitable. He noted that cell-phone towers did not pose a hazard from electromagnetic radiation and federal law flatly prohibits local officials from taking this concern into consideration in the approval process.
Monroe County Commissioner Jason Sheppard, speaking for the county board, said the new tower will improve public safety by eliminating dead spots in the area of Secor and Samaria.
AT&T, he said, was the service used by the county’s safety forces. Law enforcement vehicles depend on wireless communication, and connectivity in that area was poor. Mr. Sheppard represents District 8 on the county board, which includes most of Bedford Township.
The vote to accept the AT&T Mobility application was 7-0.