New Cingular Wireless (doing business as AT&T Wireless) is proposing to add a wireless antenna to a utility pole in the public right-of-way in front of the home at 139 West 3rd Avenue in Conshohocken. The proposal was before Conshohocken’s Zoning Hearing Board on March 15th and the hearing will continue on Monday, April 19th at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be virtual. Details on how to view the meeting and the application documents can be found here. The site plans can be found here.
The applicant needs approval due to its proposal to replace the current 35′ pole with a 43′ pole and add the antenna at the top which would extend the height to 45 1/2 feet. The location falls within the BR-1 zoning district, a residential district. The applicant stated in the application that the new antenna is needed to enhance wireless telecommunications and provide additional capacity within the area.
Multiple variances will need to be approved for this to go forward. The first a variance to allow a telecommunications facility within the BR-1 district. There is also a prohibition within the Borough of Conshohocken of telecommunications towers coming within 500′ of a residential zoning district with a caveat that it is allowed if a pre-existing structure is utilized. For example, there are antennas on top of the building where Edwards Freeman is located on East Hector Street. Since this pole would be a new structure a variance is required.
Another needed variance involves a requirement that the nearest lot line should be the same distance as the height of the structure. In this case, the structure’s location is basically adjacent to the lot line (just across a sidewalk) and the home is located within the height of the pole.
Two other needed variances involve security fencing/anti-climbing devices and landscaping.
The applicant also provides two photos of similar structures with the Borough of Conshohocken, including one on West 5th Avenue in a residential zoning district (see the last two pages of the packet linked above).
Prior to the initial hearing, there was a letter being circulated by two residents of West 3rd Avenue in opposition to approving the variances. The residents outline concerns about being exposed to what is emitted by the antenna. Since then a Facebook Group was created to oppose the application.