Belpre City Council approves regulations for cell phone towers

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BELPRE, Oh.-(WTAP) Updated: 8/29/2017 5:30 P.M.

Belpre residents will not see a cell phone tower on a major street in their city.

The city was told those plans are now off.

Residents in early August expressed concerns about the proposed tower's location and safety.

But Mayor Mike Lorentz says another concern is whether it could affect plans for future economic development.

"It really hinders the fire department from doing anything else with that property," the mayor said Tuesday, "should someone come around and say, 'I want to buy all that side lot'. Then, there's that tower and you can't do it. It really took it out of play."

Meanwhile, Belpre City Council Monday night adopted an ordinance restricting where-and what kind of-cell phone towers can be placed in the city.

The new law sets restrictions for the distance of towers from homes, schools and businesses.

Original story: 8/11/2017

A cell phone tower is about to be built in the city of Belpre-something some residents are unhappy about.

One of them, Paula Sellers, says she has already spoken to city council about it.

She says others plan to approach council this Monday, August 14, at its regular meeting.

At issue is a proposed 150-foot tower, to be built on the southeast corner of the former bingo hall, at Washington Boulevard and Stone Road.

Sellers says residents are concerned about safety and the tower's presence in the heart of town.

Verizon Communications, who plans to install the tower, says it meets all federal requirements.

"We have a comprehensive safety compliance program to make sure every project we take part in complies with FCC standards," says Steve VanDinter, Verizon Spokesman. "In most cases, we are actually coming under the emissions the FCC has set as the limit. Again, that's far below where anyone has ever observed harm coming from radiofrequencies."

VanDinter says the tower is needed to fulfill a need for increased cell phone coverage.

Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz says the city met with Verizon recently, expressing its own concerns about the planned tower.

Lorentz said Friday, however, the city has no laws on the books preventing the tower's construction.

City Council meets Monday, August 14, at 7:30 P.M., at the Belpre City Building.