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Inside Towers
Thursday, May 21, 2015 Volume 3  | Issue 99
 
OSHA’s Stand-Down was a Success
OSHA announced that over a million workers and thousands of employers participated in the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction from May 4 to 15. "Last year's Stand-Down was a big success. More than 5,000 employers talked about fall protection with more than a million workers. It was a tremendous commitment to safety on the part of businesses and workers alike. I am confident that we can do even better this year," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez before the Stand-Down began. And it looks like they did do better, with over a million workers participating in the event earlier this month. "The construction industry is so important to our economy. We all depend on it every day. It drives growth and prosperity,” Perez continued. “It generates good, middle-class jobs that can support a family. But we have to make sure those jobs are as safe as they can possibly be. That's why fall prevention and this Stand-Down are so important." Fall protection is the most frequently cited OSHA violation, proving the size of this problem. “The people that fall are not just numbers, they are mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "The cost of building our nation and economy cannot be the lives of its workforce, and that's what this Stand-Down is all about. These deaths are preventable if we plan ahead, provide workers the right equipment and train each and every one of them how to use it."
 
 
Big Win for Wireless
By Lynn Whitcher, Associate General Counsel for Md7 
Citing the zoning board’s reliance on the wrong legal standard, as well as the extensive evidence in support of the need for the facility, in a rare move, the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts decided Tuesday to bypass trial and instead ordered the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Falmouth to issue an approval for a 150-foot monopole facility.  See Industrial Tower and Wireless, LLC v. Haddad.  

On October 21, 2013, Industrial Tower and Wireless, LLC (“ITW”), a company that owns and operates tower sites and provides telecommunication services in the New England, South Florida, Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska areas, filed for a special permit to construct a 150-foot tower along a heavily traveled commuter road in Falmouth, Massachusetts, upon which Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and MetroPCS would co-locate.  After nine months of review, the Zoning Board voted to deny the application. 

The Court found no proper basis for this denial.  ITW submitted detailed evidence supporting the existence of a coverage gap, including propagation studies conducted by ITW, AT&T and Metro PCS; drive studies conducted by both ITW and carriers wishing to collocate on the tower, and Verizon Wireless’ blocked and dropped call data maps.  ITW’s studies were peer reviewed by an independent consultant, as required under local processes.  No evidence was presented to controvert the claimed existence of a coverage gap in the area, other than anecdotal reports of a few local residents who indicated that they had no trouble with cell phone coverage in the area.  This unscientific evidence was rejected by the Court.  The Court also noted the extensive, good-faith efforts made by ITW to identify and eliminate 1,339 alternate candidates, resulting in the subject property being the only established feasible location on which to locate the proposed facility.  Indeed, the Court stated, “it is not clear what more ITW could have done” and that the Zoning Board selectively ignored ITW’s cogent explanations and analysis.  Continue reading here.  
 
Hold My Beer and Watch This!
Two men in Pineville, Louisiana, went out for a few drinks Monday night, and the casual encounter turned criminal after the two decided to scale a nearby cell tower. Firefighters at the Holiday Village Fire Department were awakened by a call from the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office around 4 am on Tuesday morning, after someone reported screaming from the front of the station. When the firefighters went outside to check, they heard two people yelling about climbing higher. The Town Talk reported, “The voices people heard belonged to 21-year-old Joseph Waldron Johnson Jr. and 19-year-old Joshua Caleb Sharp, two St. Tammany Parish men who were climbing a cellphone tower in front of Skateville next to the fire station. The two were attending a graduation party at the skating rink. They gained access to the tower by throwing a beach towel over a few barbed wire strands atop a fence that surrounds the tower.” Once the deputies and firefighters arrived, one man was told to climb down from where he was—halfway up the tower, but the other was at the top, and not moving. The fire department’s Special Operations Response Team came to rescue the man at the top, and both were arrested and taken to the Rapides Parish Detention Center. Both were charged with unauthorized entry of critical infrastructure, disturbing the peace by intoxication and littering. 
 
 
No Love for Casanova
Verizon’s proposal to build a 154-foot tower near the historic village of Casanova in Fauquier, Virginia, didn’t get the support it needed from the Board of Supervisors. Despite the overwhelming support from the residents last month at the public hearing before the Planning Commission, commissioners voted 3-2 to recommend denial of the project. Last Thursday, the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing where the same thing happened. 24 residents spoke out in support of the proposed tower, and 13 opposed it. Supporters explained their reasons: safety, business needs, student needs, and the “digital divide” separating rural and suburban residents. Fauquier Now reported that after an hour and 15 minutes of testimony, Supervisor Peter Schwartz of Marshall District blasted Verizon representatives and, without naming him, Mr. Sherbeyn. “They would have never come to me in my district with an application like this,” he said. “We have them [towers] all over the place in Marshall District. We have worked with Verizon. They know what we expect. These guys know what will work. We can do that here,” Mr. Schwartz added. “It is ridiculous that we have been discussing this for a year.” (Fauquier Now) He and other opponents said approving the tower as proposed could preclude the county from holding future applications to the ordinance requirements for screening and viewshed protection. Verizon has agreed to look for other locations, and hopes that an alternative site will work as a compromise. (Photo by Lawrence Emerson in the Fauquier Now)
 
Sussex Won’t Appeal Tower Decision
The Sussex County Council in Delaware will not appeal a Superior Court ruling that will allow the construction of a controversial cell tower near Bethany Beach. The ruling of Superior Court Judge M. Jane Brady put an end to the six-year fight by residents to stop the construction. Judge Brady’s ruling overturned a 2014 Sussex County Board of Adjustment vote that rejected AT&T’s request to build a 100-foot tower near the Sea Pines condominium complex, the Cape Gazette reported. Her decision explained that the Board was “arbitrary and capricious” in relying too heavily on testimony that cell service was adequate. Despite receiving several requests from nearby homeowners’ organizations, the Council decided in a 3-2 vote to not appeal the decision to the Delaware Supreme Court. While he disagreed with the ruling, County attorney J. Everett Moore said the facts do not support a successful appeal.
 
 
Verizon Works Water Towers
Verizon Wireless is hoping to secure an agreement with the town of Freeport, Maine, to allow them to install antennas on an existing water tower. Before the agreement can be approved, it must go through the planning process. If finalized, Verizon would be the fourth wireless carrier to co-locate on the water tower. Other water towers in the town have antennas on them as well. Verizon is also negotiating a fourth amendment to the Telecommunications Site Lease Agreement with the city of McCook, Nebraska, concerning equipment on their water tower. This amendment would increase the monthly rent by $100, and will allow the installation of a diesel generator and other equipment at the site. It might not be long before we start calling water towers, cell sites that hide water.
 
 
Sprint and Their Spectrum
Sprint CFO Joseph Euteneuer spoke at the JPMorgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom conference on Tuesday. He explained that the company should have 800MHz LTE completed by the end of the year, and will continue layering in 2.5GHz. “So 800 voice is all done, so that’s out there. And by the end of the year, we should have the 800 LTE completed. So that should be in progress. The only issue in regards the 800 LTE obviously is the status that we can continue to work on. So but we feel very, very good about our deployment there,” Euteneuer explained. It also seems that the company is on the fence about the upcoming incentive auction. “I think let’s see what the timing in the auction actually is. I think that still maybe a little bit up in the year who knows, but I do think that as we continue to deploy this network, we get more and more information about what we need and what we don’t need. And we’re very-very pleased with the results we have in regards to the 800 deployment to 2.5 and now the Wi-Fi calling layer and we just downloaded Wi-Fi to every iPhone 6 that we sold and that makes big difference,” Euteneuer said. “We think the network is in better and better shape everyday as a result of the things we do and I think the 600 MHz auction is something that we’re looking at it but not necessarily something we need to do.”
 
 
 
 
Temporary Tower Extension Approved
AT&T’s temporary tower was renewed for five additional months by the Ridgewood Zoning Board in New Jersey at their May 12 meeting. The tower is placed at a gas station near Route 17, and will remain there until at least May 2016. The lease would have ended next January, but the extension will give AT&T more time to explore a permanent location. The carrier does have a 120-foot monopole in the area, but it cannot support additional equipment as is. AT&T filed an application earlier this year seeking permission from the Zoning Board to begin upgrades on their permanent tower, where they would replace three antennas. The temporary tower will remain in place while the company and the Board of Adjustment review the merits of the monopole improvements. Antenna improvements may not be all AT&T needs. Verizon has approached AT&T officials about joining them on a new permanent cell tower, and they agreed to co-locate but will need to adjust their application to the Board. 
 
Aiken Planning Commission to Decide on Four Towers
The Aiken County Planning Commission in Aiken, South Carolina, will decide tonight whether to approve four separate cell towers in the county. Three of the towers would be located in Graniteville. XCell Towers II is proposing two of the towers in Council District 6, and Verizon Wireless applied to build the other two.  
 
 
Tower Constructed in Vermont
A controversial telecommunications tower was completed last week in Castleton, Vermont. The project began last July at a Select Board meeting, where many residents showed up to voice their opposition to the project. Several of the residents remain unhappy with the completion of the structure this week. “We recommended alternative sites,” said Joseph Bruno, Select Board chairman. “I think they could have found a better site than that.” (Rutland Herald) The Vermont Telephone Company explained at this week’s meeting that they have moved the site twice already. “We’re looking into the viability of moving the site, but moving a site isn’t easy,” Diane Guité, vice president of business development for VTel, said at the meeting. “It requires an analysis of how coverage would be impacted by the new location, an analysis of how a new path impacts our microwave and fiber engineering plans, brand-new site plans, negotiations with whoever owns the land on commercial terms and a number of other factors.” (Rutland Herald) While some residential neighbors are upset by the tower, businesses in the area were not opposed to it. 
 
 
A group of bison hunters visiting Wood Buffalo National Park watched a bear climb a power transmission tower and raid a ravens' nest earlier this month. Linda Powell told CBC Radio-Canada the bear climbed skilfully up the tower but had a harder time climbing down. (Linda Powell/O.F. Mossburg and Sons)
 
 
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