The Gahanna Planning Commission wants assurance alternative sites have been thoroughly investigated for a new Verizon Wireless cell tower before voting to allow one at 215 W. Johnstown Road.

The Gahanna Planning Commission wants assurance alternative sites have been thoroughly investigated for a new Verizon Wireless cell tower before voting to allow one at 215 W. Johnstown Road.

Commission members Feb. 22 postponed an application request to construct a 120-foot monopole cell tower for a workshop that has been set for March 21.

Commission member Kristin Rosan said she would like to talk to Verizon's site-acquisition representative about the process.

"I'm not satisfied we searched alternative sites enough," commission member Don Shepherd said. "Before I say yes to a site, I want to make sure other sites were considered and negotiated. If you took the easy way out, that's not good enough."

Bob Grant, attorney for Verizon Wireless, said the business worked hard to comply with the city's code.

"We tried to find the least intrusive site in the community," he said.

The new tower is needed because there's a capacity gap in Gahanna for Verizon users, Grant said.

"During peak hours, folks are experiencing call blocking," he said. "With a land line, it would be like a busy signal."

Verizon real estate manager David Minger said service is blocked during peak times as a result of the volume of simultaneous users.

"There are blocked calls instead of dropped calls," he said. "The capacity has gaps because we have a lot of users."

According to Grant, Verizon's team scoured the community looking at every area for placement of the tower.

"At the end of the day, there was only one location to correct the service needs in your community," he said.

The 120-foot monopole with five-foot antenna looks like "a light pole on steroids," Grant said. The tower would be located on a 2.7-acre parcel in a 60-by-31-foot leased area of property. An eight-foot tall wooden fence would be built around the structure.

Area residents spoke against the cell tower with concerns it would create an eyesore and result in decreased property values.

Terry Duris owns apartments near the proposed site.

"I represent 150 people who live in the apartments," he said. "This would be in their direct line of sight. Imagine your view from your living room."

Duris said the tower would be a detriment to new business and could "chase away" current tenants.

"If the tower goes up, the one thing that will attract your attention will be a mammoth tower on the edge of our yard," he said.

Terry Andrews, of the Stonehenge Co., 147 N. High St., said the proposed location by a residential area is totally inappropriate.

Several Creekside Green condominium owners and a representative from the neighboring Sunrise Lodge 783 also spoke against the proposed tower location.