The Gahanna Planning Commission scheduled a second workshop Wednesday, April 4, regarding a Verizon Wireless proposal to construct a 120-foot monopole cell tower at 215 W. Johnstown Road.

The Gahanna Planning Commission scheduled a second workshop Wednesday, April 4, regarding a Verizon Wireless proposal to construct a 120-foot monopole cell tower at 215 W. Johnstown Road.

Concerns including whether other sites for the tower had been researched by Verizon continued during a March 21 workshop as commission members reviewed an application for a cell tower.

Other sites are available that would be better for residents and would meet the technical needs of Verizon, commission chair Jennifer Price said.

Commission member David Andrews voiced concerns that local residents said people housed at the Villa Nova Apartments on W. Johnstown Road would have a view of the cell tower. "Nothing would block the view for people at the apartments," he said.

According to Verizon attorney Bob Grant, representatives visit many communities across five states to build infrastructure for the company.

"It doesn't matter where we put it, people won't like it," he said. "That's a fact of life. We want to be in the area we serve. To serve the people in this area, we have to be in this area."

Several residents and business owners spoke against the proposed site at a Feb. 22 commission meeting. The matter is slated to continue at a March 28 commission meeting.

Verizon began looking for a Gahanna-area tower after customer complaints began in 2005 concerning calls being blocked because of the volume of simultaneous users, Grant said.

"We have an obligation to this community to provide quality service," he said.

Negotiations began in 2007 for the Johnstown Road location at the Gahanna Lanes bowling alley, said Rob Ferguson, site acquisition consultant for Verizon. Ferguson typically works with the local municipality on a location for the tower, he said.

Verizon engineer Curt Bolain said there have been many complaints about service in the Creekside area.

Large land buffers are typically sought for cell tower placement because those will work in most cases, Ferguson said.

"We're going to target what we knows works," he said. "And we need a willing landlord." Commission member Kristin Rosan said she's most concerned that "true scrutiny" was given to other sites.

"It doesn't seem like it was," she said.

David Thom said the main issue is whether the proposed site is suitable.

At least one business owner near the proposed site said he had available acreage, but hadn't been approached by Verizon.

Thom requested Verizon get together with other willing property owners in the area to consider alternatives.