By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Goshen Plan Commission members Tuesday gave their blessing to the recent expansion of an AT&T wireless communication tower located near downtown Goshen that the company says will help keep cell services running smoothly even during power outages.
As stated in the petition, AT&T Mobility is seeking the rezoning of an existing parcel at 416 N. Main St., Goshen, to add what it calls a Wireless Communication Facility (WCF) Overlay District to the area adjacent to an existing WCF Overlay District that will expand the existing tower compound area.
According to Rhonda Yoder, planning and zoning administrator for the city, the current request is the result of AT&T recently installing an emergency backup generator at the site to provide continuous and uninterrupted coverage during power outages — times when the company says reliable cell coverage is at its most crucial.
In order to install the generator, AT&T indicated that a compound expansion at the tower was required, which was not contained within the compound dimensions that had previously been approved for the existing WCF Overlay District at the location.
“The area was originally approved in 1999, and then approved as a WCF when those regulations were approved also in 1999,” Yoder said. “There’s been an expansion of the compound area without the required rezoning to include that, so that’s what we’re doing today.”
According to Yoder, the original WCF at the site was approved for approximately 3,000 square feet of fenced compound area. The addition of the generator required an additional 200-square-foot fenced compound, resulting in a 6 percent increase in total size to the existing compound.
Due to the necessary expansion of the cell tower site, Yoder noted that the application by AT&T is needed in order to bring the expanded compound into compliance with the city’s Personal Wireless Communications Ordinance.
With the rezoning now approved by the Plan Commission, the petition will now be forwarded on to the Goshen City Council with a favorable recommendation.