Verizon seeks permission to build two new cell towers

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Verizon Wireless is looking to fill in coverage gaps in Puna as it endeavors to keep up with the district’s growing population.

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Verizon Wireless is looking to fill in coverage gaps in Puna as it endeavors to keep up with the district’s growing population.

The Hawaii County Windward Planning Commission will hear next month two separate applications for the installation of new telecommunications sites serving Hawaiian Paradise Park and the Ola‘a Forest Reserve area between Volcano Village and Glenwood Estates.

Both sites would be located on property owned by churches.

The Hawaiian Paradise Park facility is planned within a 1,600-square-foot portion of a 2-acre parcel on the northeast side of 32nd Avenue, about 2,100 feet southeast of Paradise Drive. The land, at 15-1839 32nd Ave., is listed as being owned by the Hawaii Pacific District Church of the Nazarene. The church operates under the name Connection Point Church of the Nazarene.

Plans call for a 150-foot steel monopole with 8-foot panel antennas in an effort to provide better coverage as customers continue to migrate away from landline service.

“The objective of this project is to improve coverage in the neighborhoods for Hawaiian Paradise Park, covering the southwestern part of the neighborhood,” reads the application. “Coverage shall be improved to provide better call quality within the homes as customers depend more on cellular service over land-line telephone services in Hawaii. Lastly, this proposed project will increase data speeds for Internet connection, video services and phone applications.”

There are no residences on the property, but there are three buildings, including an office building, meeting/classroom building and a multipurpose building, according to the application.

Elaine Baltero, who lives across the street from the church, says she and her husband are all for the proposed cell tower.

“We’re behind anything for the cellphones,” she said with a laugh. “In the beginning, after we moved here from Honolulu, we had to go out on our road to use a cellphone. More towers, more reception!”

The second Verizon facility up for discussion during the planning commission’s Thursday, Nov. 5, meeting is planned for property at 11-3019 Volcano Road.

The proposed 185-foot pole with 8-foot panel antennas would sit on a 1,600-square-foot portion of a nearly 6-acre parcel belonging to the California-based International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, which operates under the name Volcano Foursquare Church.

“The objective of this project is to improve coverage in the neighborhoods between Volcano Village and Glenwood Estates (where there is no coverage at this time) in the Ola‘a Reserve area,” the application reads.

This cell tower also would serve to boost wireless coverage for customers who depend more on cellular service than landlines. It also would increase data speeds for Internet, video services and phone applications.

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Verizon Wireless currently owns and operates about 50 communication sites across the island.

Email Colin M. Stewart at cstewart@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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