Verizon considers new and replacement poles

Verizon Wireless is looking for public comments as it works to improve wireless service in coastal Sussex County. Both residents and police have lamented the at-times poor service near the Atlantic Ocean.

At this point, it appears that Verizon and Cellco Partnership are just doing research. They have not begun requesting construction permits.

“With the rising usage of mobile devices, there is a need to make additional investments in our network to keep up,” said David Weissmann, Verizon’s northeast public relations manager. “We are always looking for opportunities to improve the Verizon network for residents, visitors and first-responders.

The two companies have hired the international real estate advisors CBRE, whose White Plains, N.Y., office specializes in telecommunications advisory services, environmental site assessments, construction risk management and more.

Currently, CRBE is looking for “public comments regarding the potential effects from this site on historic properties.” They published legal notices in Coastal Point newspaper in the past several weeks regarding six utility pole installations or replacements:

“Cellco Partnership (and its controlled affiliates doing business as Verizon Wireless) is proposing to” construct a 47-foot utility pole/tower at 9 Lewes Street, Fenwick Island; construct a 46-foot utility pole/tower at 1201 Bunting Avenue, Fenwick Island; construct a 46-foot utility pole at 214 Garfield Parkway (Route 26), Bethany Beach; construct a new 46-foot utility pole at Ocean View Parkway and Atlantic Avenue (Route 26), Bethany Beach; replace an existing telephone pole with a 47-foot utility pole at 1-39099 Spicer Lane, Fenwick Island; replace an existing utility pole with a 46-foot utility pole at 202 South Ocean Drive, South Bethany.

Comments may be submitted within 30 days of the publication dates, mailed to CBRE; 70 West Red Oak Ln.; White Plains, NY 10604, emailed to or called into (914) 694-9600. Amanda Sabol takes comments for the Lewes Street, Bunting Avenue and Route 26 sites. Laura Mancuso takes comments for the Ocean View Parkway, Spicer Lane and Ocean Drive sites.

“The historic-preservation notices that appeared are a notice requirement for feedback on the potential impact to historic properties related to network improvement projects,” said Weissmann.

“The addresses listed … have recently been considered for network equipment that would help our customers use their devices where they live, work and play. The notice is an early step in a process, which many times includes changes of sites or equipment,” Weissmann added.

The move comes soon after the Fenwick Island Town Council finalized new laws for cellular technology, drafted with some help from Verizon, as the company looks to improve mobile service.

In Fenwick, any cellular service company can now request to install “small-cell” technology, which are like signal booster boxes on existing utility poles. A town committee would approve or deny the request. The town council would vote on larger requests for major changes, such as installation of a new pole. Companies must also request permits to replace an existing pole in town limits, said Fenwick Island Town Manager Terry Tieman.

“We haven’t received a permit request yet, so they’re still working on the plan,” Tieman said.

However, there are plans for Verizon to install a small antenna behind Fenwick Island Town Hall, to help boost signals for police vehicles. Officers have said they sometimes have to let perpetrators go if they lose a signal while processing a traffic ticket or other arrest.