(BIVN) – An application for a Use Permit to allow the construction of a new, non-manned telecommunication facility in Hawaiian Paradise Park was delayed at a Windward Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, although a Hawaii County Councilmember representing Puna was still able to testify.
Councilwoman Eileen O’Hara said there are some concerns among the residents in the sprawling Puna subdivision, but she also had some views on siting cell towers, in general.
“This is perhaps something that we need to eventually codify,” O’Hara said.
According to planning department records, the cell tower will consist of a 155-foot tall steel monopine tower, retaining wall, 6-foot tall fencing and related facilities within a 1,050-square foot lease area just north of the Kaloli Drive — 21″ Avenue intersection, TMK: (3) 1- 5- 038: 013.
A handful of community members showed up to the meeting in Hilo but were told the matter had been continued to the next meeting in March. O’Hara was still given a chance to testify.
“I am concerned that the proximity of this tower on a privately held parcel will potentially impact the neighbors in that area,” O’Hara told commissioners. “Many people are concerned about radio frequency waves and things like that. There’s also the noise factor.”
“Do be aware that in spite of efforts to mitigate noise, there is an incessant hum that comes from these operations,” O’Hara said. “So trying to get that distance from nearby residents is really, really critical.”
The Puna councilwoman also said there is a visual impact of cell towers, and that by allowing sole carrier towers to be built, “we’re doubling and tripling the number of cell towers that might eventually be built in the County of Hawaii, which is more of a visual blight.”
“I think this is an important issue that we need to consider how to properly advance construction of cell towers on the Big Island,” O’Hara said. “We need the coverage, absolutely.”