Towers Go 0-For-2 In Frederick County

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The Frederick County Planning board nixed two towers recently, one 150-foot monopine and a 100-foot tower.

The 150-foot monopine was originally proposed at 195-feet, by Shentel and TowerCo, when the planning board recommended that the Board of Supervisors deny the conditional use permit for the tower. Nearly two dozen residents oppose the project planned near a park and housing subdivision, reported The Winchester Star.

Neighbors complained that the tower would be an eyesore, hurt property values, detract from the scenery, and cause cancer. 

According to Shentel representative Jessie Wilme, the company has more than 26,000 wireless customers in Frederick County and 13,000 in Winchester. Fifty percent of the market is using Shentel (Sprint) services, he added.

 The other project, the 100-foot tower, was proposed for construction west of Interstate 81 a by-right use, meaning no permit or public hearing would be needed. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended denial of a proposed county code amendment for construction due to negative feedback by constituents. 

Shawn Graber, a board member, still understands the need for taller towers in areas under-served by broadband and plans to pitch a compromise. He also addressed the current cost for a CUP telecommunications tower application. At $7,000, Graber said the amount is cost-prohibitive for a person trying to erect a tower at their residence. He suggested revising the cost to about $300, reported the Star.

Both matters will go before the Board of Supervisors on February 12. 

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