U.S. Cellular Tower Approved Amid Co-location Price Gouging

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County Commissioners unanimously approved a permit variance for the replacement of a telecommunications tower on Rich Mountain near Brushy Fork, NC with a new, 150-foot monopole which they hope will significantly increase cell phone coverage for up to 8,000 people.

The Transylvania Times reported that the permit variance is contingent upon the applicant, U.S. Cellular, receiving the necessary environmental documentation. The proposed tower would be on a protected mountain ridge in a location that is not 100 feet below the elevation of the protected ridge and less than half of a mile from another existing tower, hence the need for the variance.

Rich Mountain, the location for the new tower, already holds five towers, including those for EMS, State Police, Duke Energy, and Fox News.  

The Planning Board recommended co-location on the Fox News tower, but U.S. Cellular would not pay Fox’s monthly lease of $4,000 per month when fair market value is between $1,850 and $2,500 a month, according to the Times. Commission Chairman Larry Chapman asked why Fox is charging double the rate but the question was not resolved.

Regarding objections to the tower, Chapman told the Times, he’d received a number of calls from Connestee residents. “You may not want it in your backyard, but if you want the service, you are going to have to deal with some of these issues,” he said. “You can’t have it both ways.”  Comments? Email Us.”

December 12, 2018

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