This week, the Milton, (DE) Planning and Zoning Commission is set to approve a special permit allowing Verizon Wireless to construct a 140-foot tower at the town’s public works yard, zoned R-1 residential. The Cape Gazette reported that the commission gave preliminary approval via a 5-2 vote in February but held off on enacting a final approval until a written decision clarifying the opinion could be issued. The commission believes the tower would provide a valuable utility for the whole community, improving service.
The project’s approval was not without opposition, with councilmembers, politicians, and residents speaking out against the tower. Opponents cited aesthetic concerns since the proposed location is within the town’s historic district and worries because the site is located within a floodplain.
Former planning and zoning Chairman Barry Goodinson said in a statement, “On its face, it’s easy to see this is a bad idea. Most critically, the site floods regularly. It would be wildly irresponsible to put a public utility in a location that floods and is inaccessible during storms and natural disasters. That’s when that public utility would be most needed to ensure public health and safety. For that reason, town code prohibits the placement of public utilities in a floodplain.”
However, the commission agreed that there are no other viable in-town locations to make the tower work. Town officials have long been resistant to putting telecommunications equipment on existing water towers, reported the Gazette.
Also scheduled for its March 16 meeting is a public hearing to erect a 525-foot tower. Loblolly LLC, the owner of two local TV stations, is requesting the tower to cover a larger broadcast area and provide a stronger emergency signal.