Supervisors approve cell tower

Published 11:43 am Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Following a joint public hearing with the Charlotte County Planning Commission, the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to approve an application from U.S. Cellular for a cellphone tower.

The tower is set to be constructed on pastureland owned by Jeff and Susan Williams at 6107 Thomas Jefferson Hwy.

The property is located on Route 47 approximately 1.5 miles northwest of Cullen, across from the entrance of Route 689, Carwile Road.

No one spoke during the public hearing; however, Board Chairman Garland “Butch” Hamlet, Jr. did read into the record two letters from concerned citizens. “While the benefits of a cellphone tower are obvious from a safety standpoint, having been a nurse who has been in the cancer research field for 35 years … I am personally concerned about having a cell tower less than a half a mile from my home,” a letter from Mary Hinds cited. “Although current studies have not shown a direct health risk to humans from radio frequency emissions, I personally believe that in time they will and public opinion will strengthen against locating cell towers near schools, daycares, clinics and residential areas.”

In her letter, Hinds went on to say that because she knew that U.S. Cellular nor the Board of Supervisors could guarantee neither health risks or decreased property values would occur that she would prefer that the board approve a tower in the center of a large tract of land, 300-plus areas so that families located within 1 mile would not be exposed. “However, as of today, science is not strong enough for me to objectively oppose the installation of this tower, and as I mentioned, the benefits are very real,” Hinds letter stated.

The U.S. Cellular application notes that the parcel acreage is 60.75 with the tower lot size area to be leased to be approximately 10,000 square feet.

The proposed tower meets the county’s 400 feet setback requirement.

The chairman also read a second letter from a citizen into the meeting as part of the joint public hearing. “Having such a tall tower extremely close by will negatively impact the value of our land limiting its future development prospects,” cited a letter from Carol Parsons. Parsons’ letter also noted that she and others opposed the construction of the cell tower.

As part of the proposed conditions, the tower is to be fully operational within two years of the application approval date. According to the listed terms, extensions may be granted upon written request by U.S. Cellular to the zoning administrator, 45 days before lapse of approval. A six-month extension may be given at the discretion of the zoning administrator. Further extensions may be authorized only by the Board of Supervisors’ approval upon U.S. Cellular showing a good cause.

At their August nightly meeting supervisors are set to hold another joint public hearing with the planning commission for a Conditional Use Permit Application for a proposed U.S. Cellular tower to be located on property owned by Lewis Martin at 2868 Sunny Side Road in Saxe.