Potential cell tower presented

Published 1:46 pm Thursday, January 11, 2018

Farmville Assistant Town Manager C. Scott Davis gave a presentation — which was prepared by Precision Cell — at Wednesday’s Farmville Town Council meeting regarding a proposed 150-foot close-mount monopole communications structure that would sit on the property located at 718 Griffin Blvd.

C. Scott Davis

According to the presentation, the site addresses major network capacity concerns that Verizon Wireless and Sprint have identified on the south side of Farmville, including the Longwood University campus.

“The location at 718 Griffin Blvd. is in a R-3A zoning district,” Davis said. “In that district, because this pole will allow for four different potential companies to locate on it, based on our current zoning code, it is classified as a public utility, which is an approved use.”

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He side in the zoning code for that area there is a height provision.

“It talks about structures in residential areas, no more than 35 (feet). It talks about college structures, no more than, I believe, 125 (feet),” Davis said. “There are other areas that are exempt.”

He said one of the things exempt was a radio aerial.

“That is something that staff is not positive that a radio aerial … is the same as a cell antenna in today’s time,” Davis said. “A lot of these were obviously in prior years when the ordinance was originally adopted.”

He said the tower would be moved to the Farmville Board of Zoning Appeals “so they can determine one of two things: whether the radio aerial meets the definition of cell tower antenna or two, approve or not approve a variance for the height restriction with this being 150 feet.”

Davis said Longwood University sent remarks explaining why it would not support a tower in that area.

“The site will support, improve in-building coverage, so it will address not every in-building concern but will significantly improve within the vicinity of the site,” Davis said.

Public participation followed the presentation and featured comments from five separate residents of the area surrounding the location on Griffin Boulevard.

“I think it would destroy the integrity, not only of our neighborhood, but also the community,” said Beatrice White, a Farmville resident. “I feel it would be very intrusive. I worry about health issues from the tower.”

Griffin Boulevard resident Perry Carrington cited specific health concerns that the tower could present to the community.

“The list goes on and on,” Carrington said after citing a list of concerns. “I know that in 2018 there is a need for cell towers, I guess just about everybody here has a cell phone, but I don’t think we want one in our backyard.”

“I believe we should be doing all we can to protect and preserve the historic charm and nature of Griffin Boulevard,” said Griffin Boulevard resident Cam Patterson. “This cell tower goes against that. As Longwood continues the development of their Master Plan and we see changes to the baseball and practice fields, I worry that this cellphone tower could stand out and be even more aesthetically displeasing to the community over a period of time.”

He said he believed there were other parts of town that the tower would be more appropriate in.

Mayor David Whitus cited that there was not a motion at the meeting for the council to vote on, noting that it will go to the board of zoning appeals.