Cell towers, facilities OK’d

Published 7:52 pm Thursday, November 15, 2018

Members of the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors voted to approve two cellular towers, a retreat center and an antique store during their meeting Tuesday.

The two cellular towers were from Shenandoah Mobile, LLC “Shentel” and U.S. Cellular.

Administrative Assistant Jennifer Lann said Wednesday that resident David Ball spoke during the two hearings and expressed support for the towers.

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The Shentel tower is proposed to be a 195-foot monopole tower with a 4-foot lightning rod on approximately 55 acres on River Ridge Road, Route 763 in the Slate River Magisterial District. The property is currently zoned Agricultural 1 (A-1). The applicant is requesting a special use permit with conditions.

E.E. and Vickie Talbott are listed as owners of the property.

The special use permit has 15 conditions that include making sure the tower complies with Federal Aviation Association (FAA) standards in addition to other federal and state regulations, that if the tower has a backup generator, that the noise level would not exceed 65 decibels, and that the tower would be completed within two years of the date of approval.

The second telecommunications tower was from cellular company U.S. Cellular for a 195-foot monopole telecommunications tower with a 4-foot lightning rod. The proposed tower would be located on approximately 5 acres on Seven Eleven Road, Route 711, in the Curdsville Magisterial District. The property is currently zoned A-1. The applicant is requesting a special use permit with conditions.

Florence Lango is listed as the property owner.

A U.S. Cellular representative previously said the tower would currently offer 4G, but that the company is working toward offering 5G.

The company approached surrounding carriers such as AT&T and Verizon about having a tower there, but no companies currently have plans to have a tower at that location.

Commission members also asked about the space where the tower would be located, noting that 5 acres seemed like a small parcel.

Zoning and Planning Administrator Rebecca Cobb said in a past planning commission meeting she could not recall the acreage for towers the county considered before.

“Typically the question has been if it meets setback requirements, if it’s going to meet collapsing requirements,” Cobb said.

CityScape, a consulting group that has worked with the county on telecommunications tower proposals in the past, evaluated the two projects and determined that the project complies with local and federal guidelines.

Members of the board of supervisors also voted to approve special use permits for a retreat center and antique shop.

The retreat center, proposed by C&S retreats, LLC, is proposed to be in the area of S. Constitution Route, Route 20, in the Slate River Magisterial District on lots containing approximately 250 acres. The special use permit has 19 conditions that include installing an evergreen buffer of at least three staggered rows which should be planted and maintained along the southwest property boundary to serve as a buffer from sight and sound; that the total occupancy should not exceed 100 persons; and that the facility should be used for a private corporate retreat, to include meetings, conferences, receptions, trainings, team exercises and similar such activities. “If the owner/applicant wishes to expand the use to activities and events that are open to the public or will meet the definition of ‘Event’ in the Buckingham Zoning Ordinance then a new permit shall be required,” documentation from the November meeting board packet cited.

Lann said Ball spoke and expressed concern about the damming of three ponds located at the property.

The proposed antique shop is listed in the area of North James Madison Highway, U.S. Route 15, in the Marshall Magisterial District. Rebecca Herndon is listed as the applicant and owner. The property is currently zoned as Agricultural-1.

The special use permit approved by the board of supervisors had 16 conditions that included that the facility provide ample parking for deliveries, that employees and customers should be supplied on premises and that no roadway shoulders should be used.

Members of the board, during the meeting, also held executive session on topics that included “Discussion or consideration of the acquisition of real property for a public purpose, or of the disposition of publicly held real property, where discussion in an open meeting would adversely affect the bargaining position or negotiating strategy of the public body,” and “Discussion concerning prospective business or industry or the expansion of an existing business or industry where no previous announcement has been made of the business’ or industry’s interest in locating or expanding its facilities in the community.”

Lann said no action had been taken by board members after executive session.