Board votes ‘yes’ for ACP tower
Published 10:32 am Monday, December 24, 2018
The special use permit requested by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) to build an unmanned microwave tower in Prince Edward County was unanimously approved with an amendment by the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors during its regular December meeting.
As noted in the board meeting packet, the tower will serve as part of the telecommunications network for the ACP project.
No one spoke at a public hearing that preceded the board’s consideration of what Farmville 801 District Supervisor and Board Chair Pattie Cooper-Jones described as “a request by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, for a special use permit to construct a lighted microwave tower 225 feet in height, located on the west side of Route 617 at Saylers Creek Road, approximately (.06) miles north of Route (307), Holly Farms Road, on a parcel owned by Terri Atkins Wilson, identified as Tax Map 042-A-47. This is an A-1 zoning district.”
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Buffalo District Supervisor C.R. “Bob” Timmons Jr. initiated the discussion of a change to the motion before a vote was taken.
“If Prince Edward County doesn’t want to use the tower for public use, or we use the tower and there’s space available in our envelope, could we allow Nottoway and Amelia County to use that tower in that area, because that’s sort of a dead zone for them also?” he said. “And I was told — and I’d like to make sure this is part of the motion — that we could do that. They would allow other public service on there, as long as we didn’t take up more than our original space, correct?
Sarah Perkinson, a representative of Dominion Energy and ACP, was present for the meeting and answered his question.
“That is correct that the microwave towers that we’re proposing, we do not allow for private use, so for Comcast or Verizon, but we do work with public entities such as the local counties and localities for communications,” she said, “and that would include Prince Edward, or if Prince Edward, after their first priority, chose or elected to work with Nottoway County or another locality to use that tower, then we could work with them as well. Prince Edward would have that first priority located within the county.”
Assistant Prince Edward County Administrator Sarah Puckett said, “Sarah, is it likely that more than one locality could have a repeater on that tower?”
Perkinson replied, “It would be a determination after we see kind of what facilities are located on that tower. It really just depends on what facilities are being used.”
Timmons added that he just wanted to make sure that if Prince Edward is not going to use its space on the tower or if it has extra space, that the board, with its decision, does not preclude another county — one which might be having the same difficulties that Prince Edward is — from using the space.
“The only thing we might not know is we might not know for five years that we need that space,” Puckett said.
Timmons replied, “I understand all of that. I just didn’t want this to be closed off — Prince Edward County or nothing.”
He noted that he was making this point because the location of this tower is unique to some of the other tower locations that Prince Edward has.
“My point is, if we’re going to put a tower in, and we’re, Prince Edward, going to have access to it as is stated in the document and Prince Edward doesn’t need it or we’re going to do something different, can we not allow that space to go somewhere else?” he said. “Will it help another sheriff’s department, another EMS … another fire department that’s within that area serving the citizens …?”
To Perkinson, Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett said, “It’s my understanding that this was voluntarily submitted on the part of ACP, correct? The use of the tower for public safety?”
“Yes,” she replied. “It’s pretty much considered standard that we work with the localities, as long as the equipment is something that will work on our towers.”
The motion passed unanimously with Timmons’ requested change.