Tower, event venue on agenda

Published 4:45 pm Friday, January 4, 2019

A cellular tower and an expansion at the Timber Creek Event Barn are set for public hearings with the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors.

The January meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, 7 p.m. at the Cumberland County Courthouse.

Members of the Cumberland County Planning Commission recently voted to recommend a cellular tower on Salem Church Road to the Cumberland Board of Supervisors.

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The 280-foot self-support tower would be located at 86 Salem Church Road, at the intersection of Salem Church Road and Route 45. The tower, according to the application, would be established on 0.057 acres of an 82.05-acre parcel.

Cumberland Planning and Zoning Director J.P. Duncan said during the November commission meeting that the tower would be located on a 50-foot by 50-foot square and be surrounded by a seven-foot fence, and be accessed by a 375-foot access road.
Duncan said the cell tower could support up to four wireless carriers.

He said Shentel, doing business as (dba) Sprint, would be the anchor tenant, though added there would be room for carriers co-locating on the tower.

The current zoning is Agricultural-2. The application cites that the land would remain zoned as Agricultural-2 with a conditional use permit.

Vice Chair Randy Bryant asked how the proposed tower compared height-wise with existing towers in the county.
Robert McAvoy with Precision Cell, LLC said a guide tower located near the Cartersville Rescue Squad is estimated to be 250 feet, and noted towers along Route 45 and Route 60.

Precision Cell, LLC worked in the Town of Farmville earlier in 2018, installing cell service antennas at the top of the water tower located at Andrews Drive.

District Four Supervisor Hunter Allen said the proposed tower would be located in his district.

“It serves an area of the county that is underserved at the moment,” Allen said. He said the tower could provide the potential for the county to improve its emergency services communication.

“It’s much needed,” Allen said.

Members of the commission voted to recommend the expansion of a bridal suite at the Timber Creek Event Barn, but that the second sentence in condition eight of the conditional use permit, “Not more than ten (10) events during a twelve (12) month period may have over three hundred (300) attendees,” be deleted.

According to documentation from the commission, the applicant, Whitney Lipscomb has been using this property as an event facility for around two years.

The applicant has decided they wish to add a bridal suite on the site for brides to prepare for their wedding. The building would be around 1,000 square feet with approximate dimensions of 24 feet by 42 feet. The suite, according to the commission board packet, would include a half bath and a small kitchenette. No overnight accommodations would come with the building.

The permit includes 10 condition. The applicant requested to amend condition eight of the permit. The condition originally states that the event venue is not allowed to have more than 300 attendees. The amendment would allow up to 10 events per year with over 300 attendees. The events would all be open to the public, and necessary arrangements would be made to host a larger amount of people.

There have been no complaints against the use of this event facility since its operation began, the board meeting packet cited.

The county allows a venue to use a festival permit for large-scale events. Lipscomb, who attended the November commission meeting, said the venue hosts community events and fundraisers in addition to weddings.

“We’ve been blessed with it and we want to bless other people,” Lipscomb said.

Concerning a fundraiser that may draw a large crowd, Lipscomb asked the question, “what do we do if we have more than 300 people? In an instance like that, we would have to apply for a festival permit, but it’s so give or take whether you are going to have that many or not, so I don’t want to burn up my one festival permit on having a fundraiser for someone and not have 300 people show up.”

Allen brought up traffic concerns on Holman Mill Road, particularly in close proximity to buggies from the Amish community.

Lipscomb said she did not believe events would have the volume of people listed, and said it has not happened before, but did not want to violate a county permit if it occurred.

She offered to attend the January meeting to further discuss the amendment.

“We actually would like your input,” Chairman William Burger said. “Because we want to get this so that it works for you and works for everybody.”