Bell Atlantic Mobile Systems Inc. has not received federal approval for the cellular communications tower it wants to build in historic My Ladys Manor, FCC records show.
A Bell Atlantic representative told county zoning officials last summer that the Federal Communications Commission had approved the site for the tower as the company was seeking a special zoning exception for the tower last summer.
A check of FCC records by a reporter last week found that Bell Atlantic had received no FCC permits for the tower.
Brian Wood, a Bell Atlantic spokesman, acknowledged Friday that the company has only applied for a FCC construction permit and has not yet filed application for a federal operating permit for the tower.
Bell Atlantic, ofBedminister, N.J., is leasing a portion of a 150-acre farm in the 4100 block of Old York Road near Monkton for the 280-foot tower, which would serve cellular telephone users.
In a letter to the county Board of Zoning Appeals last summer, Bell Atlantic's Bel Air lawyer, Albert J. A. Young, said that both the FCC and the Federal Aviation Administration have approved the site.
Wood said that Young may have been referring to the fact that Bell Atlantic normally receives automatic approval from the FCC to provide cellular services in the northern Baltimore area market.
Meanwhile, a state historic preservationofficial is trying to determine if Bell Atlantic bucked the review system when it sought approval for the tower in the protected My LadysManor area.
Maryland Historic Trust was never sent the plans for the tower, said Elizabeth A. Hannold, assistant administrator of the agency's review and compliance division.
"Something like that we would have wanted to review and comment on," Hannold said.
Bell Atlantic representatives told the county when they sought county approval that there were no historic or cultural landmarks near the tower, according to county zoning records.
Wood added: "To the best of my knowledge, I don't believe anyonehas requested that we file anything with the trust."
William F. Casey, the county zoning hearing examiner, granted Bell Atlantic's special exception in August. The County Council, which sits as the board of zoning appeals, upheld the decision in December.
Joanne C. Emkey, a Monkton resident who opposes the project because her home is about 300 feet from the tower site, is appealing the county's approval in Harford Circuit Court. The case isscheduled for a hearing April 4.
Hannold said the tower is in or near My Ladys Manor, a sprawling agricultural area in Baltimore and Harford counties that is listed on the National Register of Historic
Most of My Ladys Manor is in Baltimore County, but about 1,000 acres lies in Harford along Jarrettsville Pike, between Hess and Old York roads.
The site proposed for the tower may not be part ofthe historic area, Hannold said, but the trust would still want to review plans for the tower because of its proximity to the district.
Hannold said she is uncertain if federal historic preservation guidelines apply to the tower project.
Hannold added that the laws don't make it clear who is responsible for making the determination.
The guidelines require plans for projects involving historic sites to be submitted to the trust when the project requires a state or federal permit, Hannold said. The reviews are to be requested by the permitting agency or its designee.
That means either the FCC or Bell Atlantic would be responsible for forwarding the tower plans to the trust for review, Hannold said. She noted, however, that the county zoning officials also could have forwarded the plans.
"Apparently, there was some screw-up in the zoning department of Harford County," Hannold said. "They should have checked it themselves."
Christopher Weeks, of the county Department of Planning and Zoning, and Myron Peck, a FCC staff attorney, said Bell Atlantic is responsible for getting its plans to the trust for review.
Hannold said she has written Bell Atlantic's attorneys to determine if the tower should be reviewed by the trust.