Residents organize against mobile phone tower

November 21, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Neighbors don't want a mobile phone tower built near Piney Run Park and plan to hire a lawyer to help them fight it, a Sykesville woman who is leading the effort said yesterday.

"I have never seen so many people put their money where their mouth is," said Cathleen Heisch, who declined to specify how much was raised.

Mrs. Heisch invited neighbors to her home in the 6900 block of Beachmont Drive on Friday to organize and collect money for a lawyer. Representatives of 18 families attended and formed the Piney Run Neighborhood Action Committee, she said. "It was the unanimous opinion that we don't want the tower built," she said.

West Shore Communication Inc. of Odenton wants to lease a half-acre belonging to William J. and Phyllis C. Shand of 7001 Hollenberry Road for a 200-foot cellular phone tower and 12-foot-by-28-foot equipment building.

The tower would be on the east side of Hollenberry Road about 1,000 feet north of Obrecht Road. The Shands' 5.5-acre lot is zoned conservation, allowing for homes on 3-acre lots.

The company, affiliated with Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems and Cellular One of Washington, has asked the Carroll Board of Zoning Appeals for permission to build the tower. A hearing was scheduled for Tuesday but was postponed at the request of Sykesville Town Manager James L. Schumacher.

The Town Council will discuss the tower at its 7 p.m. meeting tomorrow at the Town Office, 7547 Main St.

Possible health risks from radiation emissions from electromagnetic fields associated with the tower are not the neighbors' main concern, Mrs. Heisch said. Aesthetics are.

The tower is "out of character" for the neighborhood, she said.

Kathy Horneman, chairwoman of the South Carroll Coalition, said the group will support neighbors in opposing the tower. Its members are concerned about health issues, she said.

Mrs. Shand said she offered to have a representative from West Shore speak to her neighbors about the plan.

But Ms. Heisch said neighbors don't want to talk to a company representative unless he's willing to discuss alternate sites for the tower.

Residents were upset because they didn't know about the proposed tower until last week, Mrs. Heisch said.

A sign announcing the zoning hearing was posted at the end of Hollenberry Road, which dead-ends at Piney Run Park and is not heavily traveled, she said.

Cellular One also has faced opposition when it proposed building towers in other parts of Carroll. The company withdrew a request in July to build a 200-foot tower near Winfield Elementary School after school officials and neighbors complained of health concerns.

And in Frizzellburg in September, 13 residents filed an appeal in Carroll Circuit Court to challenge a zoning board decision allowing a 250-foot tower in the 1400 block of Richardson Road.

Barbara Rupp, one of the residents who filed the suit, said Friday there has been no action on the appeal.

In June, no one opposed Cellular One's plan to build a 150-foot tower at 6271 Oakland Mill Road in Sykesville. The zoning board approved the plan.

The company said it needs more towers to cope with increased demand for service. The company's business increased by 40 percent in Carroll last year, real estate manager Jeff Owens said at one zoning hearing.

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