Planners want a study of communication towers

January 19, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

The Carroll County Planning Commission has called for a comprehensive study of telecommunications towers and a limit on tower applications for the duration of the study.

"We just don't have enough information to make intelligent decisions on this issue," commission member Dennis Bowman said during a hearing yesterday.

Edmund R. "Ned" Cueman, planning director, said the county needed a consultant to translate telecommunications language to make it understandable to the uninitiated.

In addition to hiring a consultant, the panel is asking the county commissioners to "take appropriate action" to prevent a flood of applications from businesses anticipating a policy change after the study, Mr. Cueman said.

"We don't know if there will be a flood, but the implication is there, and the commissioners will have to wrestle with this," Mr. Cueman said.

The panel also took comments yesterday from several residents who live near the site of a proposed 200-foot tower in Sykesville.

Bell Atlantic and Cellular One have agreed to lease a half an acre of conservation-zoned land on Hollenberry Road for the tower and an equipment building.

Mr. Cueman stressed that the planning commission has no jurisdiction on the Hollenberry Road site tower, which will go before the Board of Zoning Appeals -- for approval of a conditional variance -- Jan. 27. When Mr. Cueman said he was unsure of the hearing time, several residents answered "9:30 a.m." in unison. Residents reiterated their objections to the proposed tower based on a fear of diminished property values, health issues and the advent of alternative technology.

"It is foolish to allow these towers when new satellite technology is only a few years away," said Vincent DiPietro of Sykesville. "If we install towers throughout the county and this new technology takes over, we will be stuck."

Cellular companies are planning 24 towers across the county.

Pat Adair of Sykesville said the county should study the issue, which affects all residents.

"The companies are approaching this one tower at a time," she said. "Soon, the countryside could be littered with unsightly towers. The study might not help us, but it could help others."

Commission member Lou J. Pecoraro said he feared "a terrific proliferation of towers throughout the county and I don't like that."

Nanci Werner delivered 691 signatures opposing the Hollenberry Road tower to the commission. Ms. Werner said a real estate agent told her she must disclose the proposed tower to prospective buyers of her Beachmont Drive home. "It will definitely lessen our property values."

Mr. DiPietro said the county is sacrificing property owners to the communications industry. "My property values go downhill and their stocks go up," he said. "I am paying taxes and these people are not."

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