Zoning board approves plan for tower

February 11, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Despite earlier opposition from hundreds of South Carroll residents, the Carroll Board of Zoning Appeals yesterday approved a variance to allow a cellular phone company to build a controversial 200-foot telecommunications tower in Sykesville.

"Under the law and our ordinance, how can we turn it down?" asked board member Woodrow Raver.

After studying the site and the surrounding neighborhood and hearing two days of testimony, the panel's three members said they could find no reason to deny the application made by Cellular One and West Shore Communications, the builder.

Cellular One plans to lease a half-acre from William J. and Phyllis Shand to build the tower on Hollenberry Road, on conservation-zoned land adjoining Piney Run watershed.

Freestanding towers that do not exceed 200 feet are allowed as conditional uses in all districts, said Claude R. Rash, board chairman.

"We find the proposed use at this location does not pose any adverse effects above and beyond uses elsewhere in the zoning," Mr. Rash said.

The proposed tower would be 50 feet taller than the water tower at Springfield Hospital Center, the highest structure in South Carroll.

"The board has to grant the variance unless the protestants can show harm exists at this location," said Isaac Menasche, a county attorney. "They didn't prove unique harm at this particular location."

Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown said the board's decision "underscores the necessity for the Planning Commission to give needed revisions to the code and for the County Commissioners to address this issue further, legislatively."

"I don't think they heard us," said Cathleen Heisch, an organizer of the Piney Run Neighborhood Action Committee that opposed the tower. "I thought we proved our case."

Ms. Heisch said the group is awaiting the board's written decision before considering an appeal in Carroll Circuit Court.

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