Sprint tower meeting delayed until February

Postponement gives time to study three locations

January 25, 2000|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

At the request of the county commissioners, the Board of Zoning Appeals has postponed a hearing scheduled for today on a proposed telecommunications tower outside Westminster. The hearing has been rescheduled for Feb. 29.

Sprint PCS wants to build a 250-foot galvanized steel tower on farmland at 1236 Baugher Road, part of the telecommunications company's plan to expand wireless phone service into Carroll County.

Hearings scheduled for yesterday on two other planned towers were postponed this month at the request of Sprint. Both towers would be outside Westminster.

In asking for the postponement of today's hearing, the commissioners said all three hearings should be rescheduled together. They also said the county's consultant needed more time to complete a report on all three tower locations. The commissioners noted Carroll County Circuit Court's decision to change its ruling on the hearing. The court granted a postponement at the request of neighbors last week, but reversed its decision Friday.

"This belated change of mind leaves interested parties insufficient preparation time," wrote County Executive Assistant Robert A. Bair on behalf of the commissioners.

Residents who live near all three sites objected to the proposed tower, fearing it would hurt property values, endanger their health and destroy the county's rural atmosphere. Residents have been pushing to postpone the hearings since the fall, arguing that more time was needed to research the impact of the towers on their communities.

But the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 says towers are not health hazards, and that localities may not prevent a company from delivering service.

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