County passes telecommunications tower law

Builders must now prove need for new structures

February 15, 2000|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

The Board of County Commissioners adopted new regulations yesterday for the construction of telecommunications towers in Carroll.

Under the law, which will take effect Feb. 24, communications companies will have to pay for an independent study to prove each tower they propose is necessary.

The need for such legislation came to light last summer after several residents opposed plans by Sprint PCS to build three towers around Westminster.

The telecommunications giant would like to erect three 250-foot towers as part of its plan to extend wireless telephone service west of Baltimore.

In July, a group of about 25 residents asked the commissioners to name a citizens panel to review tower construction plans and to notify property owners within a one-mile radius of public hearings on proposed telecommunications towers. The county notifies only owners of adjoining properties.

The commissioners denied those requests, and further frustrated tower opponents when they announced that the new regulations would apply only to towers proposed on or after Sept. 1 last year -- meaning that Sprint would not be subject to an independent study.

Jill Rosner, a member of Homeowners Advocating Responsible Tower Siting, attended yesterday's meeting and said she and her neighbors have doubts about whether the Sprint towers are necessary and are concerned that the structures might lower their property values.

A public hearing on the structures is expected to be held before the Board of Zoning Appeals this month.

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