Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski has been asked to urge the Federal Communications Commission to act quickly on Howard County's application for a permit to build a 340-foot emergency communications tower in Ellicott City.
Mikulski met with County Executive James N. Robey at his Ellicott City offices yesterday as part of a regular schedule of visits she makes to government officials around the state. They said afterward that they discussed a number of issues, ranging from transportation and sewage disposal to housing and federal funding for special education.
"I asked the senator to make sure it [the tower decision] moved as quickly as the law and the process allows," Robey said, acknowledging that some residents oppose construction of a tower next to the state's District Court building because it would be visible within the county seat's historic district.
Mikulski said she will contact the FCC about the matter, noting that things might have slowed temporarily at the agency with the change in presidential administrations. She said a clear need exists for a tower, which would serve emergency public safety needs. It would not be used for commercial purposes.
Preservationists asked last week for an extension to the public comment period on a county filing on the project from May 17, claiming they had no notice of the filing and did not have sufficient time to study it.
They agree that a tower is needed as part of a new countywide communications network, but they contend it should be built farther from the historic district, perhaps on a 25-acre office campus the county government is planning nearby.