Neighbors oppose plans for Carroll radio tower

Commissioners petitioned to find alternative site

March 06, 2003|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

Neighbors of land under consideration by the Carroll commissioners for a radio tower are asking county officials to find another site.

A petition with more than 30 signatures has been delivered to the commissioners, who voted last week to sign an option for the county to buy a parcel near Lineboro for a tower that would eliminate a gap in emergency radio communications in the northeast area of the county.

"Our purpose is to get you guys a site that's not in our back yard," Stan Dabkowski, a neighbor of the property and an organizer of the petition drive, told county public safety Director Howard S. Redman this week.

Redman visited two possible alternate sites yesterday, one on a farm just outside Lineboro, and the other at River Valley Ranch. Commissioner Dean L. Minnich said the county must move forward on the project and could still purchase the optioned property on Rupp Road.

"We're going to do something to put up a tower somewhere because it's a key health and public safety issue," Minnich said. "A tower will be built."

County officials, recognizing that "dead" spots in radio communication near Lineboro pose a public safety threat, have been searching for a site for a tower since shortly after the county's 800 megahertz 911 emergency communications system was put into operation in July 1997. The system uses seven towers to carry radio transmissions to all parts of the county.

Firefighters and police must rely on an older, low-band radio system in low-lying areas near Lineboro.

County officials, pursuing a tower that would beam signals into those hard-to-reach areas, have looked at more than 20 sites from northeast Carroll to York, Pa., where Lineboro sometimes takes ambulance patients.

Hoping to have a tower built as early as this summer, the commissioners signed an option last week to purchase for $125,000 a 3-acre parcel on Rupp Road, south of Lineboro.

On Monday, the county began advertising the option to purchase the site, inviting public comment on the proposal.

The commissioners have 90 days in which to decide whether to buy the property.

Dabkowski, who lives within 1,000 feet of the Rupp Road property, and Marc Lefkowitz, who lives closer to it, began talking to neighbors a few days ago, when they saw surveyors on the proposed tower site.

They called the commissioners Monday to complain about the location. Tuesday morning, Minnich and fellow Commissioner Perry L. Jones visited the two men to see how close the tower would be to their properties.

Lefkowitz said he is concerned that the tower might be built in a location that, should it collapse, could allow it to fall on his property.

Redman said the tower, which would be about 330 feet tall, would be built to allow sufficient "fall" area and that it would be built to collapse in on itself.

Both Lineboro men also fear that property values would drop with the tower so close to so many homes. Dabkowski said about 25 houses are within a half-mile of the site and six are within several hundred yards.

"Nobody wants it," Dabkowski said.

Dabkowski and Lefkowitz said they are sending letters to residents along Rupp, York, Alesia-Lineboro, Crossroad Schoolhouse and Schalk roads, alerting them to the possible construction of the tower.

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