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Neighbor's opposition delays cell phone tower plans

A proposal to construct a cell phone tower near Big Chimney was tabled by the Kanawha County Planning Commission after a concerned neighbor pointed out numerous inconsistencies in the original application for the tower.

Beacon Towers VA, LLC, based in Bluefield, Va., proposed a 250-foot structure to be built on Five Mile Road off Rosewood Way. Sammy Black, a subcontractor who handles site acquisition for Beacon Towers, said the tower would carry AT&T service.

However, John Coulter, who owns property adjacent to the proposed tower, presented the commission with numerous errors and inconsistencies in the original application. He pointed out incorrectly defined maps, inconsistent fence lengths and an incorrect landowner list.

The specifications for the tower also include a nine-foot lightning rod, which Coulter said made the 250-foot height misleading. Several parts of the original application list Coulter's property as the address for the tower, which also is not accurate, he said.

"Since we don't really know the height of the tower . . . we don't really know if it exceeds the buffer zone" if the tower were to fall, Coulter said.

County Engineer John Luoni said Coulter was correct with many of the items he pointed out.

Coulter also said he didn't think the cell phone tower was needed. He said he has AT&T service, and he has 4G service in much of the area the proposed tower would cover. He said he would be more willing to accept the tower if he felt there was a clear need.

"I'm just really thinking that that tower is really not needed," he said.

Coulter was also concerned with how the tower would devalue nearby property.

"Probably a dozen families are going to be looking straight at the tower," he said.

Coulter was not the only neighbor against the proposal.

Clint Casto, whose family also has adjacent property, said he was concerned about aesthetics, property values and health. He said people moved into the area to be away from things like the tower.

"We'd like not to have this in our backyard," he said.

No members of the public spoke in favor of the tower.

The commission decided not to vote on the matter until an updated application had been submitted.

"I think we definitely need to have this corrected," said David Fletcher, a commission member.

Black said that he had already corrected some of the issues Coulter presented. He said he had been rushing to complete the application to submit it in time for Wednesday's meeting.

The commission will discuss the issue at its next meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 9.

Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Murphy@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.


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