Communications Tower Going Up Near Loveville

By Sarah Miller,

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (June 9, 2011)—Mobile phone users in Loveville may soon enjoy fewer dead zones due to a proposed communications tower planned for the William Farm property.

On May 26, a straw poll at the Board of Appeals meeting showed members leaning toward approving the plan for the communications tower, to be constructed by Telecom Capital Group.

“Everyone recognizes the need for communications towers,” said Jacquelyn Meiser, the attorney representing the group before the board.

She said they have letters of intent from Spectrum Services and Verizon to put satellites on the tower, with interest from other service providers pending.

The tower also has approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Communications Commission and the National Environmental Policy Act, which had to be attained before bringing the matter before the Board of Appeals, Meiser said. They have also done a balloon test, which helps illustrate the visual impact of the tower. The test showed there would be little to no visibility throughout most of the area.

Meiser said sometimes the towers have to be in more populated areas, but this is one of those times the tower can be in a rural location where existing trees and the relative remoteness of the location cause less of a visual impact.

She said from the beginning of the project, which involves scouting a location for the tower and approaching the owner of the land to lease it, to bringing the proposal to the board can take six months to a year, and nine months on average.

“The county prefers that towers be located on county or other publicly-owned property, if it is technically practical or feasible,” said Yvonne Chaillet, the zoning administrator.

Meiser said she has represented several tower projects, and knowing what the board is looking for and having all the information before hand is something that gets easier with time.

“You kind of get to know what they want,” Meiser said.

The number of communication tower projects during the year can vary, Chaillet said. Some years there are multiple projects that apply for approval.

Meiser echoed Chaillet, saying the number of tower projects in the year “depends on whose building what when.”

For more information on the regulations for communication tower projects, see section 51.3.91 of the Zoning Ordinance.

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