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Cornelius News

Controversial cell phone tower plan includes 1 additional carrier

Cell tower simulation: PeakNet MonoPole off Jetton

By Dave Vieser. Dec. 22. It turns out PeakNet’s request to erect a controversial cell phone tower just off Jetton Road is in part driven by plans to add an additional carrier to the tower. At a public hearing Monday night, PeakNet attorney Tom Johnson said T-Mobile would only use the new tower if it was that high. “Anything shorter and they won’t participate,” Johnson said.

This served to confirm a statement by Alex Blasscyk, CEO of Main Street Telecom based in Sarasota, Fla, He said the only reason a tower company or carrier wants a tower that big is to obtain additional rent from other carriers and recoup all costs.

Without T -Mobile, the Peak Net tower would have only two existing carriers: Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

Below grade

Johnson did offer a second reason for the 199-foot height: The location of the new tower is below grade by some 20-30 feet..it’s in a hole so to speak so it’s more of a challenge.”

He also displayed several maps indicating that the new tower would improve cell phone reception to the west and into Lake Norman.

Neighborhood opposition

As for the hearing itself, eight residents signed up to speak, all in opposition. However, several left before speaking after waiting almost two hours. “It is unfortunate that some residents were not able to stay and make comments,” said Town Manager Andrew Grant. “We’ll take this under consideration at future public hearings as we try to balance Town business and citizens’ time at our Town Board meetings,” he said.

Citizens comments were consistent with statements made at previous hearings. “This will be an ugly eyesore,” said Larry Cook. Bob Kirsch reminded the commissioners that “the tower height will be two-thirds the length of a football field.”

A number of speakers also suggested that property values would decrease if the tower was built there, adjacent to Jetton Cove. Johnson presented testimony from real estate experts indicating that this was not true, citing as an example the cell tower located near Victoria Bay east of I-77.

Some support

After the speakers, Town Clerk Lori Harrell read 11 emails submitted for the hearing record. These were divided evenly among those who opposed and those who favor the project.

The request for the tower has generated significant opposition among neighbors. In November, the Planning Board recommended approval by a margin of 4-3, placing the matter in the hands of the Town Board.

Two sides


“Our town board and staff are working hard to listen to all the citizen input and make the best possible decision on behalf of the entire town including the close-by neighborhood. The commissioners are taking this matter very seriously,” said Mayor Woody Washam.

A vote on the issue may come at the Town Board’s Monday Jan. 4, 2021 meeting.