you're reading...

Cornelius News

Board splits 3-2 over cell tower

Jan. 5. The Cornelius Town Board voted 3-2 to allow a 199-foot cell phone tower to be erected near Jetton Road at the entrance to the Lake Norman Cove neighborhood. The vote last night followed a lengthy series of public hearings during which numerous residents, along with Commissioners Jim Duke and Denis Bilodeau, expressed concerns about the proposal.

The commissioners voting for the tower: Michael Miltich, Thurman Ross and Tricia Sisson.

Against: Denis Bilodeau and Jim Duke.

Duke, who presented a petition signed by 160 people, said six homeowner associations were opposed to the tower which will replace a much smaller one.

“No question, safety and access to reliable cell service is a top priority for our Town. It’s unfortunate that three of my fellow commissioners chose to ignore the majority of citizen’s feedback and refused to pursue an independent review of alternatives to the 199 foot tower,” said Commissioner Denis Bilodeau, who is also president of the Peninsula Property Owners Association.

Utilities are buried on the carefully landscaped Jetton Road, which serves as the entrance to The Peninsula.

Miltich said Peninsula residents will only see the PeakNet tower for 20 seconds when leaving the neighborhood.

Next door neighbors

The president of the Lake Norman Cove at Jetton Association, Anthony Grisanti, blasted the three commissioners in the majority.

“It is most unfortunate that three of the commissioners voted to approve this tower while six homeowner communities representing about 500 families in the close vicinity of this tower appealed to the commissioners to vote against this proposal,” Grisanti said.

“This tower will forever change the skyline of the town of Cornelius and be visible to all of Cornelius residents. It is a shame that people elected to represent the citizens and voters of Cornelius voted with Big Business,” he said.

A split

There was a rare display of hard feelings after the vote when Commissioner Jim Duke, himself a former president of the Peninsula Property Owners, said there would be an effort to name the tower after one or more of the commissioners in the majority.

“I don’t recall anything like this in my experience on the board,” Duke said.

Bilodeau said it was “unfortunate that three of my fellow Commissioners chose to ignore the majority of citizen’s feedback and refused to pursue an independent review of alternatives to the 199-foot tower.”

Sisson and Miltich said safety issues—such as calling 911—were important in voting for the taller tower.

“Obviously one missed emergency call is too many. However our First Responders could not identify a single complaint,” Bilodeau said.