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Cornelius News

Cell tower could be 199 feet tall

Aug. 18. By Dave Vieser. Plans for a replacement cell phone tower—84 feet higher than the existing structure just off Jetton Road—generated concern at the Monday Aug. 17 Town Board Meeting.

PeakNet is seeking to rezone and replace a 115-foot concealed antenna tower with a 199-foot “standard monopole” tower on Lake Norman Cove Drive. It didn’t sit well with one nearby community representative.

“Our citizens have not been consulted on this proposal,” said Tony Grisanti, president of the Lake Norman Cove at Jetton Hoomeowners Association. “Translation: Let the citizens, homeowners and taxpayers be damned. We believe our community will be degraded and our property values diminished if this goes through.”

Not lighted

The 199-foot height was selected in order to achieve the best cell phone coverage in the area which is spotty, according to Attorney Tom Johnson, who represented PeakNet. “That height would also preclude the need for lighting the tower.”

There was one voice of support: The owner of Freedom Boat Club said he supports the higher tower “because cell phone service is terrible for all carriers in our area.” The club is based almost a mile from the tower, toward Sam Furr Road.

Since this was the first public hearing, no decision was rendered Monday evening. The next step will be a Planning Board public hearing scheduled for Monday Sept. 14. Eventually the matter will come back to the Town Board for a second hearing and final decision.

This request is separate from five new shorter cell phone towers being added along Jetton Road. These are 40-foot towers designed to improve local cell phone service for Verizon and Sprint customers.

To help put 199 feet in perspective, the Tower of Terror at Walt Disney World is exactly 199 feet. Only the Expedition Everest is taller by 0.5 feet.

Disney’s Tower of Terror

Also at Mondays’ meeting, the commissioners:

—Approved a request by Mt. Zion Senior Housing, Mt. Zion Church, and NC Homes Associates to voluntarily annex 15.31 acres of property located to the east of N.C. Highway 115 and to the southeast of Zion Avenue.

—Announced that demolition to make room for the new Cain Center for the Arts Building has been scheduled for Thursday September 10. Several old buildings on the south side of Catawba Avenue just west of the Police Station will need to come down before construction work can begin on the new complex which will include a 400-seat theater, gallery space, event spaces, three classrooms, a community green space and an outdoor plaza.