By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun
8:46 PM EST, November 18, 2013
The Anne Arundel County Council decided Monday night not to restrict the construction of cell phone towers at public schools.
Council members had considered a bill that originally would have banned the towers, and later was changed to include restrictions on where they could be placed on school property.
They killed the bill at Monday night's meeting, with just two councilmen voting in favor of the bill and five voting against.
School officials in Anne Arundel have a contract with a private company that will build towers on school properties, sharing the profits from leasing tower space for attenas with the school system.
School officials have estimated they could make $5 million through 2021 from cell towers, which can hold up to five antennas each.
The first cell tower on school property is under construction at Broadneck High School on the Broadneck Peninsula. A second tower has been proposed for Piney Orchard Elementary School in Odenton.
Piney Orchard parents and homeowners have spoken out against building the towers at schools and in residential areas.
The two votes to support the bill came from the bill's sponsor, Councilman Jamie Benoit, a Crownsville Democrat, and Councilman Chris Trumbauer, an Annapolis Democrat.
Voting against the bill were Councilman Daryl Jones, a Severn Democrat; Councilman John Grasso, a Glen Burnie Republican; Councilman Derek Fink, a Pasadena Republican; Councilman Richard Ladd, R-Broadneck; and Council Chairman Jerry Walker, R-Gambrills.
The council also unanimously approved a lease for New Cingular Wireless to build a cell tower at the Cape St. Claire Fire Station. The county will make $56,000 per year from the lease.
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