Residents of Coon Club Road in Westminster are upset with plans to build a 199-foot cellular tower on farm property near their homes.
Verizon Wireless will seek approval from the Carroll County Board of Zoning Appeals at Tuesday's public hearing to build the tower, equipment shelter and backup generator all located within a 50-foot-by-50-foot fenced in area. The proposed location of the tower is the 2400 block of Coon Club Road, which is owned by Duane and Janis Arbuthnot.
A call for comment to Duane and Janis Arbuthnot was not returned by 5 p.m. Monday. Harold Bernadzikowski, a representative for the project, also could not be reached by Monday night.
County Zoning Administrator Jay Voight said property zoned "Agricultural" can have a cellphone tower built on it as a "conditional use." All "conditional uses" must be approved by the county board of zoning appeals before construction can begin, he said.
A number of the surrounding residents have expressed concern over the consequences of erecting a cellphone tower. More than 20 people attended a recent site visit to the proposed cell tower location. Neighborhood concerns include decreased home values, cell tower radiation and having to live near a giant eyesore.
"[The community] is concerned about the property values going down," said Fran Lathe, who lives with her family on Coon Club Road.
Lathe said she and her husband purchased their home because they thought the farm property behind them could not be developed. Other than the seasonal smells of planting, Lathe said she and her family enjoy living in front of a farm.
But, as Lathe found out, farm owners may be allowed to have a cell tower built on their property if approved by the county. Notices were sent to property owners telling them of the tower plans. Lathe, who lives directly adjacent to the tower site, said she never received a notice.
Since finding out about the plans, Lathe said she's collected about 30 signatures from surrounding residents to keep the cell tower out of the neighborhood. One of the most voiced concerns, other than a possible drop in property value, is about radiation coming from the cell tower, Lathe said.
"We still don't know the long-term health effects [of cell towers] because they haven't been around that long," Lathe said. "There's so many other places that they could put it where it would not be on top of houses."
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Reach staff writer Christian Alexandersen at 410-857-7873 or email@example.com.