Alternative sites sought for tower


The Carroll County Commissioners are searching for alternative sites for a telecommunications tower in South Carroll.

The board met in closed session yesterday with Sykesville officials and West Shore Communications, the contractor for a cellular telephone tower proposed for Hollenberry Road, near the town of Sykesville.

"We are exploring possible locations that would meet everybody's needs," said Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown. "If it leads away from the Hollenberry Road site, it would be better for everyone."

Commissioner Richard T. Yates said he hopes discussions lead to another site.

"If we can find one, West Shore has indicated a willingness to move," Mr. Yates said. "I don't think any company wants the populace mad at them."

Commissioner Donald I. Dell said the group reviewed a half-dozen options, "none of which were really great. Most have been looked at before and did not measure up."

West Shore Communications planned to build a 200-foot steel tower, on conservation-zoned land that adjoins Piney Run Reservoir, and lease it to Cellular One.

The proposal met strident opposition, since it was announced nearly 18 months ago.

With a county work permit in hand, West Shore began construction on the tower Oct. 29. A county stop-work order shut down the project two days later, before the foundation was completed. The project has been on hold since that date.

"We would like to reach a compromise and get this issue behind us," Mr. Dell said.

West Shore had offered the county Emergency Operations Center free space on the tower.

"We need a space ourselves," Mr. Yates said. "A tower could end up being on county land. Everything is on the table right now, but we will not violate our own ordinance."

The ordinance requires a fall zone equal to the height of the tower plus a 50-foot buffer zone. It precludes construction in residential areas.

West Shore has contended the ordinance does not apply to the Hollenberry Road site.

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