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WCBM's quest for six radio towers in Carroll rejected by commissioners


The Carroll County Commissioners approved an ordinance yesterday restricting clusters of communications towers to industrial land, a move that effectively kills a six-tower project proposed by WCBM-AM Radio for a South Carroll farm.

The Owings Mills station has faced stiff opposition from neighbors of its proposed tower site on Hoods Mill Road near Route 97 and the Howard County line.

WCBM Vice President Louis Mangione had planned to build six 350-foot radio towers on about 55 acres of a 400-acre farm owned by Harold and Esther Mercer.

The commissioners' 2-1 vote halted the project, which had received approval of the county Board of Zoning Appeals less than two weeks ago. The action also strengthened a year-old ordinance that blocked a proposed telecommunications tower in Sykesville.

"We moved swiftly and haven't put the county or the applicant in the position of acting at the last minute," said Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown. "The applicant hasn't gone to great unnecessary lengths in pursuing this."

WCBM attorney Joseph C. La- Verghetta said he was not surprised by the decision. "We will see what actions are available to us and what steps we will take," he said.

County attorney George A. Lahey said: "Probably the only action they can do now is challenge the ordinance in court. The ordinance makes the BZA decision moot, and the project cannot go to the Planning Commission."

The zoning approval, granted Nov. 16 after three days of testimony, was the first step in a lengthy process that could have allowed the station to move its operations to Carroll County.

"The common interest we all share here is this county is not for sale to the highest bidder," Mr. Brown said.

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