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Officials to research tower-building regulations

January 16, 1998

Officials to research tower-building regulations

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. - Harpers Ferry officials met with U.S. Cellular representatives Wednesday afternoon to discuss the possibility of constructing a cellular phone tower on the town's land next to the water towers.

"We're just scratching the surface to find out what the legal angles are on the property. There are a few things that have to be looked into," said Harpers Ferry Mayor Kip Stowell.

Research will be done to see if there are any binding covenants that would prevent a cellular phone tower from being built at the site, said Scot Faulkner, president of the Friends of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

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The water tower site has been used by a cable television station for a cable tower for years, Faulkner said.

Attorneys will have to look into the past town ordinances to see if there are any binding covenants or restrictions that would keep the water tower site from also being used by the cellular phone company, Faulkner said.

The attorneys also have to research whether the water tower site falls under the town's ordinances and zoning process or that of the county, according to Faulkner.

The water towers are on Harpers Ferry property, but are on top of Bolivar Heights outside the town's corporate limits.

In the past, the property has been treated as if it were in the town's jurisdiction, Faulkner said.

The water tower site is seen as a more acceptable alternative by historians and preservationists opposed to a site off U.S. 340 just outside of Bolivar in the center of what was a Civil War battlefield. The battle ended when Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson forced the surrender of 12,500 Union soldiers.

A study using a crane about 210 feet high showed that the proposed 260-foot high tower off U.S. 340 would be visible from throughout most of Harpers Ferry and as far away as Charles Town, W.Va.

The Federal Communications Commission blocked U.S. Cellular from building on the U.S. 340 site until it undergoes appropriate historical and environmental reviews.

since the tower would be located near the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

The water tower site would provide U.S. Cellular with higher ground, which would mean the tower would not have to be as tall.

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