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Boonsboro rejects cell tower

February 05, 2001

Boonsboro rejects cell tower



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


BOONSBORO - Boonsboro residents won't have to worry about a cellular tower being built in town.

Mayor Charles "Skip" Kauffman Jr. announced at a Boonsboro meeting Monday night that the town is no longer interested in erecting the tower near the reservoir on Boonsboro Mountain Road.

"This is a done deal for the Mayor and Council," Kauffman told the crowd of about 30 people who showed up expecting to fight the tower. "Personally, I don't want to see another cellular tower anywhere."

Last month, Fred J. Papa, executive vice president of Antietam Design Build Association in Hagerstown, told town officials that Boonsboro could make $29,383 a year if it allowed a tower to be built and leased space on it to at least two companies. A lease would be good for 21 to 25 years.

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The town had been looking into the cell tower option as a way to supplement its water utility revenues and prevent water rate increases.

It also said the tower could help prevent other towers from going up closer to town, enhance cellular and other communication services in the area and improve the town's fire and rescue communication services.

After much discussion, Kauffman said more uncertainties about the tower outweighed the benefits. He said the tower could have a negative impact on adjacent properties and the Washington Monument historic site and pose health related concerns.

He also said there was no guarantee that the tower would stop other companies from building other towers elsewhere in Boonsboro. He also said new technology, such as digital telephone services, could lessen the demand for cell towers in the future and that there was no guarantee the town would receive as much revenue as was expected.

"Who knows where we're going to be three years down the road with a cell tower," Kauffman said.

Kenneth Wade, who led the group opposed to the tower, thanked the town for its decision. He had said the tower would have been a "visual blight" to the Appalachian Trail and the Washington Monument.

"I think everybody here in this room can sleep better tonight," Wade said. "I'm proud to be a resident of Boonsboro - for 67 years."

Wade's group had said the tower would have been visible from South Mountain, Antietam Battlefield and the entire length of Pleasant Valley. It also claimed radiation from the tower's antennas would have adverse health affects on humans, animals and other wildlife.

Wade gathered more than 300 signatures on a petition he started to keep the tower out. He said he would save the petition in case another company tries to build another tower in the area.

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