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State wants to erect 330-foot tower in county

June 19, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

The state wants to erect a 330-foot communications tower near the Maryland State Police barracks in Hagerstown, but the Washington County Commissioners said Tuesday they're hesitant to support the structure.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said he wanted more information about the tower. Commissioner Bert Iseminger said the tower might have an adverse effect on the skyscape of the area.

"My main point is that I didn't want anyone to feel that the county is pushing this," Snook said.

Snook said Tuesday evening that the tower would be either on the state police site or the Maryland State Highway Administration property, which is next to the barracks.

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The Maryland State Police barracks in Hagerstown is on Col. Henry K. Douglas Drive off Sharpsburg Pike and Interstate 70.

Iseminger said the commissioners should ask the state to comply with the county's cell tower ordinance when building the structure.

"It would be the biggest one we have in the county," Iseminger said.

Snook said that regardless of the county ordinance or sentiment of residents, the state owns the property and can do what it wants with it.

"To the best of my knowledge, they can just put it in because it's on state property," he said Tuesday evening.

Snook said the county will ask the state to hold a public meeting on the planned tower.

"They need to inform the public as to what their needs are," he said.

Iseminger said there might be more suitable sites for the tower.

"There may be others that may be less intrusive on the skyscape," he said.

Snook said the tower would service communications for the state police, the Department of Natural Resources and other state agencies.

The county would have the option to buy space on the tower, he said.

Pete Loewenheim, the county's communications maintenance supervisor, said he's in the process of gathering more details about the tower, including which state agency is proposing it.

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