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Proposed cell tower would be built in middle of apple orchard

July 16, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals is holding a public hearing Wednesday on a proposed 199-foot cell phone tower that would be built in the middle of an apple orchard at 13840 Md. 64.

The agricultural-zoned property is owned by John R. Martin.

The tower would be on the 58-acre Ivy Hill Farm, which has been farmed by the Martin family for six generations, Martin said.

Farming would continue at the site even if a tower is built, Martin said. The tower would be surrounded by apple trees about 20 feet high, he said.

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The tower would be owned by Shenandoah Mobile Co. of Edinburg, Va.

Martin is asking for a special exception to build the tower. He is also asking for variances from the minimum 199-foot setback from leased boundaries to 48 feet to the north, 37 feet to the east, 38 feet to the south and 55 feet to the west.

The three-sided tower could serve four cell phone carriers.

Sprint has already indicated it wants to use the tower to provide improved cell phone service to the area, Martin said.

The tower property is surrounded on the north, west and south sides by farmland, said Leonard Greisz, a Shenandoah Mobile Co. project manager. East of the tower is more farmland and Md. 64.

The tower would be at least 600 feet from the nearest property owner, Martin said.

Until 1999, freestanding towers were handled with permits, and approval from the Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals was not required. The change was made to allow public input and feedback on proposed towers.

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