Residents to fight cell tower

May 18, 2006|by TARA REILLY


Residents plan to fight a 124-foot cell tower proposed for a Boonsboro Volunteer Fire Co. substation near Rohrersville.

Hank Livelsberger, who lives in a development about a mile from the site on Md. 67, said the tower would be visible from her home, other residences and Civil War sites and parks.

"It's like somebody putting an amusement part right next to you," Livelsberger said. "I don't think tourists come all the way to Washington County to see cell towers ... They come to see a Civil War atmosphere."

But Don Shumaker, fire company president, said trees that are behind the site of the proposed tower would conceal it from residents.


"It's not going to be an eyesore at all," Shumaker said.

County Planning Director Michael Thompson guessed the tower, if approved, would be visible from some residential areas.

Shumaker said the tower is important for three reasons - to improve emergency communications in that area, to provide cellular phone service to residents and to help pay the substation's mortgage.

Cingular Wireless would lease a site on the property for the tower, Shumaker said. He said he didn't know what the lease payments would be.

Shumaker said the area of the substation, known as Co. 8, is a "dead" area, meaning it lacks cell phone coverage. That poses a problem for fire and emergency officials who need to communicate by phone.

"We always use cell phones, but I can't use my cell phone out there," he said. "When I get out to Rohrersville, I'm dead."

He said residents don't understand the importance of the proposed tower.

"It will be a definite help," Shumaker said. "You got to be able to talk to people ... to save lives and property."

Thompson described the tower as a monopole. It's proposed in a preservation zoning district. He said the applicant is asking for a special exception and variance so the tower could be built.

Shumaker said the Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals will hear the case next week.

Livelsberger said residents likely will speak against the tower at the hearing. She said that's the only way to fight it.

"It's inappropriate for this area," she said. "We don't need a cell tower right in the middle of a residential area."

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